Meditations: Advent

Jesus Cares About the Details Wednesday of the First Week of Advent Jesus summoned his disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, for they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, for fear they may collapse on the way.” Matthew 15:32 The first thing this passage reveals could easily be missed. It reveals Jesus’ deep concern for the crowds of people. He not only cared for their souls, He also cared for their bodies in that He did not want them to go away hungry. This reveals Jesus’ total care for His followers. We know the rest of the story. Jesus multiplies the loaves and fish and feeds the multitude. And though this is an incredible miracle on a physical level, it is just as miraculous on a personal and spiritual level. Personally speaking, the miracle is that God, the Almighty, the Omnipotent One is deeply concerned about the small detail of feeding the crowd their next meal. This reveals that God is not only concerned for our eternal salvation, He is also con- cerned about our daily needs. Note that the passage quotes Jesus as saying, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd…” And “I do not want to send them away hungry…” This very personal and human concern of Jesus should offer us great comfort in knowing that His care is deep and exhaustive. The concern Jesus has for the physical need of food for His followers also points to His spiritual con- cern for His followers’ souls. If He cares this much about the body, He cares all the more for the soul and deeply desires to nourish their souls with the food of eternal life. Reflect, today, upon Jesus’ deep and all-consuming care for you. Know that there is no detail of your life that escapes His notice. Though that may be hard to believe at times, know that it is absolutely true! Surrender all to Him in trust and know that He is there to reach out to you in your every need. Lord, thank You for Your unfailing and perfect concern for every detail of my life. Thank You for Your perfect attentiveness to my needs. May I always trust in Your perfect care for me and surrender to Your loving provi- dence. Jesus, I trust in You

Meditations: Advent

Humility Before the Mystery of Faith Tuesday of the First Week of Advent “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.” Luke 10:21b So are you “wise and learned” or “childlike?” Which better describes your life? At first, that question may be hard to answer. If we didn’t know that Jesus elevated the quality of being childlike, we may be drawn to call ourselves wise and learned. Of course there is nothing wrong with being wise or learned. The problem comes with what these qualities mean in the mind of Jesus. Jesus uses them to refer to those who think highly of them- selves, are a bit pompous and are what you might call “know-it-alls.” The sad truth is that a “know-it-all” does not actu- ally know it all. They actually fool only them- selves. The ideal is to be like a child in that a child is open to learn in a humble way, at least most of the time. This childlike quality of humility and openness disposes us to receive the true wisdom from above. Jesus gives praise to the Father for hiding the mys- teries of faith from the wise and learned while re- vealing them to the childlike. This is especially important to reflect on as we enter into Advent. Advent is a time when we need childlike faith and openness to understand and penetrate the beautiful mysteries of the Incarnation. Without this humble openness we will never fully understand the won- derful gift of God this Christmas. Reflect, today, upon the openness within your heart. Are you ready and willing to soak in the great mysteries of God who came to make His dwelling place with us and within us? Are you will- ing to embrace that childlike faith necessary to penetrate the great mysteries of our faith? If so, it will be a wonderful Advent and Christmas. Lord, give me the simple and humble faith of a child. Help me to see You as You are and to allow Your pres- ence in our world to penetrate my life. Jesus, I trust in You

Meditations: 1st Week of Advent

Faith in the Most Holy Eucharist Monday of the First Week of Advent “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” Mt. 8:8 This familiar line is taken from the faith of a Roman centurion. He asked Jesus to heal his servant, Jesus agrees to come cure him, and the centurion exclaims this profound faith in Jesus stating two things: 1) He’s not worthy of Jesus’ presence in his home and, 2) His confidence that Jesus can heal his servant simply by saying the word. Jesus, of course, is quite impressed with this man’s faith and obliges him with the physical healing of his servant from a distance. But Jesus does much more than a healing. He also holds this man up as a model of faith for all. This beautiful statement of faith from the centurion is used within the Mass to speak of two matters of faith in regard to the Eucharist: 1) We are not wor- thy to receive Holy Communion and, 2) We invite Jesus anyway to come and heal our souls. Advent is a time when we especially ponder the great mystery of the Incarnation. It’s a time when we especially ponder the mystery of God coming and dwelling with us in physical form. Though this happened over two thousand years ago, it con- tinues to take place at each and every Mass. And at each and every Mass we are called to express the same faith as this Roman centurion.

Reflect, today, upon your faith in the coming of Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist. Each Mass is a manifestation of the God-Man who came to live among us and live within us. If we but have the faith of this centurion, we, too, will be blessed by our God beyond measure. Lord, I do believe. Help my unbelief. Help me to see my unworthiness each time I prepare for Holy Communion. And in that humble admission, may I also invite Your healing presence in my life. Jesus, I trust in You.

James

James studied theology with Saint John of Capistrano. Ordained in 1420, James began a preaching career that took him all over Italy and through 13 Central and Eastern European countries. This extremely popular preacher converted many people–250,000 at one estimate–and helped spread devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. His sermons prompted numerous Catholics to reform their lives, and many men joined the Franciscans under his influence.

With John of Capistrano, Albert of Sarteano, and Bernardine of Siena, James is considered one of the “four pillars” of the Observant movement among the Franciscans. These friars became known especially for their preaching.

To combat extremely high interest rates, James established montes pietatis—literally, mountains of charity—nonprofit credit organizations that lent money on pawned objects at very low rates.

