Saturday, December 21, 2019

Sunday Mass Online : Sun. December 22, 2019 - 4th of Advent - #Eucharist Readings + Video


Fourth Sunday of Advent
Lectionary: 10
Reading 1IS 7:10-14
The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying:
Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God;
let it be deep as the netherworld, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered,
"I will not ask!  I will not tempt the LORD!"
Then Isaiah said:
Listen, O house of David!
Is it not enough for you to weary people,
must you also weary my God?
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:
the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel.

Responsorial PsalmPS 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6.

R. (7c and 10b) Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.
The LORD's are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
R. Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
One whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.
R. Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks for him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
R. Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.

Reading 2ROM 1:1-7

Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus,
called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God,
which he promised previously through his prophets in the holy Scriptures,
the gospel about his Son, descended from David according to the flesh,
but established as Son of God in power
according to the Spirit of holiness
through resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Through him we have received the grace of apostleship,
to bring about the obedience of faith,
for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles,
among whom are you also, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ;
to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.

AlleluiaMT 1:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 1:18-24

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
"Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins."
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,

which means "God is with us."
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.
Image Source: https://clevelandcatholiccemeteries.wordpress.com/

Saint December 22 : St. Chaeremon a Bishop and Martyr during the anti-Christian persecution instituted by Emperor Trajanus Decius


St. Chaeremon 
BISHOP 
  Feast: December 22 
  St. Chaeremon was Bishop of Nilopolis, in Egypt. During the anti-Christian persecution instituted by Emperor Trajanus Decius (r. 249-251), Chaeromon was quite elderly. Chaeromon and some companions fled into the Arabian Desert and they were never seen again. The bishop and his companions are listed as martyrs. (Image Source: Google)

Pope Francis' says "..we always need to let ourselves be renewed by the smile of the Child Jesus. Let His defenceless goodness purify us..." Christmas Greetings to Employees


Audience with employees of the Holy See and Vatican City State Governorate for Christmas greetings, 21.12.2019




This morning, in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father Francis met with employees of the Holy See and the Governorate of Vatican City State, with their respective families, to exchange Christmas wishes.
The following is the Pope’s greeting to those present:

Greeting of the Holy Father
Dear brothers and sisters!
I am happy to be with you for our Christmas appointment. Thank you for coming, and with your families. Thank you!
My wish this time can be summed up in one word: smile.
I was inspired by one of the last countries I visited last month: Thailand. It is called the country of the smile, because there people smile a lot, they have a special kindness, very noble, which is summed up in this facial feature, which is reflected in all their bearing. This experience impressed me, and makes me think of the smile as an expression of love and affection, typically human.
When we look at a newborn baby, we are led to smile at it, and if a smile blossoms on its small face, then we feel a simple, naive emotion. The child responds to our gaze, but his smile is much more “powerful”, because it is new, pure, like spring water, and in us adults it awakens an intimate nostalgia for childhood.
This happened in a unique way between Mary and Joseph and Jesus. The Virgin and her husband, with their love, made a smile blossom on the lips of their newborn child. But when this happened, their hearts were filled with a new joy, from Heaven. And the little stable in Bethlehem was illuminated.
Jesus is the smile of God. He came to reveal to us the love of our Heavenly Father, His goodness, and the first way He did so was to smile at His parents, like every newborn child in this world. And they, the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph, because of their great faith, were able to accept that message, they recognized in Jesus’ smile God’s mercy for them and for all those who were waiting for His coming, the coming of the Messiah, the Son of God, the King of Israel.
Behold, dearly beloved, in the manger we too relive this experience: to look at the Child Jesus and feel that God is smiling at us there, and smiling at all the poor of the earth, at all those who await salvation, who hope for a more fraternal world, where there is no more war and violence, where every man and woman can live in his or her dignity as son and daughter of God.
Here too, in the Vatican and in the various Roman offices of the Holy See, we always need to let ourselves be renewed by the smile of the Child Jesus. Let His defenceless goodness purify us from the waste that often encrusts our hearts, and prevents us from giving the best of ourselves. It is true, work is work, and there are other places and moments in which each person expresses himself in a fuller and richer way; but it is also true that we spend a good part of our days in the work environment, and we are convinced that the quality of work goes hand in hand with the human quality of relationships, of lifestyle. This is especially true for us, who work in the service of the Church and in the name of Christ.
Sometimes it becomes difficult to smile, for many reasons. Then we need God’s smile: Jesus, only He can help us. Only He is the Saviour, and sometimes we experience this in our lives.
Other times things go well, but then there is the danger of feeling too safe and forgetting about others who are struggling. Then too we need God’s smile to strip us of false security and bring us back to the taste for simplicity and gratuitousness.
So, dear friends, today let us exchange this wish: at Christmas, participating in the Liturgy, and also contemplating the manger, let us wonder at God’s smile, which Jesus came to bring. It is He Himself, this smile. Like Mary, like Joseph and the shepherds of Bethlehem, let us welcome Him, let us allow ourselves to be purified, and we too can bring others a humble, simple smile.
Thank you all! Take this wish to your loved ones at home, especially the sick and the elderly. And let us remain united in prayer. Merry Christmas!

