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Working Papers or "Veniam Pro Laudo Peto"
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Saint Luke's Christmas narrative

Thursday, December 23, 2004
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May you and all those in your life have a truely blessed Christmas this year and may the Christ Child come to dwell in your heart and mind. May love and truth fill you through the Holy Spirit and may Our Lady keep you and all under her mantle of love and grace. The narrative from St. Luke is posted below for you to read and meditate on. Merry Christmas!
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The Gospel of Saint Luke
Chapter 1


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1 Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us,
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just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us,
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I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus,
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so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.
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2 In the days of Herod, King of Judea, 3 there was a priest named Zechariah of the priestly division of Abijah; his wife was from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
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Both were righteous in the eyes of God, observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly.
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But they had no child, 4 because Elizabeth was barren and both were advanced in years.
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Once when he was serving as priest in his division's turn before God,
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according to the practice of the priestly service, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense.
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Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside at the hour of the incense offering,
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the angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right of the altar of incense.
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Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him.
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But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, 5 Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John.
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And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth,
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for he will be great in the sight of (the) Lord. He will drink neither wine nor strong drink. 6 He will be filled with the holy Spirit even from his mother's womb,
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and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.
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He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah 7 to turn the hearts of fathers toward children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord."
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Then Zechariah said to the angel, "How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years."
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And the angel said to him in reply, "I am Gabriel, 8 who stand before God. I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news.
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But now you will be speechless and unable to talk 9 until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time."
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Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah and were amazed that he stayed so long in the sanctuary.
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But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He was gesturing to them but remained mute.
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Then, when his days of ministry were completed, he went home.
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After this time his wife Elizabeth conceived, and she went into seclusion for five months, saying,
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"So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit to take away my disgrace before others."
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10 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
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to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary.
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And coming to her, he said, "Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you."
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But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
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Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
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Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.
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He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, 11 and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
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and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."
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But Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?" 12
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And the angel said to her in reply, "The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.
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And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived 13 a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
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for nothing will be impossible for God."
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Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.
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During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah,
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where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
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When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit,
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cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
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And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord 14 should come to me?
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For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
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Blessed are you who believed 15 that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled."
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And Mary said: 16 "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
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my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
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For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.
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The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
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His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him.
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He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.
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He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly.
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The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty.
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He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy,
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according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever."
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Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.
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17 When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son.
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Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her.
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18 When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
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but his mother said in reply, "No. He will be called John."
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But they answered her, "There is no one among your relatives who has this name."
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So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
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He asked for a tablet and wrote, "John is his name," and all were amazed.
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Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God.
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Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea.
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All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, "What, then, will this child be?" For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.
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Then Zechariah his father, filled with the holy Spirit, prophesied, saying:
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19 "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has visited and brought redemption to his people.
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20 He has raised up a horn for our salvation within the house of David his servant,
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even as he promised through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old:
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salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us,
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to show mercy to our fathers and to be mindful of his holy covenant
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and of the oath he swore to Abraham our father, and to grant us that,
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rescued from the hand of enemies, without fear we might worship him
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in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
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And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord 21 to prepare his ways,
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to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins,
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because of the tender mercy of our God by which the daybreak from on high 22 will visit us
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to shine on those who sit in darkness and death's shadow, to guide our feet into the path of peace."
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The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel.

The Gospel ofSaint Luke
Chapter 2


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1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus 2 that the whole world should be enrolled.
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This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
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So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.
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And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,
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to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
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While they were there, the time came for her to have her child,
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and she gave birth to her firstborn son. 3 She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
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4 Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock.
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The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear.
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The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
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5 For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.
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And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger."
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And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:
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6 "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."
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When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us."
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So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger.
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When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child.
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All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds.
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And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.
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Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.
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When eight days were completed for his circumcision, 7 he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
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8 When the days were completed for their purification 9 according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord,
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just as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,"
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and to offer the sacrifice of "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons," in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.
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Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, 10 and the holy Spirit was upon him.
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It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord.
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He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
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he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:
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"Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word,
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for my eyes have seen your salvation,
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which you prepared in sight of all the peoples,
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a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel."
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The child's father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
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and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted
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(and you yourself a sword will pierce) 11 so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
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There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
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and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
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And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.
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When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.
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The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
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    12/23/2004 08:23:00 PM :: ::
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