Not everyone was happy with the work James did. Twice assassins lost their nerve when they came face to face with him. James died in 1476, and was canonized in 1726.

Daily Reading

READING OF THE DAY

First reading from the Book of the prophet Isaiah
Is 2:1-5

This is what Isaiah, son of Amoz,
saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
In days to come,
the mountain of the LORD\’s house
shall be established as the highest mountain
and raised above the hills.
All nations shall stream toward it;
many peoples shall come and say:
\”Come, let us climb the LORD\’s mountain,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may instruct us in his ways,
and we may walk in his paths.\”
For from Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
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 another,
nor shall they train for war again.
O house of Jacob, come,
let us walk in the light of the Lord!

Second reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans
Rom 13:11-14

Brothers and sisters:
You know the time;
it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.
For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed;
the night is advanced, the day is at hand.
Let us then throw off the works of darkness
and put on the armor of light;
let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day,
not in orgies and drunkenness,
not in promiscuity and lust,
not in rivalry and jealousy.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.

GOSPEL OF THE DAY

From the Gospel according to Matthew
Mt 24:37-44

Jesus said to his disciples:
\”As it was in the days of Noah,
so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
In those days before the flood,
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage,
up to the day that Noah entered the ark.
They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away.
So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man.
Two men will be out in the field;
one will be taken, and one will be left.
Two women will be grinding at the mill;
one will be taken, and one will be left.
Therefore, stay awake!
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
Be sure of this: if the master of the house
had known the hour of night when the thief was coming,
he would have stayed awake
and not let his house be broken into.
So too, you also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.\”

WORDS OF THE HOLY FATHER

Today Advent begins, the liturgical time which prepares us for Christmas, inviting us to lift our gaze and open our hearts to welcome Jesus. During Advent we do not just live in anticipation of Christmas; we are also called to rekindle the anticipation of the glorious return of Christ — when he will return at the end of time — preparing ourselves, with consistent and courageous choices, for the final encounter with him. We remember Christmas, we await the glorious return of Christ, and also our personal encounter: the day in which the Lord will call. During these four weeks we are called to leave behind a resigned and routine way of life and to go forth, nourishing hope, nourishing dreams for a new future. (Angelus, 2 December 2018)

Unity in the Body | Gifts of the Spirit | Holy Character

Unity in the Body
As ambassadors for the Lord urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received with all humility and gentleness with patience bearing with one another through love striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace 
one body and one Spirit as you were also called to the one hope of your call
one Lord one faith one baptism 
one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

Diversity of Gifts
But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
Therefore it says:
He ascended on high and took prisoners captive he gave gifts to humanity 
What does he ascended mean except that he also descended into the lower regions of the earth. The one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens that he might fill all things. 
And he gave some as apostles others as prophets others as evangelists others as pastors and teachers: to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry for building up the body of Christ. Until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God to mature manhood to the extent of the full stature of Christ. So that we may no longer be infants tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming.
Rather living the truth in love we should grow in every way into him who is the head Christ
from whom the whole body joined and held together by every supporting ligament with the proper functioning of each part brings about the body’s growth and builds itself up in love.

Renewal in Christ
So I declare and testify in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do in the futility of their minds.
darkened in understanding alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance because of their hardness of heart
they have become callous and have handed themselves over to licentiousness for the practice of every kind of impurity to excess.
That is not how you learned Christ
assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him as truth is in Jesus
that you should put away the old self of your former way of life corrupted through deceitful desires and be renewed in the spirit of your mindsand put on the new self created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.s

Daily Conduct an Expression of Unity
Rules for the New Life

Therefore putting away falsehood speak the truth each one to his neighbor for we are members one of another. Be angry but do not sin u do not let the sun set on your anger and do not leave room for the devil. The thief must no longer steal but rather labor doing honest work with his own hands so that he may have something to share with one in need. No foul language should come out of your mouths but only such as is good for needed edification that it may impart grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the holy Spirit of God with which you were sealed for the day of redemption
All bitterness fury anger shouting and reviling must be removed from you along with all malice. And be kind to one another compassionate forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.—(Ephesians 4)

Daily Reading

Saturday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 RV 22:1-7

John said:
An angel showed me the river of life-giving water,
sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God
and of the Lamb down the middle of the street,
On either side of the river grew the tree of life
that produces fruit twelve times a year, once each month;
the leaves of the trees serve as medicine for the nations.
Nothing accursed will be found anymore.
The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it,
and his servants will worship him.
They will look upon his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
Night will be no more, nor will they need light from lamp or sun,
for the Lord God shall give them light,
and they shall reign forever and ever.

And he said to me,
“These words are trustworthy and true, 
and the Lord, the God of prophetic spirits,
sent his angel to show his servants what must happen soon.”
“Behold, I am coming soon.”
Blessed is the one who keeps the prophetic message of this book.

Responsorial Psalm PS 95:1-2, 3-5, 6-7AB 

R. (1 Cor 16: 22b, see Rev. 22: 20c) Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus!
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R. Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus!
For the LORD is a great God,
and a great king above all gods;
In his hands are the depths of the earth,
and the tops of the mountains are his.
His is the sea, for he has made it,
and the dry land, which his hands have formed.
R. Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus!
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus!

Alleluia LK 21:36

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Be vigilant at all times and pray
that you may have the strength to stand before the Son of Man.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 21:34-36

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand before the Son of Man.”