Wow #PianoGuys make Beautiful Christmas Song for Lost Loved Ones with Video + Touching True Story behind to Share!


Piano Guys Youtube Page Release:
Story behind the Song: “So last year, was a really tough year for us. We lost our daughter, Annie. People talk about grief, pain, fear, sorrow. All of these words, can’t really describe how you feel when you really go through the loss of a loved one. Even though we held onto hope, that we would somehow see her again, it was just a brutal time that we were going through, right at Christmas. It felt pretty hard to celebrate. And then I found this song. It was just a video on Facebook by this Christian artist and he was singing about the very struggle I was having. As my wife and I listened to the words of this song, it expressed exactly what we were feeling. It also gave us what we needed at the time. That was comfort. So many people struggle with loss at this time of year, not just me. If you are missing someone this Christmas, I want to dedicate this song to you. I also want to dedicate it to Annie, my sweet Annie, who I miss very much.” -Jon Schmidt Lyrics: I’m not going to lie. Christmas really hurts this time Cause you’re not here to celebrate with me. Tears fill my eyes. And memories flood my mind, As I place your ornament upon our tree. Although this year I have a broken heart, It gives me hope and joy as I remember where you are. Chorus: You’re with the Son of God. You’re with the Prince of Peace. You’re with the one we’re celebrating And that thought amazes me. Sometimes I still break down, Grieving that we’re apart, But the sweetest gift is knowing where you are. You’re with the Son of God. Got your picture in a frame And a stocking with your name. Oh God knows it’s been hard letting go. And I can’t bring you back, But I’ll see you again. And oh, that thought is healing to my soul. I’ll miss making angels with you in the snow. I guess instead you will be singing with them All around God’s throne. Chorus And I know the Christmas season Was your favorite time of year. You loved to help us decorate our tree. But now that you’re with Jesus, I can’t imagine how you feel Cause He’s the one who bled and died Upon the tree for you and me. Chorus Credits: “The Sweetest Gift” written by Craig Aven Produced by Jon Schmidt and Chuck E. Myers “sea” Arranged by Jon Schmidt, Chuck Myers, Al van der Beek & Steven Sharp Nelson Craig Aven: Vocals Jon Schmidt: Piano Steven Sharp Nelson: Cello Piano and vocals recorded by Jake Bowen at Big Idea Studios Cello recorded by Al van der Beek at TPG Studios Mastered by Al van der Beek Video Produced and Filmed by Paul Anderson & Shaye Scott Video Edited by Shaye Scott & Paul Anderson

Christmas Message from Cardinal of Hong Kong asks for an end to Violence and says "..read the Bible with devotion and pray to God zealously...by taking part actively in the Eucharist ..." Full Text


Asia News report: Card. Tong: For Christmas, no to violence, an independent investigation, support for democracy.
In his Christmas pastoral letter (full text below), the apostolic administrator of Hong Kong reiterates the need to rebuild mutual trust between government, police and population. The cardinal's questions very close to those of the anti-extradition and pro-democracy movement.

 Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - As Christmas approaches, Card. John Tong, apostolic administrator of the diocese, asks "everyone to stop the violence" that is shaking and dividing the territory of Hong Kong.

In his Christmas Message, he also asked that the government listen to the voice of the people and carry out "an independent investigation into several violent clashes between demonstrators and the police". Finally, he hopes that Hong Kong will always uphold "the basic values ​​of democracy, freedom and the rule of law", seeking to reduce the gulf between the rich and the poor ".

Card. Tong's Christmas message was published yesterday in the Sunday Examiner, the weekly diocesan newspaper, although the message bears the date of December 12th.

Just yesterday, Chinese President Xi Jinping ended his visit to Macau, praising the former Portuguese colony while criticizing the situation in Hong Kong. In the recent past Xi praised the chief of executive Carrie Lam and the police's efforts to maintain order in the territory, censoring the request of a large part of the population for an independent investigation into the excessive use of force by the police.

Instead, Card. Tong, along with other Christian leaders, has long been calling for an independent investigation similar to the demands of the anti-extradition and pro-democracy movement for the past six months.

After an explanation of Christmas and the threefold coming of Christ (in Bethlehem, at the end of the world, in the life of the witnesses), the Letter urges the faithful to "read the Bible with devotion", to "take an active part in the Eucharist", to "lead a life of simplicity", living reconciliation and attention to the poor.

