4th Sunday in Advent –B
My brothers and sisters in the Lord!
In the Gospel today, we have the arrival of the angel Gabriel, who invites Mary to rejoice because she has been chosen to be the mother of Jesus. The classical artists tend to depict Mary as a docile young woman, so very often kneeling in prayer as she accepts the awesome invitation. Mary, however; is also very practical and asks the angel to explain how this will be possible since she has no husband. Mary is testing the wisdom of the message she has received. She is being invited to risk her reputation and perhaps even her life. The law of Moses would have classified her as someone deserving death by stoning, because she would have been regarded as an adulteress. She would have also known that her parents would have been disgraced in their community because of their daughter’s shame. The angel in reply, is able to offer compelling evidence that the invitation to Mary is genuine. And against all the odds, Elizabeth, Mary’s kinswoman, well beyond the age of child bearing, is now expecting a baby herself as a sign of God’s blessing.
We, of course, know the story of Jesus unfolded to reveal all sorts of joy and sorrow, contradictions and challenges, leading to his death on the cross of a criminal, and then ultimately, his resurrection in glory. But, likely the uncertainty which has been the hallmark of this year, let us simply sit with the tensions and challenges of what Mary was asked to do and be assured that it all worked out for her, and for us, in the end.
We use all sorts of imagery for holiness and commitment. Our readings today use the imagery of the dwelling places of God. David does not simply go off and begin his great construction enterprise without checking with his advisor, the prophet Nathan. As it turns out, David does not get to finish the work and it falls on his son Solomon, to complete the building of the Temple in Jerusalem. God’s promise of David was to make David himself the house. His family line would be forever blessed, and this was achieved through the birth of Jesus.
We use the image of house for many aspects of our lives. Our political institutions are often named “houses”. The “House of David” meant the entire chosen people of God rather than just a building. For us as a faith community, our house of God can be both our physical place of public worship as awell as the house of our hearts. We might ask ourselves, “Are we sometimes more caught up in the trappings of the architecture and lavish liturgy than meaning of our worship? And what kind of house can we make for God this Christmas, at the end of a year in which due to the pandemic our own homes may have been places of refuge and safety but also places of restriction and confinement, away from family and friends? Have we learned about the things that make our houses good places to be? We might also ask: were these physical items or ways we used our time? And should we ration our social media activity so we can actually be present in real time to others or do the new technologies offer us more opportunities to connect with those who are isolated and well? How can we give more fully to the house of God as we go forward to love and serve the Lord this Christmas? We remember that the first house of Jesus was a stable and that he had to rely on the shelter offered by strangers. The final question: Are we, ourselves, able to take this as our model for the Christian life.
This week we also enter into the Christmas Season. St. Luke tells us that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the town associated with King David. It was to David that God promised an unbroken line of royal descendants, and Jesus is frequently referred to as “son of David”. In Jesus the promise of David is fulfilled. The picturesque detail about Jesus being born in a stable may have may have deeper meaning: an inn, and we might best understand this term today in the sense of a motel, is not a suitable place of residence for someone who has a right to be in a particular town or city, especially someone related to the most famous person to come from Bethlehem. Jesus is not a temporary resident, someone just passing through: he is the most significant individual in the house of David, and deserves more appropriate accommodation, even a stable.
One of St. Luke’s chief concerns is the place in God’s plan of those who are regarded as being on the margins of the religious and social life of the nation. One such group would be the nomadic shepherds who were not part of any settled community but wondered with their flocks looking for pasture. As often happens with such people, they were regarded with suspicion by the towns people and were the first to suspected if anything went missing. But it is to these outsiders that God reveals the birth of the savior, not to anyone who would be thought of holy or well versed in the scriptures. This is another example of God’s dealings with human beings, that God does not think or act as we might expect.
