Vol: 45, No.7 THE HOLY FAMILY ( B) December 31 2017  
Our God has appeared on the earth, and lived among us. (Bar 3:38)
Bring those you refresh with this
heavenly Sacrament, most merciful Father, to imitate constantly the example of the Holy Family, so that, after the trials of this world, we may share their company for ever. Through Christ our Lord.
The Apostolic Exhortation on Love in the Family by Pope Francis (Amoris Laetitia) is the Papal document on the family. The Pope offers exhortations on the various issues that trouble the families. Relevant paragraphs from chapter three of Amoris Laetitia that deal with family issues are presented below for our consideration.
This brief chapter summarizes the Church’s teaching on marriage and the family. The Synod Fathers noted that Jesus, “in speaking of God’s original plan for man and woman, reaffirmed the indissoluble union between them. The indissolubility of marriage – ‘what God has joined together, let no man put asunder’ (Mt 19:6) – should not be viewed as a ‘yoke’ imposed on humanity, but as a ‘gift’ granted to those who are joined in marriage. God’s indulgent love always accompanies our human journey; through grace, it heals and transforms hardened hearts, leading them back to the beginning through the way of the cross. The Gospels clearly present the example of Jesus who proclaimed the meaning of marriage as the fullness of revelation that restores God’s original plan. (cf. Mt 19:3)”
Jesus began his public ministry with the miracle at the wedding feast of Cana (cf. Jn 2:1-11). He shared in everyday moments of friendship with the family of Lazarus and his sisters (cf. Lk 10:38) and with the family of Peter (cf. Mk 8:14). He sympathized with grieving parents and restored their children to life (cf. Mk 5:41; Lk 7:14-15). In this way he demonstrated the true meaning of mercy, which entails the restoration of the covenant.
Marriage is a vocation, inasmuch as it is a response to a specific call to experience conjugal love as an
imperfect sign of the love between Christ and the Church. Consequently, the decision to marry and to have a family ought to be the fruit of a process of vocational discernment.
Sexual union, lovingly experienced and sanctified by the sacrament, is in turn a path of growth in the life of grace for the couple. It is the “nuptial mystery”. The meaning and value of their physical union is expressed in the words of consent, in which they accepted and offered themselves each to the other, in order to share their lives completely. Neither of the spouses will be alone in facing whatever challenges may come their way. Both are called to respond to God’s gift with commitment, creativity, perseverance and daily effort. They can always invoke the assistance of the Holy Spirit who consecrated their union, so that his grace may be felt in every new situation that they encounter.
Marriage is firstly an “intimate partnership of life and love” which is a good for the spouses themselves, while sexuality is “ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman”. It follows that “spouses to whom God has not granted children can have a conjugal life full of meaning, in both human and Christian terms”. Nonetheless, the conjugal union is ordered to procreation “by its very nature”. The child who is born “does not come from outside as something added on to the mutual love of the spouses, but springs from the very heart of that mutual giving, as its fruit and fulfilment”. He or she does not appear at the end of a process, but is present from the beginning of love as an essential feature, one that cannot be denied without disfiguring that love itself.
—Amoris Laetitia
January 2018 Readings (Christmas Season) Psalter Week 1
01 Mon (W) MARY, MOTHER OF GOD, Solemnity, Num 6:22-27/ Ps 67:2-8/ Gal 4:4-7/ Lk 2:16-21
02 Tue (W) Sts Basil the Great & Gregory Nazianzen, 1 Jn 2:22-28/ Ps 98: 1-4/ Jn 1:19-28
03 Wed (W) The Holy Name of Jesus & St. Kuriakose Chavara, 1 Jn 2:29–3:6/ Ps 98:1-6/ Jn 1:29-34
04 Thu (W) St Elizabeth Ann Seton, 1 Jn 3:7-10/ Ps 98:1, 7-9/ Jn 1:35-42
05 Fri (W) St John Neumann, 1 Jn 3:11-21/ Ps 100:1-5/ Jn 1:43-51
06 Sat (W) St André Bessette, 1 Jn 5:5-13/ Ps 147:12-15, 19-20/ Mk 1:7-11 or Lk 3:23-38
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