Recalling the social division and the suffering, which is also "emotional" and "pyscological" experienced by the population of Hong Kong, Card. Tong says: "With Christmas approaching, we earnestly make an appeal to all people to stop violence. We should give ourselves a cooling-off period for in-depth reflections on the impacts of our social turmoil and on the means to resolve the current impasse in a humane manner, with a view to restoring peace and healing people’s body, mind and spirit. "

"Once again - he adds - we urge the Sar (Special Administration Region) government to listen to the voice of the people and conduct an independent inquiry into several violent confrontations between the protesters and the police. Only when the truth is made known can the basis of mutual trust between the government and the people be re-established. It is then that we can pave the way for a dialogue of reconciliation”.

"We earnestly hope - concludes the message - earnestly hope that Hong Kong, our beloved city, will always uphold the core values of democracy, freedom and the rule of law, and that the gap between the rich and the poor will be narrowed as soon as possible, conflicts will be resolved, and justice and peace will prevail."
Full Text Source: Asia News IT - https://catholic.org.hk
Below is the Full Text Pastoral Christmas Message of Cardinal Tong:

On earth peace to those on whom his favour rests (Luke 2:14)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Every Christmas, I recall the teaching of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, an abbot of the Cistercian Order in the 12th century, that the coming of the Lord is threefold. The third coming occurs between the first and the second.
The first coming of Christ revealed that he was made flesh and dwelt among us in the world. He was crucified to redeem all of us from our sins.  His resurrection, however, opened for us the way to eternal salvation.
At the second coming of Christ, which will take place on Judgment Day at the end of the world, those who have done good will be rewarded with everlasting life, while those who have done evil and remain unrepentant will be condemned to eternal suffering.
The third coming of Christ is invisible. It refers to our Lord living in the world, graciously offering his Love to all people and inviting them to accept it, so that they may share his Life. We Christians for our part should bear witness to his Love by word and deed, so that we may contribute to the full realisation of the Kingdom of God.  
Recalling the First Coming of Christ, every Christmas brings us great joy, and we join the angels in praising God, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests” (Luke 2:14). 
In order to experience the third coming of Christ more deeply in our daily life, let us remember to read the Bible with devotion and pray to God zealously. Let us enrich ourselves by taking part actively in the Eucharist and receiving Holy Communion. At the same time, let us lead a life of simplicity, reconciling ourselves with creation. With humility let us repent of our sins through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, imploring our Heavenly Father “to forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us” (Matthew 6:12). 
May our families and our young people , along with the Church, care for the poor and the needy more attentively.
Protests against the Extradition Bill, proposed by the SAR government last June as an amendment to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, have led to a socio-political turmoil that has rocked Hong Kong over the past six months. The conflicting views of the government and the protesters, and those of other people, have torn our society apart, and many people have suffered from distressing traumas, psychologically or emotionally. With Christmas approaching, we earnestly make an appeal to all people to stop violence. We should give ourselves a cooling-off period for in-depth reflections on the impacts of our social turmoil and on the means to resolve the current impasse in a humane manner, with a view to restoring peace and healing people’s body, mind and spirit. 
Once again, we urge the SAR government to listen to the voice of the people and conduct an independent inquiry into several violent confrontations between the protesters and the police. Only when the truth is made known can the basis of mutual trust between the government and the people be re-established. It is then that we can pave the way for a dialogue of reconciliation.
We earnestly hope that Hong Kong, our beloved city, will always uphold the core values of democracy, freedom and the rule of law, and that the gap between the rich and the poor will be narrowed as soon as possible, conflicts will be resolved, and justice and peace will prevail.
May the Love and Peace of the Lord be with you at Christmas and throughout the coming year!
Source: http://www.examiner.org.hk/2019/12/20/christmas-pastoral-letter-2019/

Pope Francis Issues Motu Proprio regarding the Dean of the College of Cardinals "Over the centuries the Roman Pontiffs have adapted to the needs..." Full Text


The Pope on Saturday, December 21, 2019, accepted the resignation of Cardinal Angelo Sodano as Dean of the College of Cardinals, who has stepped down because of his advanced age. At the same time, with a special Motu proprio (see below), he established that from now on the post will be for five years, that it can be renewed if necessary, and that at the end of the mandate the outgoing cardinal will receive the title of "Dean Emeritus".
Full Text - APOSTOLIC LETTER
Apostolic Letter in the form of a “Motu Proprio” regarding the Office of Dean of the College of Cardinals, 21.12.2019

