Appendix

3rd Sunday of Lent—Scrutiny

March 7, 2021 

EX17:3-7
PS95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9.
ROM5:1-2, 5-8 

Explore the Sunday Gospel
The Samaritan Woman 
JN 4:5-42 or Jn 4:5-15, 19b-26, 39a, 40-42
[Short form printed here] 

Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar,
near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob's well was there.
Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well.
It was about noon.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water.
Jesus said to her,
"Give me a drink."
His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.
The Samaritan woman said to him,
"How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?"
—For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.—
Jesus answered and said to her,
"If you knew the gift of God
and who is saying to you, 'Give me a drink, '
you would have asked him
and he would have given you living water."
The woman said to him,
"Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep;
where then can you get this living water?
Are you greater than our father Jacob,
who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself
with his children and his flocks?"
Jesus answered and said to her,
"Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again;
but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst;
the water I shall give will become in him
a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
The woman said to him,
"Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty
or have to keep coming here to draw water.

"I can see that you are a prophet.
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain;
but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem."
Jesus said to her,
"Believe me, woman, the hour is coming
when you will worship the Father
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You people worship what you do not understand;
we worship what we understand,
because salvation is from the Jews.
But the hour is coming, and is now here,
when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth;
and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.
God is Spirit, and those who worship him
must worship in Spirit and truth."
The woman said to him,
"I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ;
when he comes, he will tell us everything."
Jesus said to her,
"I am he, the one who is speaking with you."

Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him.
When the Samaritans came to him,
they invited him to stay with them;
and he stayed there two days.
Many more began to believe in him because of his word,
and they said to the woman,
"We no longer believe because of your word;
for we have heard for ourselves,
and we know that this is truly the savior of the world." 

Take Time to Chat

  • What was it like for the Samaritan woman to meet Jesus?
  • What is the “living water” that Jesus talks about?
  • In what way did Jesus change the Samaritan woman’s life?

4th Sunday of Lent—Scrutiny

March 14, 2021 

1 SM 16:1B, 6-7, 10-13A
PS 23: 1-3A, 3B-4, 5, 6.
EPH 5:8-14 

Explore the Sunday Gospel
The Man Born Blind
JN9:1-41 or JN 9:1, 6-9, 13-17, 34-38
[Short form printed here] 

As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth.
He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva,
and smeared the clay on his eyes,
and said to him,
"Go wash in the Pool of Siloam" —which means Sent —.
So he went and washed, and came back able to see.

His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said,
"Isn't this the one who used to sit and beg?"
Some said, "It is, "
but others said, "No, he just looks like him."
He said, "I am."

They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees.
Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath.
So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see.
He said to them,
"He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see."
So some of the Pharisees said,
"This man is not from God,
because he does not keep the sabbath."
But others said,
"How can a sinful man do such signs?"
And there was a division among them.
So they said to the blind man again,
"What do you have to say about him,
since he opened your eyes?"
He said, "He is a prophet."

They answered and said to him,
"You were born totally in sin,
and are you trying to teach us?"
Then they threw him out.

When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out,
he found him and said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"
He answered and said,
"Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?"
Jesus said to him,
"You have seen him, and
the one speaking with you is he."
He said,
"I do believe, Lord," and he worshiped him.  

Take Time to Chat

  • In the Gospel of John, blindness symbolizes lack of faith. Given that, who is really blind in this story?
  • What can a person do to “see” the things of God more clearly and more deeply?
  • How do our senses help us to experience God?

5th Sunday of Lent—Scrutiny

March 21, 2021 

EZ37:12-14
PS 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
ROM8:8-11 

Explore the Sunday Gospel
The Raising of Lazarus
JN11:1-45 or JN 11:3-7, 17, 20-27, 33B-45
[Short form printed here] 

The sisters of Lazarus sent word to Jesus, saying,
"Master, the one you love is ill."
When Jesus heard this he said,
"This illness is not to end in death,
but is for the glory of God,
that the Son of God may be glorified through it."
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
So when he heard that he was ill,
he remained for two days in the place where he was.
Then after this he said to his disciples,
“Let us go back to Judea."

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus
had already been in the tomb for four days.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him;
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus,
"Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you."
Jesus said to her,
"Your brother will rise."
Martha said,
"I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day."
Jesus told her,
"I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?"
She said to him, "Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world."

