December 31, 2000
volume 11, no. 278

LITURGY for Sunday and Monday, December 31, 2000 and January 1, 2001

SUNDAY, December 31, 2000

      First Reading: Sirach 3: 2-6, 12-14 or 1 Samuel 2: 20-22, 24-28
      Psalms: Psalm 67:2-3, 5-6, 8
      Second Reading: Colossians 3: 12-21 or Colossians 32: 12-17 or 1 John 3: 1-2, 21-24
      Gospel Reading: Luke 2: 41-52


        This feast is always celebrated on the Sunday after Christmas and commemorates the holy bond of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The Holy Family is the model for all homes, especiallly in this day and age when family concept is no longer held sacred and the sacred is profaned when same-sex unions call themselves family. In the Holy Family we have the ideal role models God intended for all His children: Jesus as the obedient child, observing all He can in bringing love to His Mother and foster father, contributing to the family unit; Joseph as the humble, loving, patient patriarch of the family, guiding Jesus gently but firmly, and lovingly protecting his spouse whom he respects so much he will not defile in word or action, defending her honor in all chasteness; and finally Mary, the loving Virgin Mother who never complains despite the rugged travel while with child, the harsh elements and the meager food. She tenderly cares for her Divine Son, spending sleepless hours in meditative union with God, always in joy, caring for her loving spouse Joseph by preparing the meals, washing his garments, etc. Yes, this is the ideal family and no one can perceive of such a family today - but it is the ideal to strive for and because of that, this feast is very special within the Church - a family member of the Communion of Saints. The Feast of the Holy Family first gained observance status in the 17th Century and garnered greater stature in the 18th Century when Pope Leo XIII consecrated families to the Holy Family. Pope Benedict XV extended the Divine Office and the Mass of this feast to the universal Church in 1921.

MONDAY, January 1, 2001

    MONDAY January 1:
    NEW YEAR'S DAY - Octave of Christmas and DAY OF PRAYER FOR WORLD PEACE
    Note: Because this Solemnity falls on Monday the NCCB has declared this is not a Holyday of Obligation in the United States, but it is in Canada

    White vestments

      First Reading: Numbers 6: 22-27
      Psalms: Psalm 67: 2-3, 5-6, 8
      Second Reading: Galatians 4: 4-7
      Gospel Reading: Luke 2: 16-21


        Pope Paul VI pronounced this special feast in 1970 to supercede the Feast of the Circumcision, which had been in vogue since early in the 6th Century. The Holy Father changed the feast to bring the Latin Calendar more into accord with Eastern tradition in the Byzantine Church which emphasizes the Marian character of this feast as the octave of Christmas. This is, however, not a new feast for it had been celebrated as early as the 5th Century on the Sunday before Christmas. Late in the 7th Century Pope Saint Sergius I introduced four new Marian feasts into the Church calendar with the Birth of Mary, the Annunciation, the Purification of Mary and the Assumption as well as celebrating the Maternity of Mary on the Octave of Christmas. It wasn't until the 14th Century that the Feast of the Circumcision was introduced and eventually squeezed out, so to speak, the Marian celebration. His Holiness Pope Paul VI stated in his encyclical Marialis Cultus, issued in 1974 "is meant to commemorate the part played by Mary in this mystery of salvation. It is meant also to exalt the singular dignity which this mystery brings to the 'holy Mother...through whom we were found receive the Author of life." The Holy Father took this occasion to also institute that a World Day of Peace be celebrated on this same day "bringing forth fruits of peace in the hearts of many." Seven years later Our Lady herself confirmed this union of her solemnity as the Mother of God and the fruits of peace when she began appearing in Medjugorje, proclaiming herself the "Queen of Peace."

December 31, 2000
volume 11, no. 278

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