Throughout the centuries the Roman Pontiffs have adapted to the needs of their times the composition of the College of Cardinal Fathers, specially called to undertake the election of the Supreme Pastor of the Church and to assist him in treating issues of the greatest relevance in the daily care of the universal Church.
The Holy Father Paul VI, of eternal memory, with the Motu Proprio of 11 February 1965, expanded the composition of the aforementioned College of Cardinal Fathers, calling to be part of the Order of Bishops, in addition to the Titulars of the suburbicarian Sees of Rome, also those Oriental Patriarchs who had been elevated to the dignity of cardinal (cf. Ad Purpuratorum Patrum Collegium, AAS, 57 [1965], 295-296).
With the Rescript ex Audientia of 26 June 2018, I too took steps to broaden the composition of the members of the aforementioned Order of Bishops, including within it a number of Cardinals who are heads of Roman Dicasteries and equating them in every respect with Cardinals who are assigned a suburbicarian Church and with the Oriental Patriarchs ascribed to the same Order.
In this regard, the regulations of the Church, with clear and precise prescriptions, have for some time now also wisely provided for the singular place, within the College of Cardinals, that belongs to the Cardinal Dean, and in his place, to the Sub-Dean, called to exercise among the brother Cardinals a fraternal and fruitful presidency of primacy inter pares (cf. can. 352 § 1). These norms also prescribe the manner of their election by the Brothers who are members of the Episcopal Order (cf. can. 350 § 1 and 352 § 2-3).
Now, however, having accepted the resignation from the office of Dean of the College of Cardinals presented by His Eminence Cardinal Angelo Sodano, whom I thank most sincerely for the high service he has rendered to the College of Cardinals during the almost fifteen years of his mandate, and also having regard to the fact that with the increase in the number of Cardinals, ever greater commitments are being placed on the person of the Cardinal Dean, it seemed opportune to me that from now on the Cardinal Dean, who will continue to be elected from among the members of the Order of Bishops in the manner established by can. 352 § 2 of the Code of Canon Law, remain in office for a five-year period, renewable if necessary, and at the end of his service, he may assume the title of Dean Emeritus of the College of Cardinals.
To all the members of the College of Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church I wish, finally, to express my deep gratitude for their generous service to the Church and to my ministry as Successor of Peter, with my Apostolic Blessing.
Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on 29 November of the Year of the Lord 2019, the seventh of our Pontificate.
FRANCIS
Full Text Official Translation from http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2019/12/21/191221b.html- Image Source: VaticanNews.va - 

Official Christmas Novena - Powerful Prayers with Plenary Indulgence - 5

Opening Prayer:

V. O God, come to my assistance.

R. O Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory be to the Father and to
the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now
and ever shall be, world without
end.
Amen.

Our Father, Who art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy Name;
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.  Amen.

Day 5 Prayers


The Circumcision


O most sweet infant Jesus, circumcised when

eight days old, and called by the glorious name

of Jesus, and proclaimed both by your name and

by your blood, to be the Savior of the world.

Have mercy on us.
Have mercy on us, 0 Lord. Have mercy on us.
Hail Mary...

 Amen.

FROM THE RACCOLTA OFFICIAL

NOVENA PREPARATORY TO CHRISTMAS In order to the devout preparation of ourselves for the glorious Birthday of our most loving Saviour, Jesus Christ, which the holy Church recalls to our memory every year on the 25th of December, and at the same time to render Him thanks for this great benefit, Pope Pius VII., by a Rescript of the Segretaria of the Memorials, dated August 12th, 1815 (which said Rescript is preserved in the Segretaria of the Vicariate), granted to all faithful Christians who, being contrite in heart, should prepare themselves for that great solemnity by a novena, consisting of pious exercises, prayers, acts of virtue, &c. -
i. An indulgence of 300 days each day of the said novena, and -
ii. A plenary indulgence to be gained on Christmas day, or on some day in its octave, by those who, after Confession and Communion, shall have made the said novena every day, and who shall pray according to the intentions of the Sovereigns Pontiff: and note that the Confession and Communion may be made on any one of the days of the said novena, provided the novena is correctly kept. This was declared by Pope Pius VIII., of holy memory, by means of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, July 9, 1830. These indulgences were extended by the above-named Pius VII. to one other time in the year, besides the the specified, when any one should make the aforesaid novena in honour of the Child Jesus.

Pope Francis quotes St. John Henry Newman "May each Christmas, as it comes, find us more and more like Him, who at this time became a little child for our sake, more simple-minded, more humble, more holy..." Full Text to Curia


CHRISTMAS GREETINGS TO THE ROMAN CURIA
ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
Clementine Hall
Saturday, 221 December 2019