He became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said,
"Where have you laid him?"
They said to him, "Sir, come and see."
And Jesus wept.
So the Jews said, "See how he loved him."
But some of them said,
"Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man
have done something so that this man would not have died?"

So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb.
It was a cave, and a stone lay across it.
Jesus said, "Take away the stone."
Martha, the dead man's sister, said to him,
"Lord, by now there will be a stench;
he has been dead for four days."
Jesus said to her,
"Did I not tell you that if you believe
you will see the glory of God?"
So they took away the stone.
And Jesus raised his eyes and said,
"Father, I thank you for hearing me.
I know that you always hear me;
but because of the crowd here I have said this,
that they may believe that you sent me."
And when he had said this,
He cried out in a loud voice,
"Lazarus, come out!"
The dead man came out,
tied hand and foot with burial bands,
and his face was wrapped in a cloth.
So Jesus said to them,
"Untie him and let him go."

Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary
and seen what he had done began to believe in him.

Take Time to Chat

  • Martha, Mary, and Lazarus were really good friends of Jesus. What would it be like to hang out with Jesus?
  • Imagine you were a bystander in this Gospel story, watching the events unfold before your eyes. What would your reaction be
  • In what way does this story foreshadow what Jesus will accomplish through his Passion, Death, and Resurrection? 

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

March 28, 2021 

MK14:1-15:47 or 15:1-39
[Short form printed here]
 

As soon as morning came,
the chief priests with the elders and the scribes,
that is, the whole Sanhedrin held a council.
They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.
Pilate questioned him,
"Are you the king of the Jews?"
He said to him in reply, "You say so."
The chief priests accused him of many things.
Again Pilate questioned him,
"Have you no answer?
See how many things they accuse you of."
Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.

Now on the occasion of the feast he used to release to them
one prisoner whom they requested.
A man called Barabbas was then in prison
along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion.
The crowd came forward and began to ask him
to do for them as he was accustomed.
Pilate answered,
"Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?"
For he knew that it was out of envy
that the chief priests had handed him over.
But the chief priests stirred up the crowd
to have him release Barabbas for them instead.
Pilate again said to them in reply,
"Then what do you want me to do
with the man you call the king of the Jews?"
They shouted again, "Crucify him."
Pilate said to them, "Why? What evil has he done?"
They only shouted the louder, "Crucify him."
So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd,
released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged,
handed him over to be crucified.

The soldiers led him away inside the palace,
that is, the praetorium, and assembled the whole cohort.
They clothed him in purple and,
weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him.
They began to salute him with, "Hail, King of the Jews!"
and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him.
They knelt before him in homage.
And when they had mocked him,
they stripped him of the purple cloak,
dressed him in his own clothes,
and led him out to crucify him.

They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon,
a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country,
the father of Alexander and Rufus,
to carry his cross.

They brought him to the place of Golgotha
—which is translated Place of the Skull —
They gave him wine drugged with myrrh,
but he did not take it.
Then they crucified him and divided his garments
by casting lots for them to see what each should take.
It was nine o'clock in the morning when they crucified him.
The inscription of the charge against him read,
"The King of the Jews."
With him they crucified two revolutionaries,
one on his right and one on his left.
Those passing by reviled him,
shaking their heads and saying,
"Aha! You who would destroy the temple
and rebuild it in three days,
save yourself by coming down from the cross."
Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes,
mocked him among themselves and said,
"He saved others; he cannot save himself.
Let the Christ, the King of Israel,
come down now from the cross
that we may see and believe."
Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him.

At noon darkness came over the whole land
until three in the afternoon.
And at three o'clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
"Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?"
which is translated,
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Some of the bystanders who heard it said,
"Look, he is calling Elijah."
One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed
and gave it to him to drink saying,
"Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down."
Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.
When the centurion who stood facing him
saw how he breathed his last he said,
"Truly this man was the Son of God!" 

WHAT WE ARE PRAYING FOR

Triduum
The Easter Triduum

Thank you for participating in the 2020 Lenten Family Prayer Challenge! Over 1,800 people joined together to pray for their families and priests. We hope that it was a powerful experience for you and that it has inspired you to continue to pray daily for your family.


