19 Dec
Tue 3rdWeek of Advent
Jdg. 13:2-7, 24-25
Ps. 71:3-4, 5-6, 16-17
Lk. 1:5-25
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     The birth of a long-desired child is always a gift from God and a source of joy to parents. Today's readings underline God's action in two special children who were to belong to God's service in a unique way. An angel foretells the births of Samson and of John the Baptist and the special quality of their mission in the two readings. Both children were longed for and in the ordinary course of events hope had been abandoned since the women were past the normal age for child-bearing. Prayer is stressed as an important part of our contribution to God's creative work in our lives. Zechariah and Elizabeth are both prayerful people. Their child will be blessed by God and be great. Zechariah is doubtful and when he asks for a sign is struck dumb. The Lord's answer to prayer is not always what we expect! Gratitude is Elizabeth's response to God's unexpected gift.

     Be with us Lord throughout the day that we may be a source of joy and peace to all we meet.
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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