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn 1:14)
Dear brothers and sisters,
I offer all of you a cordial welcome.  I express my gratitude to Cardinal Angelo Sodano for his kind words and in a particular way I thank him, also in the name of the members of the College of Cardinals, for the valued service he has long provided as Dean, in a spirit of helpfulness, dedication and efficiency, and with great skill in organization and coordination.  In the manner of “la rassa nostrana”, as the Piedmontese writer Nino Costa would say.  Now the Cardinal Bishops have to elect a new dean.  I am hoping they will elect someone who can carry this important responsibility full time.  Thank you. 
To each of you here, to your co-workers and all those who serve in the Curia, but also to the Papal Representatives and their staff, I extend my best wishes for a holy and joyful Christmas.  And I add my appreciation for the dedication that you bring daily to your service of the Church.  Thank you very much.
Once again this year, the Lord gives us the opportunity to gather for this moment of fellowship which strengthens our fraternity and is grounded in our contemplation of God’s love revealed at Christmas.  A contemporary mystic has written that “the birth of Christ is the greatest and most eloquent witness of how much God loved man.  He loved him with a personal love.  That is why he took a human body, united it to himself and made it his own forever.  The birth of Christ is itself a ‘covenant of love’, sealed for all time between God and man”.[1]  As Saint Clement of Alexandria writes, “Christ came down and assumed our humanity, willingly sharing in our human sufferings, for this reason: so that, having experienced the frailty of those whom he loves, he could then make us experience his great power”.[2]
In the light of this boundless benevolence and love, our exchange of Christmas greetings is yet another chance to respond to Christ’s new commandment: “Even as I have loved you, you must also love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:34-35).  Jesus does not ask us to love him in response to his love for us; rather, he asks us to love one another as he does.  In other words, he asks us to become like him, since he became like us.  As Saint John Henry Newman prayed: “May each Christmas, as it comes, find us more and more like Him, who at this time became a little child for our sake, more simple-minded, more humble, more holy, more affectionate, more resigned, more happy, more full of God”.[3]  And he went on to say: “[Christmas] is a time for innocence, and purity, and gentleness, and mildness, and contentment, and peace”[4]
This mention of Newman brings to mind his well-known words in his Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, a book that coincided chronologically and spiritually with his entry into the Catholic Church:  “Here below to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often”.[5]  Naturally, he is not speaking about changing for change’s sake, or following every new fashion, but rather about the conviction that development and growth are a normal part of human life, even as believers we know that God remains the unchanging centre of all things.[6]
For Newman change was conversion, in other words, interior transformation.[7]  Christian life is a journey, a pilgrimage.  The history of the Bible is a journey, marked by constantly new beginnings.  So it was with Abraham.  So it was too with those Galileans who two thousand years ago set out to follow Jesus: “When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him” (Lk 5:11).  From that time forward, the history of God’s people – the history of the Church – has always been marked by new beginnings, displacements and changes.  This journey, of course, is not just geographical, but above all symbolic: it is a summons to discover the movement of the heart, which, paradoxically, has to set out in order to remain, to change in order to be faithful.[8]
All of this has particular importance for our time, because what we are experiencing is not simply an epoch of changes, but an epochal change.   We find ourselves living at a time when change is no longer linear, but epochal.  It entails decisions that rapidly transform our ways of living, of relating to one another, of communicating and thinking, of how different generations relate to one another and how we understand and experience faith and science.  Often we approach change as if were a matter of simply putting on new clothes, but remaining exactly as we were before.  I think of the enigmatic expression found in a famous Italian novel: “If we want everything to stay the same, then everything has to change” (The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa).
The more healthy approach is to let oneself be challenged by the questions of the day and to approach them with the virtues of discernment, parrhesía and hypomoné.  Seen in this light, change takes on a very different aspect: from something marginal, incidental or merely external, it would become something more human and more Christian.  Change would still take place, but beginning with man as its centre: an anthropological conversion.[9]
We need to initiate processes and not just occupy spaces: “God manifests himself in historical revelation, in history.  Time initiates processes and space crystalizes them.  God is in history, in the processes.  We must not focus on occupying the spaces where power is exercised, but rather on starting long-run historical processes.  We must initiate processes rather than occupy spaces.  God manifests himself in time and is present in the processes of history.  This gives priority to actions that give birth to new historical dynamics.  And it requires patience, waiting”.[10]  In this sense, we are urged to read the signs of the times with the eyes of faith, so that the direction of this change should “raise new and old questions which it is right that we should face”.[11]
In discussing a change that is grounded mainly in fidelity to the depositum fidei and the Tradition, today I would like to speak once more of the implementation of the reform of the Roman Curia and to reaffirm that this reform has never presumed to act as if nothing had preceded it.  On the contrary, an effort was made to enhance the good elements deriving from the complex history of the Curia.  There is a need to respect history in order to build a future that has solid roots and can thus prove fruitful.  Appealing to memory is not the same as being anchored in self-preservation, but instead to evoke the life and vitality of an ongoing process.  Memory is not static, but dynamic.  By its very nature, it implies movement.  Nor is tradition static; it too is dynamic, as that great man [Gustav Mahler] used to say: tradition is the guarantee of the future and not a container of ashes.
Dear brothers and sisters,
In our previous Christmas meetings, I spoke of the criteria that inspired this work of reform.  I also explained some changes already implemented, whether definitively or ad experimentum.[12]  In 2017, I highlighted some new elements in the organization of the Curia.  I gave as examples: the Third Section of the Secretariat of State, which is working very well; the relationship between the Roman Curia and particular Churches, with reference also to the ancient practice of the Visits ad limina Apostolorum; and the structure of some Dicasteries, especially that for the Oriental Churches and those for ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, particularly with Judaism.
In today’s meeting, I would like to reflect on some other Dicasteries, beginning with the heart of the reform, that is, with the first and most important task of the Church, which is evangelization.  As Saint Paul VI stated: “Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity.  She exists in order to evangelize”.[13]  Today too, Evangelii Nuntiandi continues to be the most important pastoral document of the post-conciliar period.  Indeed, the aim of the current reform is that “the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation.  The renewal of structures demanded by pastoral conversion can only be understood in this light: as part of an effort to make them more mission-oriented” (Evangelii Gaudium, 27).  Consequently, inspired by the magisterium of the Successors of Peter from the time of the Second Vatican Council until the present, it was decided to give the title Praedicate Evangelium to the new Apostolic Constitution being prepared on the reform of the Roman Curia.  A missionary outlook.
For this reason, I would like to discuss today some of the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia whose names explicitly refer to this: the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.  I think, too, of the Dicastery for Communication and the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
The first two Congregations mentioned were established in an age when it was easier to distinguish between two rather well-defined realities: a Christian world and a world yet to be evangelized.  That situation no longer exists today.  People who have not yet received the Gospel message do not live only in non-Western continents; they live everywhere, particularly in vast urban concentrations that call for a specific pastoral outreach.  In big cities, we need other “maps”, other paradigms, which can help us reposition our ways of thinking and our attitudes.  Brothers and sisters, Christendom no longer exists!   Today we are no longer the only ones who create culture, nor are we in the forefront or those most listened to.[14]  We need a change in our pastoral mindset, which does not mean moving towards a relativistic pastoral care.  We are no longer living in a Christian world, because faith – especially in Europe, but also in a large part of the West – is no longer an evident presupposition of social life; indeed, faith is often rejected, derided, marginalized and ridiculed. 