As the season of Lent comes to an end and we enter the Triduum and prepare to celebrate Easter, we invite you to continue to hold your family in prayer. While the prayer challenge has come to an end, you may consider praying about the following themes for your family members:


Holy Thursday: Lord, I pray for my family this day. As we recall the model Jesus gave us in the washing of the feet, help us to live our lives in service to one another and our community. Amen.


Good Friday: Lord, I pray for my family this day. As we adore the cross today, we recall the tremendous sacrifice you made for us. Lord, help us to unite our struggles and sacrifices to Your cross, knowing that you can transform our suffering into joy. Amen.


Holy Saturday: Lord, I pray for my family this day. Today, is a day of waiting and hope. Help us to stand firm and give witness to your divine hope in all that we do and in all that we experience. Amen.


Easter Sunday: Lord, I entrust my family to you this day. We rejoice in your resurrection and ask that you renew each of us in our baptismal identity so that we may be beacons of light in the world in which we live. Amen.


Please know of our prayers for you and your family, as we journey closer to the Easter season. If you would like to take a moment to provide some feedback on your experience of the challenge, please click here. Your responses to this very brief survey will be greatly appreciated.  

Sunday
Thanksgiving/Gratitude

Prayer for my spouse: Thank you, Lord, for my spouse—for his/her gifts, presence, and love. This week, I am especially thankful for…  

Prayer for my children: Thank you for my children and for entrusting them into my care. As much as I love them, I know you love them even more, Lord. This week, I am especially thankful for [child’s name and what you’re thankful for].  

Prayer for my parents: Lord, thank you for my parents and the way they care for me. This week, I am especially thankful for…

Sunday, November 29, 2020
Sunday, November 29, 2020

Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God; you will conceive and give birth to a Son, alleluia.

We enter the Advent season reflecting on the angel Gabriel’s Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Imagine what it must have been like for Mary to receive this news.At the time, she was probably around 14 years old. It would have been mind-boggling for this poor, unmarried teenager to think that she would play a central part in God's mysterious plan of salvation. Full of grace, the young virgin responds in faith, even though the road ahead would be filled with uncertainty and trials. Sometimes things happen in our families that cause us to fear. To whom do we turn with those fears, doubts, and uncertainties? How can we better support one another in times of trouble?

Listen to the song “Breath of Heaven” by Amy Grant to reflect on Mary’s journey.] Lord, we come to you today hoping to find favor with you as you found with Mary. We bring to you our fears and all the uncertainties that the future holds. Help us to respond in faith like Mary did, and help us to grow in the virtue of hope as we prepare our hearts to welcome Christ anew this Advent season. Amen.  

Monday
Blessing

Prayer for my spouse:  Lord Jesus, please bless my spouse with strength, peace, and whatever else [name] needs this day.

Prayer for my children: Jesus, please bless my children and help them to be a blessing to others. Give [name each child] the grace and wisdom he/she needs for this day and protect him/her from all evil.    

Prayer for my parents: Heavenly Father, please bless my parents. Strengthen them and help them to glorify you in all they do this day.

Monday, November 30, 2020
Monday, November 30, 2020

Andrew served Christ and loyally preached the Gospel; with his brother Peter, he laid down his life for God.

 

The Gospel of John tells us that Andrew introduced his brother Peter to Jesus. When bringing Peter to Jesus, Andrew would have never imagined how God would use Peter as his instrument to lead the Church as the first Pope! Similarly, we never know how God will use the people we bring to Jesus to build the kingdom of God. Andrew and Peter remind us that in big and small ways, our actions and in actions matter. How can each of us be more like St. Andrew?

 

Father in heaven, give us the courage to introduce our friends and family members toJesus. Give us the grace and wisdom to know when and how. Send people to us this Advent season, so they can meet Jesus and grow in their faith. St. Andrew, pray for us. Amen.

Tuesday
Community/Friendship/Unity

Prayer for my spouse: Lord, help me to care more about the needs of my spouse, rather than my own, especially in the area of…

Prayer for my children: Please help my children to have good and holy friends. I pray especially for [name a situation, particular friend, or relationship].

Prayer for my parents: Lord, please help my parents to know Your friendship in and through the people in their lives. I pray especially for [name a situation, particular friend, or relationship].

Tuesday, December 1, 2020
Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near, alleluia.