We refer to the Christmas mystery as the incarnation, which means made in the flesh. We believe that, in Jesus, God took on our human nature. This tells us that human nature is basically good, and that in Jesus we have a glimpse of what God is really like. The reason many people may find this difficult is that it may seem to good to be true. Our feast today emphasis that Jesus is truly a human being. When we hear our children crying , instead of becoming annoyed, we might use that sound as a reminder of one of the basic teachings of our faith: that God came into the world as one of us.
The celebration is such a popular festival, maybe because it reminds us of a time when life was simpler, when it was easy to believe the mysteries of our faith. If our faith remains only at a level of a child’s, it may not make sense to us as adults. Today’s feast tells us that God wants us to be involved in whole of our lives.-if we allow God is.
On behalf of Sr. Francesco, Fr. John, Ms. Pilat our school principal, Fr. Patricia & The Religious Teachers Filippini, Sr. Cathy Lynn & The Franciscan Sisters of St. Elizabeth. We wish you a blessed Christmas Season.
Peace and Prayers always;
We continue to Thank all for their continued generosity in keeping up with your weekly offertory. Many have been using the Parish electronic giving program – to enroll please go on our parish web holyfamilynutley.org and scroll down to parish giving and follow the prompts. Many have also given to the God Fund ME program and we are grateful . Our Christmas collection is a major offertory for the parish. Please consider your Christmas gift to the parish and we thank you for your generosity.
Since our rectory is closed, Lynn was not able to produce a regular bulletin post. I will do the best I can with current information for you.
Mass schedule for week of December 20th, 2020:
Sanctuary Lamp Church – Yolanda Poiani — Chapel: Nunzio Papaccio
Candles – Maria Straface & Sr. Romilda
Bread- Michael Trezza — Wine- Maria & Michael Gavilhusky
December 19th: 5:30PM : VINCENT SQUATRITO
December 20th: 8:00Am: Josie Ciarletta
10:00AM: George W. Stivers
12 noon: Nicoletta Foti & People of the Parish
December 21st 8:45AM: Guilia Tamburri & Mary Pollessi
December 22nd: 8:45AM Ann Nowgruches & Romolo Cifello
December 23rd: 8:45 AM Theresa Cucinello & Charles Dury
December 24th: 8:45AM: Enrico Tamburri
4:00PM Tommy Giangrelli – MASS IS FULL – reached capacity
5:45PM – People of the Parish – SEATING STILL AVAILABLE
Mass at Midnight: In honor of the Birth of Jesus and the People of the Parish – MASS IS FULL –
December 25th: 8:00AM – In honor of the Birth of Jesus and the Pop – SEATING AVAILABLE
10:00AM – In honor of the birth of Jesus and the People of the Parish- MASS IS FULL
12 noon- In honor of the Birth of Jesus and the People of the Parish- MASS IS FULL
December 26th, 8:45 AM Special Remembrance Mass
NYPD Officer Richard Catapano
Amalio & Vincenza Farro
Joseph & Rose Servedio
Geraldine Tolve Carvalloza
Barbara Ann Stunger
Sat evening 5:30PM – Deceased Fruci & Straface Family & Angelo & Josephine Loricchio
- Raffle Tickets are still available in the vestibule of the Church. The prize is almost at $4,500.00. Please consider purchasing and giving to family and friends and use as stocking stuffers. As you know, we had no fund raising this Fall, no Easter celebration so our income has been in the red. Please consider joining parish online giving. It has been helping our parish immensely especially for this who are not able to come to mass. Thank your support. Please return you raffle tickets ASAP – drawing is next Sunday.
- The Schedule for Christmas and New Years’ Day Masses are on our Web page and also on display on all the doors of the church.
- Reminder reservations are needed. The 4:00PM Christmas Eve Mass is completely full.
- 5:45PM bilinqual –English & Italian still has space
- Mass at Midnight – completely FULL
- Christmas Day 8:00AM – space still available
- 10:00am Mass is full
- 12 noon – Mass is completely FULL
- Breaking Bread/Missals are still available at $10.00 each
- The rectory office will remain closed until December 28th.