This point was clearly made by Benedict XVI when he proclaimed the 2012 Year of Faith: “Whereas in the past it was possible to recognize a unitary cultural matrix, broadly accepted in its appeal to the content of the faith and the values inspired by it, today this no longer seems to be the case in large swathes of society, because of a profound crisis of faith that has affected many people”.[15]  This also led to the establishment in 2010 of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization for the sake of fostering “a renewed evangelization in the countries where the first proclamation of the faith has already resonated and where Churches with an ancient foundation exist but are experiencing the progressive secularization of society and a sort of ‘eclipse of the sense of God’, which pose a challenge to finding appropriate means to propose anew the perennial truth of Christ’s Gospel”.[16]  At times I have spoken about this with some of you…  I think of five countries that filled the world with missionaries – I told you which ones they are – and today lack the vocational resources to go forward.  That is today’s world.
The realization that epochal change raises serious questions about the identity of our faith did not burst suddenly on the scene.[17]  It gave rise to the term “new evangelization”, then taken up by Saint John Paul II, who wrote in his Encyclical Letter Redemptoris Missio: “Today the Church must face other challenges and push forward to new frontiers, both in the initial mission ad gentes and in the new evangelization of those peoples who have already heard Christ proclaimed” (No. 30).  What is needed is a new evangelization or a re-evangelization (cf. No. 33).
All of this necessarily entails changes and shifts in focus, both within the above-mentioned Dicasteries and within the Curia as a whole.[18]
I would also add a word about the recently established Dicastery for Communication.  Here too we are speaking of epochal change, inasmuch as “broad swathes of humanity are immersed in [the digital world] in an ordinary and continuous manner.  It is no longer merely a question of ‘using’ instruments of communication, but of living in a highly digitalized culture that has had a profound impact on ideas of time and space, on our self-understanding, our understanding of others and the world, and our ability to communicate, learn, be informed and enter into relationship with others.  An approach to reality that privileges images over listening and reading has influenced the way people learn and the development of their critical sense” (Christus Vivit, 86).
The Dicastery for Communication has been entrusted with the responsibility of unifying in a new institution the nine bodies that, in various ways and with different tasks, had previously dealt with communications.  These were the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, the Holy See Press Office, the Vatican Press, the Vatican Publishing House, L’Osservatore Romano, Vatican Radio, the Vatican Television Centre, the Vatican Internet Service and the Photographic Service.  This consolidation, as I have said, was meant not simply for better coordination, but also for a reconfiguration of the different components in view of offering a better product and keeping to a consistent editorial line.
The new media culture, in its variety and complexity, calls for an appropriate presence of the Holy See in the communications sector.  Today, we are living in a multimedia world and this affects our way of conceiving, designing and providing media services.  All this entails not only a change of culture but also an institutional and personal conversion, in order to pass from operating in self-contained units – which in the best cases had a certain degree of coordination – to working in synergy, in an intrinsically interconnected way.
Dear brothers and sisters,
Much of what I have been saying is also applicable to the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.  It too was recently established in response to the changes that have taken place on the global level, and amalgamates four previous Pontifical Councils: those of Justice and Peace, Cor Unum, and the pastoral care of Migrants and of Healthcare Workers. The overall unity of the tasks entrusted to this Dicastery is summed up in the first words of the Motu Proprio Humanam Progressionem that instituted it: “In all her being and actions, the Church is called to promote the integral development of the human person in the light of the Gospel.  This development takes place by attending to the inestimable goods of justice, peace and the care of creation”.  It takes place by serving those who are most vulnerable and marginalized, particularly those forced to emigrate, who at the present time represent a voice crying in the wilderness of our humanity.  The Church is thus called to remind everyone that it is not simply a matter of social or migration questions but of human persons, of our brothers and sisters who today are a symbol of all those discarded by the globalized society.  She is called to testify that for God no one is a “stranger” or an “outcast”.  She is called to awaken consciences slumbering in indifference to the reality of the Mediterranean Sea, which has become for many, all too many, a cemetery.
I would like to recall how important it is that development be integral.  Saint Paul VI observed that “to be authentic, development must be integral; it must foster the development of every man and of the whole man” (Populorum Progressio, 14).  In a word, grounded in her tradition of faith and appealing in recent decades to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, the Church consistently affirms the grandeur of the vocation of all human beings, whom God has created in his image and likeness in order to form a single family.  At the same time, she strives to embrace humanity in all its dimensions.
It is precisely this integral aspect that nowadays makes us recognize that our common humanity unites us as children of one Father.  “In all her being and actions, the Church is called to promote the integral development of the human person in the light of the Gospel (Humanam Progressionem).  The Gospel always brings the Church back to the mysterious logic of the incarnation, to Christ who took upon himself our history, the history of each of us.  That is the message of Christmas.  Humanity, then, is the key for interpreting the reform.  Humanity calls and challenges us; in a word, it summons us to go forth and not fear change.
Let us not forget that the Child lying in the manger has the face of our brothers and sisters most in need, of the poor who “are a privileged part of this mystery; often they are the first to recognize God’s presence in our midst” (Admirabile Signum, 6).
Dear brothers and sisters,
We are speaking, then, about great challenges and necessary balances that are often hard to achieve, for the simple fact that, poised between a glorious past and a changing, creative future, we are living in the present.  Here there are persons who necessarily need time to grow; there are historical situations to be dealt with on a daily basis, since in the process of the reform the world and history do not stop; there are juridical and institutional questions that need to be resolved gradually, without magic formulas or shortcuts.
There is, finally, the dimension of time and there is human error, which must rightly be taken into consideration.  These are part of the history of each one of us.  Not to take account of them is to go about doing things in abstraction from human history.  Linked to this difficult historical process there is always the temptation to fall back on the past (also by employing new formulations), because it is more reassuring, familiar, and, to be sure, less conflictual.  This too is part of the process and risk of setting in motion significant changes.[19]
Here, there is a need to be wary of the temptation to rigidity.  A rigidity born of the fear of change, which ends up erecting fences and obstacles on the terrain of the common good, turning it into a minefield of incomprehension and hatred.  Let us always remember that behind every form of rigidity lies some kind of imbalance.  Rigidity and imbalance feed one another in a vicious circle.  And today this temptation to rigidity has become very real.
Dear brothers and sisters,
The Roman Curia is not a body detached from reality, even though this risk is always present.  Rather, it should be thought of and experienced in the context of the journey of today’s men and women, and against the backdrop of this epochal change.  The Roman Curia is not a palace or a wardrobe full of clothes to be changed.  The Roman Curia is a living body, and all the more so to the extent that it lives the Gospel in its integrity.
Cardinal Martini, in his last interview, a few days before his death, said something that should make us think: “The Church is two hundred years behind the times.  Why is she not shaken up?  Are we afraid?  Fear, instead of courage?  Yet faith is the Church’s foundation.  Faith, confidence, courage…  Only love conquers weariness”.[20]
Christmas is the feast of God’s love for us.  The divine love that inspires, guides and corrects change, and overcomes the human fear of leaving behind “security” in order once more to embrace the “mystery”.
A happy Christmas to all!
* * * * *
In preparation for Christmas, we have listened to sermons on the Holy Mother of God.  Let us turn to her before the blessing.  [Hail Mary and blessing].
Now I would like to give you a little gift of two books.  The first is the “document” that I wanted to issue for the Extraordinary Missionary Month [October 2019], and did do in the form of an interview; Senza di Lui non possiamo fare nulla – Without Him We Can Do Nothing.  I was inspired by a saying, I don’t know by whom, that when missionaries arrive in a place, the Holy Spirit is already there waiting for them.  That was the inspiration for this document.  The second gift is a retreat given to priests recently by Father Luigi Maria Epicoco, Qualcuno a cui guardare – Someone To Whom We Can Look.  I give you these from the heart so that they can be of use to the whole community.  Thank you!



