Readings 20141222

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2014, whose website is located at

Do you know the mercy and favor of the Lord? Those who hunger for the Lord will not be disappointed. The Lord himself will fill them with the fruits of his peace, joy, and righteousness. We see God’s boundless love manifested in the promise of a Redeemer. As the events leading to the birth of our Savior unfold we see all the prophecies, promises and prayers of the Old Testament being fulfilled because “God so loved the world that he gave us his only Son” (John 3:16).
The Gospel of Luke reveals the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in Mary’s life. When Elizabeth and Mary greeted one another they were filled with the Holy Spirit and with a joyful anticipation of the fulfillment of God’s promise to give a Savior. John the Baptist, even before the birth of the Messiah, pointed to his coming and leapt for joy in the womb of his mother as the Holy Spirit revealed to him the presence of the King to be born. The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to us to enable us to know and experience the indwelling presence of God and the power of his kingdom. The Holy Spirit is the way in which God reigns within each of us.

Mary accepted her mission with uncompromising faith and obedience. She acted with unwavering trust and faith because she believed that God would fulfill the word he had spoken. Her great hymn of praise echoes the song of Hannah (see 1 Samuel 2:1-10) and proclaims the favor of the Lord: God exalts the lowly and he fills the hungry with good things. Hannah like Mary had been without child and God in a marvelous way gave her a son, named Samuel, whom she dedicated at an early age to the service of the Lord (1 Samuel 1:24ff.) Mary, too, would lose her son to a servant ministry that would take him to the cross. Christmas is a time for renewing our faith and hope in God and in his promises and for deepening our love for God and for neighbor. Do you seek the Lord Jesus and the power of his Holy Spirit so that you may be renewed in faith, hope, and love?

“Lord Jesus, help me to earnestly seek you with humility and confidence. Increase my faith in your promises, strengthen within me the hope of heaven and eternal life, and set my heart on fire with burning love for you and for your kingdom. May I always praise and magnify your great mercy and glory.”

The following reflection is courtesy of (c) 2014. Their website is located at

“My being proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit finds joy in God my Savior.” —Luke 1:46-47
The words of today’s Gospel passage, commonly known as the Magnificat, are prayed every single day by Catholic priests, religious, and some lay people in the Liturgy of the Hours. These are words to unite people each day.

Mary had a heavy cross to bear. When she prayed her Magnificat, she didn’t know if Joseph would receive her or reject her. She could have said, “My cross is heavy, my future unsure, and I’m scared.” However, she focused on the Lord, rejoiced in Him, and praised Him and the great works He was doing, saying with her Old Testament matriarch Hannah: “My heart exults in the Lord, my horn is exalted in my God” (1 Sm 2:1).

By fixing our eyes on the world and its gift-giving and receiving, we magnify the world’s Christmas. Instead, let us approach Christmas as Mary did: by praising and magnifying God. When we magnify the Lord, it is as if we look closely at Him as though looking through a magnifying glass. God becomes ever larger in our sight. We cannot help but be overwhelmed by His greatness and splendor. We thereby fix our eyes on Him (Heb 3:1), forget ourselves, and are lifted up.

With Mary, rejoice in Jesus and “be ready to greet Him when He comes” this Christmas.

Prayer: Father, make me blind to everything that takes my focus away from Jesus. Promise: “I prayed for this child, and the Lord granted my request.” —1 Sm 1:27 Praise: “O King of all the nations, the only Joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of man, come and save the creature You fashioned from the dust.” (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
(For a related teaching, order our tape Mary’s Visitation on audio AV 73-3 or video V-73.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2014 through January 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 30, 2014.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements