Archives for the month of: December, 2017

In the Gospel for the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the parents of Jesus present their child at the Temple in Jerusalem.  Simeon welcomed them, took the child in his arms, and blessed God.  “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel”(Luke 2: 30).  Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Simeon recognized the child Jesus as the Son of God.  My eyesight isn’t as good.  I struggle to recognize difficult people as sons and daughters of God.  Know-it-all’s, complainer’s, sad sack’s, too-good-for-you’s, negative ninny’s, and other difficult people are my brothers and sisters in Christ.  I can be difficult too.  The glory of God shines through us all.  The presence of our loving God dwells in us and among us.  Loving others as children of God is our saving grace.  How do recognize Jesus in the difficult people in your life?

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In the Gospel for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, the Angel Gabriel announces the birth of Jesus to Mary.  ” ‘Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.’  But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.  Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus’ ” (Luke 1: 28-31).  Mary of Nazareth was a teenage girl from a small rural village.  No one would have expected her to give birth to the Son of God.  Yet God chose her.  Filled with the grace of God, she responded wholeheartedly.  With the grace of God, all things are possible.  By Baptism in the Holy Spirit, Christians are full of God’s grace.  We are not always as open to the power of God’s grace as Mary was.  How do you close your heart to God’s grace?  How do you open it?

 

 

 

 

 

In the Gospel for the Third Sunday of Advent, God sends John the Baptist to announce Jesus as the Messiah.   Questioned by the priests and Levites about his identity, John answers, “I am ‘the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.” (John 1: 23).  John the Baptist is the forerunner of the Messiah, not the Messiah.  Jesus, the one who comes after him, is the Messiah.  I admire the humility of John the Baptist.  He faithfully accepts his call to announce the coming of the Messiah.  I am tempted to claim myself as the Messiah.  I want all the credit for the good things I do.  I often remind my wife how much I do for her.  I forget that any good thing I do comes ultimately from God.  Like John the Baptist, Christian disciples point to Jesus.  We announce God with us when we give God the credit for the good things we do.  We know our love for others comes from God’s love for us.  How do you announce God’s love for you?

 

 

 

 

In the Gospel for the Second Sunday of Advent, John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus.  As Isaiah prophesied, ” ‘Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way.  A voice of one crying out in the desert: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.’  [Then] John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Mark 1: 2-4).  John prepared the way for Jesus.  He baptized those willing to change their ways and accept God’s loving forgiveness.  Everyone has regrets for wrong turns in their lives, for broken  relationships.  Jesus wants us to try to straighten those life curves and crooked relationships.  I have been feeling bad for years about berating my oldest son, now a young adult, for breaking a jar of olive oil he was helping me unload from the car.  It was an accident.  He did not deserve a scolding.  I called him last week to tell him I was sorry.  How can you make straight a crooked relationship in your life?