[1]MATTA EL MESKEEN, L’Umanità di Dio, Qiqajon-Bose, Magnano 2015, 170-171. 
[2] Quis dives salvetur 37, 1-6.
[3] Sermon 7, “The Mystery of Godliness”, Parochial and Plain Sermons, V.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Chapter 1, Section 1, Part 7.
[6] In one of his prayers, Newman writes: “There is nothing stable but Thou, O my God!  And Thou art the centre and life of all who change, who trust Thee as their Father, who look to Thee, and who are content to put themselves into Thy hands.  I know, O my God, I must change, if I am to see Thy face!” (Meditations and Devotions, XI, “God Alone Unchangeable”).
[7] Newman describes it like this: “I was not conscious to myself, on my conversion, of any change, intellectual or moral, wrought in my mind... it was like coming into port after a rough sea; and my happiness on that score remains to this day without interruption” (Apologia Pro Vita Sua, 1865, Chapter 5, 238.  Cf. J. HONORÉ, Gli aforismi di Newman, LEV, 2010, 167).
[8] Cf. J. M. BERGOGLIO, “Lenten Message to Priests and Religious”, 21 February 2007, in In Your Eyes I See my Words: Homilies and Speeches from Buenos Aires, Volume 2: 2005-2008, Fordham University Press, 2020.
[9] Cf. Apostolic Constitution Veritatis Gaudium (27 December 2017), 3: “In a word, this calls for changing the models of global development and redefining our notion of progress.  Yet the problem is that we still lack the culture necessary to confront this crisis. We lack leadership capable of striking out on new paths”.
[10] Interview given to Father Antonio Spadaro, Civiltà Cattolica, 19 September 2013, p. 468.
[11] Schreiben an das Pilgernde Volk Gottes in Deutschland, 29 June 2019.
[13] Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi (8 December 1975), 14.  Saint John Paul II wrote that missionary evangelization “is the primary service which the Church can render to every individual and to all humanity in the modern world, a world which has experienced marvellous achievements but which seems to have lost its sense of ultimate realities and of existence itself” (Encyclical Letter Redemptoris Missio, 7 December 1990, 2).
[15] Motu Proprio Porta Fidei, 2.
[16] Benedict XVI, Homily, 28 June 2010; cf. Motu Proprio Ubicumque et Semper, 17 October 2010.
[17] An epochal change was noted in France by Cardinal Suhard (we can think of his pastoral letter Essor ou déclin de l’Église, 1947) and by the then-Archbishop of Milan, Giovanni Battista Montini.  The latter also questioned whether Italy was still a Catholic country (cf. Opening Address at the VIII National Week of Pastoral Updating, 22 September 1958, in Discorsi e Scritti milanesi 1954-1963, vol. II, Brescia-Roma 1997, 2328).
[18] Saint Paul VI, some fifty years ago, when presenting the new Roman Missal to the faithful, recalled the correspondence between the law of prayer (lex orandi) and the law of faith (lex credendi), and described the Missal as “a demonstration of fidelity and vitality”.  He concluded by saying: “So let us not speak of a ‘new Mass’, but rather of ‘a new age in the life of the Church’” (General Audience, 19 November 1969).  Analogously, we might also say in this case: not a new Roman Curia, but rather a new age.
[19] Evangelii Gaudium states the rule: “to give priority to actions which generate new processes in society and engage other persons and groups who can develop them to the point where they bear fruit in significant historical events.  Without anxiety, but with clear convictions and tenacity” (No. 223).
[20] Interview with Georg Sporschill, S.J. and Federica Radice Fossati Confalonieri: Corriere della Sera, 1 September 2012.
FULL TEXT +ImageSource: Vatican.va - Official Translation

