18 Dec
Mon 3rd Week of Advent
Jer. 23:5-8
Ps. 72:2, 112-13, 18-19
Mt. 1:18-24
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     The key concept in today's reading is 'integrity' or 'wholeness'. The coming Messiah is foreseen as one 'practising honesty and integrity in the land'. He will be called "the Lord-our-integrity". Integrity means 'completeness' or 'wholenss' and Jeremiah sees the scattered remnants of Israel being brought together into one united people through the work of the Messiah.

    The Gospel speaks of a somewhat different integrity, the integrity of Joseph on finding that the girl to whom he is solemnly betrothed is already pregnant. Naturally, he is deeply distressed but, "being a man of honour", he does not take legal steps which could have resulted in Mary's execution as an adulterer but decides "to divorce her informally".

    Only then does he learn that Mary's child is someone very special and that His conception is by the direct intervention of God Himself. Matthew sees all this as a fulfillment of a prophecy. "The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son". The name He is to be given, "Immanuel", indicated the very meaning of the Incarnation: "God-is-with-us".

    As we pray about these readings today, may we work for the wholenss of our community and for the integrity and transparency of our own lives so as to make the presence of God among us more easily seen.

     Lord, through the intercession of Joseph, may we work with all people of good will to bring unity and wholeness into our communities.
Eternal Father, I offer You everything I do this day; my thoughts, words, joys and sufferings. Grant that, vivified by the Holy Spirit and united to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, my life this day may be of service to You and to others. I also pray that all those preparing for marriage discover in Sacrament the source of Christ's grace for living a fithful and fruitful love. Amen.

That the celebration of the Jubilee may become the source of a new commitment in men and women of good will to protect and promote human life.

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P R A Y I N G    W I T H    T H E    C H U R C H    

INTENTION : That the celebration of the Jubilee may become the source of a new commitment in men and women of good will to protect and promote human life.

In the threshold of the year 2001, it is our duty to renew our commitment to safeguarding the dignity of the poor and marginalised and to recognise in a practical way the rights of those who have no rights. This is the spirit of the new millennium which presupposes the following: The basic right to life which is inviolable which involves a positive choice for life. The development of a culture of this kind embraces all the circumstances of life and ensures the promotion of human dignity in every situation.

Recent developments in the field of genetic engineering present a profoundly disquieting challenge. In order that scientific research in this area may be at the service of the person, it must be accompanied at every stage by careful ethical reflection, which will bring about adequate legal norms safeguarding the integrity of human life. Life can never be downgraded to the level of a thing.

To choose life involves rejecting every form of violence. In every circumstance, the right to life must be promoted and safeguarded with appropriate legal and political guarantees. Let us raise our voices on their behalf.

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