Feast of the Holy Family - Year A
PUT ON COMPASSION
Paul gives some good, practical advice for life that was echoed by Shakespeare in Hamlet: "assume a virtue if you have it not."
In other words, if you want to develop certain virtues just pretend that you have them and the habit will grow. The idea is not to live a pretense, but that one of the best ways to grow a habit of good deeds is to just start doing them. Eventually they become instinctive.
HE SHALL BE CALLED A NAZARENE
The original language of the Bible was rich in word play. Several of the authors used what we would call puns. These had a practical as well as artistic purpose. Since few people could read, it was necessary to hold large sections of the scriptures in memory. Playing upon words aided this accomplishment. Sadly, most translations fail to convey the puns. Today's gospel is a good example.
In Hebrew the word "netser" means "branch". It can refer to a plant branch or to the "branch" of a family tree. The most important family in Israel was that of David. Isaiah 11:1 talks about a "shoot (or branch) sprouting from the stump of Jesse (David's father). Matthew seems to be connecting the name of the town, Nazareth with the netser of the royal family.
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