Children love playing “Hide and Seek.” It is a game filled with giggles and exclamations of joy when someone is found. At every time and in every place, God draws close to us. He calls us to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength (CCC 1). Imagine God’s delight when we seek him! Sometimes, daily life gets busy, and we don’t see the ways that God is present in our lives. How can we, as a family, be more intentional about finding the Lord this Advent?

Lord, help us to seek you this Advent season, and be near to us as we open our hearts and call on you.  Help us rejoice in your presence today and always. Amen.

Wednesday
Vocational Discernment

Prayer for my spouse: Thank you for leading me to my spouse. Lord, help me to love my spouse and see him or her through Your eyes today.

Prayer for my children: Lord, I desire my children to live their life serving you.  Help them to see the path to which you are calling them. I pray for those who will cross their path and impact their vocation (i.e., future spouse, friends, mentors, etc.).  

Prayer for my parents: Help my parents to continue to live more deeply the vocation that you have called them to. This week, I pray specifically for…

Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The law will go forth from Zion; the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

Mt. Zion is a hill in Jerusalem. Zion is associated with Jerusalem that was established by King David as the capital of Israel (2 Sam 5:7). Zion is also associated with the Temple, the dwelling place of God’s divine presence. Zion is not only a tangible city; it is also a spiritual city that has been part of a long prophecy of the coming of the Messiah and God’s plan of salvation. Woven throughout the Book of Isaiah are prophecies about great things to come – Immanuel and Zion. When God’s plan comes to fulfillment at the end of time, Isaiah prophesies that Zion will be a new city where all the people of the world will know and worship God. Israel waited in hope for both these things: the coming of the Messiah and the new Zion. Today, we are blessed because we know Jesus, but Advent gives us a chance to hope together with the Israelites of old for the ultimate fulfillment of God’s plan.

Jesus, come into our hearts and our home in a new way this Advent season. Help us to pause, to wait, and to place our hope in you. Protect and bless our family and our parish family and fill us with your everlasting joy. Amen.

Thursday, December 3, 2020
Thursday, December 3, 2020

God has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly.

The Gospel of Luke recounts the visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth. In this story, Mary prays what we now call the Magnificat, a hymn of praise that challenges us with God’s view of greatness versus the world’s view of greatness. (Luke 1:46-55). In the prayer, the mighty are cast down from their thrones, and the lowly are lifted up. The hungry are filled with good things, and the rich are sent away empty. It seems that those who have nothing have more room in their hearts to receive God. Perhaps that is why God did not announce the birth of our Savior to the rulers and religious leaders of the time, but to lowly shepherds. Sometimes, you may feel like you are not affluent, accomplished, or worthy enough to accomplish great things by the world’s standards. But in God’s eyes, you have everything you need to accomplish great things for him.

Lord, help our family do great things for you. Help us to reflect on our gifts, those great and those small, and inspire us to put them at your service especially during this Advent season. Help all that we do give you glory. Amen.

Thursday
Healing and Protection

Prayer for my spouse:  Lord, look into the heart of my spouse and heal anything that needs to be healed in him/her.  Specifically, I pray for [intention].  

Prayer for my children:  Protect [Name] physically, spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically this day.  Help him/her to know that he/she can turn to you for strength and guidance.

Prayer for my parents:  Lord, I entrust my parents to you.  I pray for their safety as well as their emotional and spiritual protection.  Take care of them in all the circumstances of their lives, including…

Friday, December 4, 2020
Friday, December 4, 2020

Out of Egypt I have called my Son; he will come to save his people.

Have you ever had to take an unexpected detour? Sometimes, detours can add a lot of time to a carefully planned road trip. After the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary had to take a significant detour in their lives to protect the baby Jesus from Herod. An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt (Matthew 2:13). They stayed there for about three years until the death of Herod. Sometimes we have to take an unexpected detour in our lives as well. Today, we are reminded that God guides us in unique and special ways according to his purpose and according to his time. Are we flexible and open to God’s plan in our lives, even if things take an unexpected turn? How can we be more trusting for his plan for our lives?

Thank you, Lord, for your unconditional love. Help us to trust in your plans for each of us. Help us rest in the words you spoke to the prophet Jeremiah: “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) Amen.

Friday
Role in the Family

Prayer for priests: Lord, I pray for Fr. [List Name here] and the important role he plays in our Spiritual Family. Give him a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit to anoint him in his ministry. Guide him to carry out Your will in all things.  

Prayer for my spouse: Help us to lead our family according to Your ways and give us the opportunity this week to model Christ’s sacrifice in the way we love one another.  

Prayer for my children: Please help me recognize the worth of [Name] and appreciate the irreplaceable role that he/she plays in our family.

Prayer for my parents: Parenthood is a sacred role. Lord, bless and strengthen my parents as they continue to carry out the role you have given them. [Insert any intentions here.]

Saturday
Natural Talents and Spiritual Gifts (Charisms)

Prayer for my spouse:  Lord, please help me to appreciate in a new way the natural talents and spiritual gifts (charisms) you have given my spouse. Today, I am particularly grateful for [name the gift].

Prayer for my children:  Lord, help my children discover their spiritual gifts (charisms) and the plan you have for their lives. Use me in whatever way You need to help nurture these gifts as they grow and mature.

Prayer for my parents:  Lord, please help my parents continue to use their natural talents and spiritual gifts (charisms) to serve You and help them to see the impact they have on other people.

Saturday, December 5, 2020
Saturday, December 5, 2020

Come to us, Lord, and may your presence be our peace; with hearts made perfect we shall rejoice in your companionship for ever.

The word peace appears over 400 times in the Bible. Biblical peace is more than just an absence of war; it represents the fullness of life including happiness, justice, and righteousness. During the pandemic, families have been spending more time together than ever, and sometimes peace in a household is fleeting. Noise, arguments, and distractions can cause a lot of tension in a family. However, God offers us a deep, inner peace that comes from being in right relationship with him.

Lord, help us find our peace in you. At times when we struggle to find that peace, may we remember these words from St. Teresa of Avila: “Let nothing disturb you, Let nothing frighten you, All things are passing away: God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices.” Amen.

[Share the sign of peace as a family.]

Sunday, December 6, 2020
Sunday, December 6, 2020

Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary, for your great faith; all that the Lord promised you will come to pass through you, alleluia.

Faith is both a gift from God and a human act by which we respond to God (CCC 142-143). Consider the faith of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This simple, poor Jewish girl had enough faith and trust in God to say yes to a plan about which she had no details or guarantees. Mary’s faith is a model for our own faith. How can each of us grow in our faith in God during this Advent season? How can the lived faith of our family be a witness to others?

Blessed Mother, pray for each member of our family to grow in faith and to trust in God’s plans for our lives more deeply. Help us to be more like you so that we can bring Jesus into the world in which we live. Amen.

Monday, December 7, 2020
Monday, December 7, 2020

All generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me.

Today’s Evening Antiphon highlights another part of Mary’s Magnificat. The Magnificat contains themes and imagery from the Old Testament and closely resembles the Song of Hannah from 1 Sam 2:1-10. Both Hannah and Mary are mothers rejoicing at the birth of an unexpected child. The Almighty has done great things for them! Hannah, who will give birth to the prophet Samuel, praises God that he has seen fit to end the curse of her barrenness, while Mary glorifies the Lord because he has chosen her to bear the promised Messiah. God does many great things in our lives! Today, take some time to reflect on the great things that the Almighty God has done for your family.

Almighty and ever-living God, you are good and merciful, and we thank you for all the great things you have done for our family, especially [invite family members to name some specific things]. Help us to continue to see your hand at work in our lives. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Hail Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, alleluia.

Because the Hail Mary prayer is so familiar to us, it can be easy to say the words without thinking about their meaning. Today’s feast day invites us to reflect on the phrase, “full of grace.” The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception celebrates the special way in which Mary was conceived: without sin from the moment of her conception. That is why the angel greets her with this title “full of grace.”  It indicates that God has “graced” Mary in preparation for her womb to be filled with divine life. No sin would touch her, so that she would be a fitting and worthy vessel of the Son of God. Although we are not sinless like our Blessed Mother, God has provided a way for us to root out sin and become holy through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Consider going to confession during the Advent Season.

Loving Father, help us to set aside our sinful ways and accept the graces of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Make our hearts a holy place in which to receive Jesus anew.  Mother Mary, we ask you to bring us closer to your Son Jesus as we pray, Hail Mary…

Wednesday, December 9, 2020
Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Zion, you will be renewed, and you will see the Just One who is coming to you.