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Saturday, December 21, 2019 - #Eucharist in Advent



Saturday of the Third Week of Advent
Lectionary: 197
Reading 1SG 2:8-14

Hark! my lover–here he comes
springing across the mountains,
leaping across the hills.
My lover is like a gazelle
or a young stag.
Here he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
peering through the lattices.
My lover speaks; he says to me,
"Arise, my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one,
and come!
"For see, the winter is past,
the rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of pruning the vines has come,
and the song of the dove is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance.
Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one,
and come!

"O my dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the secret recesses of the cliff,
Let me see you,
let me hear your voice,
For your voice is sweet,
and you are lovely."

OrZEP 3:14-18A

Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!
Sing joyfully, O Israel!
Be glad and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!
The LORD has removed the judgment against you,
he has turned away your enemies;
The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst,
you have no further misfortune to fear.
On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged!
The LORD, your God, is in your midst,
a mighty savior;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
and renew you in his love,
He will sing joyfully because of you,
as one sings at festivals.

Responsorial PsalmPS 33:2-3, 11-12, 20-21

R.(1a; 3a) Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises.
Sing to him a new song;
pluck the strings skillfully, with shouts of gladness.
R. Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.
But the plan of the LORD stands forever;
the design of his heart, through all generations.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
R. Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield,
For in him our hearts rejoice;
in his holy name we trust.
R. Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law:
come to save us, Lord our God!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 1:39-45

Mary set out in those days
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
"Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled."