MAY THE LORD BLESS YOU
We often hear the words "bless" or "blessing"
in religion. What technically is a blessing? One major dictionary
explains it as, "something promoting or contributing to happiness,
well-being, or prosperity". In the religious sense, it is a
prayer that God will confer this happiness, etc. on someone. Moses
gave this right (or rite) to his brother, Aaron and his priestly
Certainly it is appropriate to seek God's blessing at the dawn of
a new year. But its use in today's Mass has a special meaning. Mary
was called "blessed... among all women" by the angel.
The manner of this blessing was that she gained an intimacy with
God held by no other.
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© 2000 by Father Richard Lonsdale
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NO LONGER A SLAVE
Paul gives a stunning interpretation of the Incarnation.
The spirit-Son-timeless God entered into time and these dimensions
to act as a link with another world. Through him we are adopted
by God as part of the divine family. Before this we were simply
slaves trapped in a limited existence from which there could be
no escape except death. Through Mary we are joined to Jesus and
to the Father. Paul uses the affectionate "Abba" or "papa"
of a little child to revel in the fruits of the birth of Christ.
For many centuries, the Church celebrated the feast
of the Circumcision on January 1. Less attention was paid to the
physical aspects of the operation than to its connection with the
naming of Jesus. It was also seen as a parallel to Christian baptism.
Some cultures, including Jews and Moslems, maintain the necessity
of the rite. It is surgical removal of all or part of the foreskin
on males. It is thought to insure fertility and has also been shown
to reduce the likelihood of certain kinds of cancer.
Among Jews it takes place eight days after birth and is normally
done or witnessed by a Rabbi. It marks the man as a Hebrew and heir
to the promises made by God to Abraham who was told by God to have