Jesus, the Just One, is coming to you. During Advent, we prepare for Christ’s coming at Christmas. It’s not just about remembering the baby born in a manger; it’s about preparing our hearts to be a dwelling place for him and welcoming him anew. Consider this God’s RSVP. He is promising to come to you through Jesus. What does your family need to do to get ready for his coming?  

Come, Lord Jesus, come. Prepare our hearts to receive you. We desire for you to be with us more fully, and we desire to live with greater freedom and peace. Help us to remember the reason for the season and we look forward with joyful anticipation to Christmas. Amen.

Thursday, December 10, 2020
Thursday, December 10, 2020

The one who is coming after me existed before me; I am not worthy to untie his sandals.

Today’s Evening Antiphon comes from the preaching of John the Baptist. John was called to help prepare the people for the coming of Jesus. He is trying to get the Israelites (and us) to realize the greatness of Jesus. In first-century Palestine, everyone wore sandals, and the roads were filled with mud and animal waste. As you can imagine, people’s feet got pretty dirty! Washing another person's feet was considered the work of the lowliest servants. Think about how great Jesus must be that John feels unworthy to untie his sandals. Take a moment to reflect on the greatness of Jesus and share your thoughts with each other.

Father, thank you for the message of John the Baptist which invites us to reflect on the greatness of your Son, Jesus. Although we can’t see Jesus in person, we know that he lives and reigns with you in heaven and that he is with us always. Help us to get to know him more and strengthen our friendship with him.  We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Friday, December 11, 2020
Friday, December 11, 2020

Rejoicing you shall draw water from the well-springs of the Savior.

Philippians 4:4 reminds us, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!” Sometimes, it can be difficult to find delight in our lives, but the more we find reasons to rejoice—the easier it becomes. Even when we feel discouraged, God is there, and we can praise him for that. An “attitude of gratitude” is the best antidote to discouragement because it lifts our spirits and helps us to acknowledge who God is and what he has done for us. Does our family rejoice in what is good or tend to focus on what is bad?

We praise you, God, and we adore you. We rejoice in the blessings you have bestowed on our lives this week especially [name specific things here]. Protect us from discouragement and remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy. Amen.

Saturday, December 12, 2020
Saturday, December 12, 2020

There is no god before me and after me there will be none; every knee shall bend in worship, and every tongue shall praise me.

Today’s antiphon reminds us that there is only one true God, which is fitting for today’s feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This feast recalls and celebrates a series of Marian apparitions to Juan Diego in Mexico City, which resulted in the conversion of millions of Aztec people to Christ. In the apparitions, Mary was dressed in the traditional clothing of the Aztec people, using symbolism that would help them easily know that her Son, Jesus, was truly God. Take a few moments to reflect on the fact that Jesus is truly God. In the silence of your heart, praise him.

Lord Jesus, help us to always remember that you are God. We put our family under your Lordship and ask that you be the center of our family. We praise you, thank you and adore you. Amen.

Sunday, December 13, 2020
Sunday, December 13, 2020

Are you the One whose coming was foretold, or should we look for another? Tell John what you see: the blind have their sight restored, the dead are raised to life, the poor have the good news preached to them, alleluia. 

Today’s antiphon comes to us from Matthew 11. John the Baptist is imprisoned and is starting to question Jesus’ identity. So, John sends his disciples to Jesus to ask if he is the Messiah that Israel has been waiting for. Jesus’ response is taken from an Old Testament prophecy about what the Messiah will be like: the blind regain their sight, the dead are raised to life, and the poor have the good news preached to them. Have you, like John the Baptist, ever doubted or questioned God? If so, share this with your family.

 LordJesus, increase our faith and trust in you. Help our unbelief when things don’t go as we expect. When we have questions or doubts, send your Holy Spirit to teach us and send friends and family to help us work through our questions.

We ask this in your most Holy Name, Amen.

Monday, December 14, 2020
Monday, December 14, 2020

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

Today’s antiphon is taken from the very beginning of the Magnificat. Mary is overwhelmed that God has chosen her to be the mother of his Son. Out of all the people in the whole world, she was chosen to help carry out God’s plan of salvation. There are over seven billion people on the planet earth.Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that God knows each of us individually and intimately, and that we too are chosen to carry out some small part of God’s plan of salvation. Take a moment to reflect on the greatness of the Lord and how he might be inviting you to serve him.

