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Las Posadas

December 16, 2013

 

Reflection

 

St. Agatha Catholic Church is a beautiful spirit-filled community represented by many cultures. The Hispanic community represents a very large portion of our church. Traditionally, each year, beginning on December 16 the Hispanic community celebrates and re-enacts an over 400 year old tradition called “Las Posadas”. “Posadas”, a Spanish word that means “shelter or lodging” is an advent custom originated in Mexico. It re-enacts Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging and their difficult journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem because of the census ordered by King Herod. The Posadas takes place over a period of 9 days, Dec. 16-24, which symbolizes the nine months of Mary’s pregnancy.  Each night, one family agrees to house the pilgrims. At dusk, a procession of the faithful takes to the streets carrying candles, religious articles and statues. The group representing the Holy Family stands outside a series of houses, singing songs and asking for lodging. They are refused time and again until the group reaches the designated house. Finally, the travelers are permitted to enter. Singing and prayer, including the rosary, continue in the home and delicious food is shared by all.  Some communities even have a “piñata” for the children to enjoy. The tradition continues each evening with a different house as the chosen “Posada”. On the last night, the festivities usually end with mass on Christmas Eve. The nine days of “Las Posadas” is more than just a party or a commitment to continue an age-old tradition.  It is meant to deepen our faith, strengthen our Christian community, and help us to remember what the advent season is really all about.

 

Thought Questions

 

What tradition have you developed within your family to deepen your faith and help you remember the “Reason for the Season”?

 

With only 9 days left have you become so distracted with holiday parties, decorating and last minute shopping that you haven’t really spent any time reflecting on your “Advent journey”?

 

What new Advent tradition has God “birthed” in your heart?

 

Prayer

 

Dear Heavenly Father, during this season of parties and last minute holiday shopping, please help us not to be distracted and to focus on the real reason for the season: the birth of your precious Son, Jesus Christ!  Holy Spirit, please anoint us, change us, help us to be organized and use our time wisely.  Wake us up early and minister to us an anointed direction for the day that is not focused on material things, but on a unique, Godly and divinely appointed purpose that brings glory and honor to you!  Amen, Amen and Amen!

 

By Joanne and Herb Lombard

 

 

Readings

 

Reading 1 NM 24:2-7, 15-17A

 

When Balaam raised his eyes and saw Israel encamped, tribe by tribe,
the spirit of God came upon him,
and he gave voice to his oracle:

The utterance of Balaam, son of Beor,
the utterance of a man whose eye is true,
The utterance of one who hears what God says,
and knows what the Most High knows,
Of one who sees what the Almighty sees,
enraptured, and with eyes unveiled:
How goodly are your tents, O Jacob;
your encampments, O Israel!
They are like gardens beside a stream,
like the cedars planted by the LORD.
His wells shall yield free-flowing waters,
he shall have the sea within reach;
His king shall rise higher,
and his royalty shall be exalted.

Then Balaam gave voice to his oracle:

The utterance of Balaam, son of Beor,
the utterance of the man whose eye is true,
The utterance of one who hears what God says,
and knows what the Most High knows,
Of one who sees what the Almighty sees,
enraptured, and with eyes unveiled.
I see him, though not now;
I behold him, though not near:
A star shall advance from Jacob,
and a staff shall rise from Israel.

 

Responsorial Psalm PS 25:4-5AB, 6 AND 7BC, 8-9

 

R. (4) Teach me your ways, O Lord.


Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.
R. Teach me your ways, O Lord.
Remember that your compassion, O LORD,
and your kindness are from of old.
In your kindness remember me,
because of your goodness, O LORD.

Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way..

 

Gospel MT 21:23-27

 

When Jesus had come into the temple area,
the chief priests and the elders of the people approached him
as he was teaching and said,
“By what authority are you doing these things? 
And who gave you this authority?” 
Jesus said to them in reply,
“I shall ask you one question, and if you answer it for me,
then I shall tell you by what authority I do these things. 
Where was John’s baptism from?
Was it of heavenly or of human origin?” 
They discussed this among themselves and said,
“If we say ‘Of heavenly origin,’ he will say to us,
‘Then why did you not believe him?’ 
But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we fear the crowd,
for they all regard John as a prophet.” 
So they said to Jesus in reply, “We do not know.” 
He himself said to them,
“Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Tags: pinata, tradition, joseph and mary, lodging, december 16, advent retreat, advent, posadas, las posadas

Comments

Victor  |  Puebla, Mexico  |  December 16, 2013  |  9:44 PM

Someday, few years ago, I was preparing some chatechists for Christmas time. We studied some bible quotations, we prayed, we shared experiences, within a spiritual retire where all those benevolent women at the end of this wanted to give their lives for the gospel. Everything seemed so right, so peaceful, so beautiful that it was impossible not to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit. However, before saying good bye to all of them. I asked a favor: "Ladies, excuse me please! just for a sencond, I appreciate all your work and experiences you shared that I would not like to tell you this but I am concerned about something" "Tell us, please! do not hesitate to do it" - a woman say- "Ok, few minutes ago, while you where praying, a woman knocked the door to ask for food and a place to rest. So I fed her and now she is resting in my bed. I would like to take her with me but it is impossible due to she is sick, injured and tired; and, as you know, me as missioner, I can not stop, I am always moving from one place to another. I just wonder if someone of you could look after her. She is so helpless."  At that moment, a silence surrounded the whole room. Nobody took the risk. Then I begged them to consider the circumstances of this old woman. So, the oldest and poorest woman in the retired said: "me" I replied: Do you? But have you consider that this woman is sick?" " I do not care, I will" - She replied- but this time her voice was clear and it showed a real decision. Everybody, tried to persuaded her not to do it while I went into my room just to call the woman who, to be honest, was not real. It was an image of Maria. When I entered to the room where all women were trying to persuade the old woman, everybody looked at me and when they realized who was the real woman, a silence again surronded the room, their tears rolling through their cheeks were an evidence of their shame. Finally, I let you reflect on how many times you not only do not accept to Jesus, Maria and Jose in your home but you make others no to do it. Amen


Fr. Bill  |  LA  |  December 16, 2013  |  12:32 PM

"Seeking refuge" (the story of the Posadas) might be the best definition of human life! We all seek refuge in some way. We all need a port when life's storms assail us. Tonight, remember, is our penance service--an opportunity to make our souls a bit more "in tune" with the Lord of Refuge, the God of all Refugees. For HE, is ultimately, the only "port" that is truly calm in a very turbulent sea. I hope you join me in our common act of penance and our common thanksgiving for God's mercy, at 7 PM.


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