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How can this be?

8 Apr

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Our sister parish of the Annunciation, located in Beit Jala (Bethlehem), West Bank, Palestine, celebrates her feast day today: the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord.

Here in Milford at St. Andrew we will pray in our evening Mass that, through the intercession and care of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God and woman of Palestine, God will make good on His every promise to His people in Beit Jala and full their every hope in Him.

On Easter Sunday morning one of our teenagers asked me, “Father, which is the more important day for Christians: Christmas or Easter?” How would you have answered her? She picked Christmas.

On this day, I ask myself, “Which is the more important feast: Christmas or the Annunciation?” I pick the Annunciation. Here is my reasoning. When did God become one of us and one with us? Not when He was born. When He was conceived! The English translation of the Nicene Creed used to be: he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man. Now we say: he was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. The word incarnate replaces born. To be born describes the moment of birth. To be incarnate describes the moment of conception. The Word became incarnate – became flesh – in Mary’s womb. All of us – you and I and Jesus – were born. But God took on human flesh; God became human; God was incarnate. And the “incarnation” took place at the moment of conception in the womb of Mary, at the moment when Mary accepted God’s will and desire to become human. On Christmas we celebrate His birth among us. On Annunciation we celebrate His incarnation.

For me, the Annunciation feels like Christmas. It takes me back to Beit jala, and seeing that painting over the altar in their Catholic parish church, dedicated to the Annunciation. It takes me back to meeting Deacon Sleiman (Solomon) Hassan in that very church. It will be his ordination to the priesthood in June that will take me back to my next visit to Beit Jala.

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true freedom and everlasting inheritance

4 Sep

TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

September 9, 2012

 

Collect

O God, by whom we are redeemed and receive adoption,

look graciously upon your beloved sons and daughters,

that those who believe in Christ

may receive true freedom

and an everlasting inheritance.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

 

Prayer over the Offerings

O God, who give us the gift of true prayer and of peace,

graciously grant that through this offering,

we may do fitting homage to your divine majesty

and, by partaking of the sacred mystery,

we may be faithfully united in mind and heart.

Through Christ our Lord.

 

Prayer after Communion

Grant that your faithful, O Lord,

whom you nourish and endow with life

through the food of your Word and heavenly Sacrament,

may so benefit from your beloved Son’s great gifts

that we may merit an eternal share in his life.

Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

 

Find the readings for Sunday here.

nurture and keep safe; confirm and stir

31 Aug

Prayers and Readings

TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

September 2, 2012

 

Collect

God of might, giver of every good gift,

put into our hearts the love of your name,

so that, by deepening our sense of reverence,

you may nurture in us what is good

and, by your watchful care,

keep safe what you have nurtured.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

 

Prayer over the Offerings

May this sacred offering, O Lord,

confer on us always the blessing of salvation,

that what it celebrates in mystery

it may accomplish in power.

Through Christ our Lord.

 

Prayer after Communion

Renewed by this bread from the heavenly table,

we beseech you, Lord,

that, being the food of charity,

it may confirm our hearts

and stir us to serve you in our neighbor.

Through Christ our Lord

 

Find the readings for Sunday here.