 We praise you, Lord, for you are good. We come to you in thanksgiving for all the gifts and talents you have bestowed on our family. Reveal to each of us how we can better serve you during this season of Advent and beyond. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020
Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Before Mary and Joseph had come together, they learned that Mary was with child by the power of the Holy Spirit, alleluia.

St. Joseph exhibited heroic patience, courage, and fortitude throughout his life. Imagine his reaction when he found out that Mary was pregnant! He must have felt some anxiety and uncertainty, but when told by the angel "Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife," (Mt 1:20) he courageously obeyed. St. Joseph did not demand to know the full plan laid out step-by-step before God's chosen time. He trusted in God, and faithfully carried out his role as the head of the Holy Family.

St. Joseph, pray for our family. Help us to grow in the virtues of patience, courage, and fortitude. Help us to imitate you especially in times of anxiety and uncertainty. Pray that, in this Advent season, we may grow as joyful missionary disciples of Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Wednesday, December 16, 2020

You, O Lord, are the One whose coming was foretold; we long for you to come and set your people free.

The longer you have to wait for something, the more you will appreciate it. Our day-to-day lives are filled with countless examples of this saying. Whether it’s a holiday or a family vacation, there is joy and excitement in the anticipation of a good thing to come. As Christians, we live in hope of the promises of God. St. Paul teaches us that no eye has seen, ear has heard, or human heart has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him. (1 Cor 2:9) As we grow in friendship with Jesus and live in the power of the Holy Spirit, we experience a greater freedom from the things that drag us down and cause us to sin.

Lord, we long to be in a deeper relationship with you and for the Holy Spirit to work in our lives more and more each day.  Renew in us the virtue of hope and give us the grace to live free from sin. Help us to grow in friendship with you. Amen.

Thursday, December 17, 2020
Thursday, December 17, 2020

O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care. Come and show your people the way to salvation.

As we enter into the final days of the Advent season, we will pray the O Antiphons and reflect on Sacred Scripture for our family prayer. Each of the O Antiphons highlights a title for the Messiah that was foretold by the prophet Isaiah.  We hear these titles during Advent when we sing the hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”

In the Old Testament, wisdom is represented as if it were a real person and given attributes that remind us of God: intelligent, holy, all-powerful, all-seeing, the breath of the might of God, the reflection of eternal light, etc. (Wisdom 7:22-30) This is a foreshadowing of Jesus, the eternal Word of God. St. Paul calls Jesus the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:24). Let us reflect today on Jesus’ power and wisdom with the passage below.

Let us pray - Isaiah had prophesied,
The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him:
a spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
a spirit of counsel and of strength,
a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord,
and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord,
and Wonderful is His counsel and great is His wisdom. (Isaiah 11:2-3, 28:29).

[Sing]
Come, O Wisdom from on high,
who orders all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in the way to go.
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel. Shall come to you O Israel.

Friday, December 18, 2020
Friday, December 18, 2020

O sacred Lord of ancient Israel, who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain: come stretch out your mighty hand to set us free.

With this second antiphon we reflect on the familiar story of God manifesting himself by name (“Yahweh”) to Moses and giving his law to Israel as their way of life. "Adonai" is Hebrew for "my Lord," and was substituted by devout Jews for the name "Yahweh", out of reverence. We are also reminded of the Israelites' deliverance from bondage under pharaoh a foreshadowing of our own redemption from sin. Just as Moses saved the Israelites from slavery and led them through water to freedom, Jesus saves us from sin and leads us through the waters of baptism to eternal life.

Let us pray - Isaiah had prophesied,
But He shall judge the poor with justice,
and decide aright for the lands afflicted.
He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
Justice shall be the band around his waist,
and faithfulness a belt upon his hips;
and indeed the Lord will be there with us,
majestic; yes the Lord our judge,
the Lord our lawgiver, the Lord our king,
he it is who will save us. (Isaiah 11:4-5; 33:22).

[Sing]
O Come, O come, great Lord of might,
who to your tribes on Sinai’s height,
in ancient times did give the law
in cloud and majesty and awe.

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel. Shall come to you O Israel.

Saturday, December 19, 2020
Saturday, December 19, 2020

O Flower of Jesse's stem, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.

Jesus was a descendant of Jesse, father of King David. The Flower of Jesse’s stem points to Isaiah’s prophesy of restoration of David's throne, a new branch budding out of the old root. The angel foretold to Mary, "The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. He will rule over the house of Jacob forever and his reign will be without end." (Luke 1:32-33) Our hearts more and more urgently cry out for God's reign to extend over all humanity: Come, save us, and do not delay.

Let us pray - Isaiah had prophesied,
But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom,
and on that day, the root of Jesse,
set up as a signal for the nations,
the Gentiles shall seek out,
for his dwelling shall be glorious. (Isaiah 11:1,10)

[Sing]
O Come, O Branch of Jesse's stem,
unto your own and rescue them!
From depths of hell your people save,
and give them victory o'er the grave.

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel. Shall come to you O Israel.

Sunday, December 20, 2020
Sunday, December 20, 2020

O Key of David, O royal Power of Israel controlling at your will the gate of heaven: come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead your captive people into freedom.

A key is a symbol of kingly power and authority. Christ, the anointed one, is the heir of David and possessor of the kingdom. All power and authority was given to Jesus after the resurrection, and he entrusted the keys to the kingdom of heaven to Peter and the ministers of his Church. Jesus, through the ministry of the Church, frees us from sin and leads us to eternal life.

Let us pray - Isaiah had prophesied,
I will place the Key of the House of David on His shoulder;
when he opens, no one will shut,
when he shuts, no one will open,
and His dominion is vast and forever peaceful,
from David’s throne, and over His kingdom,
which he confirms and sustains
by judgment and justice,
both now and forever. (Isaiah 22:22; 9:6)

[Sing]
O come, O Key of David, come
and open wide our heavenly home.
Make safe for us the heavenward road
and bar the way to death's abode.

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel. Shall come to you O Israel.

Monday, December 21, 2020
Monday, December 21, 2020

O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

This title for the Messiah is variously translated "morning star", "Dayspring", "rising sun", or "radiant dawn". All beautifully express the idea of light shattering the darkness of night, of sin and death, of sickness and despair, with its brightness bringing healing and warmth to cold hearts. In winter, darkness seems to come earlier and earlier each night. Today is the winter solstice and the darkest day of the year. Yet, as people of faith, we look to a light even greater than the sun. Jesus, the Son of God, is indeed the true light, the radiance of his Father's splendor.

Let us pray - Isaiah had prophesied,
he people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shown. (9:1)

[Sing]
O come, O Bright and Morning Star,
and bring us comfort from afar!
Dispel the shadows of the night
and turn our darkness into light.

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel. Shall come to you O Israel.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020
Tuesday, December 22, 2020

O king of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of man, come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust.

This sixth antiphon clearly addresses the Savior as the king of all the nations, including our own. A keystone is a central stone at the top of an arch, locking the whole structure together. Jesus is the keystone (or cornerstone) that unites all believers together. This antiphon is a plea that God save all humanity, all his creation that he formed from the dust of the earth (Gen.2:7). We yearn for Jesus to heal any divisions in our families and in our nation and breathe the breath of his new life into us.

Let us pray - Isaiah had prophesied,
For a child is born to us,
a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests.
They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero,
Father-Forever, Prince of Peace,
and He shall judge between the nations,
and impose terms on many peoples.
They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
one nation shall not raise the sword against,
nor shall they train for war again. (Isaiah 9:5, 2:4)

[Sing]
O come, O King of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind.
Bid all our sad divisions cease
and be yourself our King of Peace.

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel. Shall come to you O Israel.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020
Wednesday, December 23, 2020

O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God.

With this last antiphon we anticipate the fulfillment of God’s promises. We call Jesus by one of the most personal and intimate of his titles, Emmanuel, God-with-us. We recall that through the Virgin Mary, God takes on our very flesh and human nature. God is coming nearer to us than we could have ever imagined! Yet he is also to be exalted above us as our king, the lawgiver and judge, the one whom we honor and obey. And he is our Savior, long-expected by all creation. The final cry rises from our hearts, recognizing our need for Jesus and our desire to draw closer to him.

Let us pray - Isaiah had prophesied,
The Lord himself will give you this sign:
the Virgin shall be with child, and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

[Sing]

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel. Shall come to you O Israel.

Note: O Antiphon reflections adapted from https://www.catholiceducation.org/en/culture/catholic-contributions/what-are-the.html