This Christmas, bring that little bit of Jesus you carry in your heart wherever he directs you. Find out what's needed, and find a way to help.
-from A Mary Christmas
†"We know certainly that our God calls us to a holy life. We know that he gives us every grace, every abundant grace; and though we are so weak of ourselves, this grace is able to carry us through every obstacle and difficulty." — St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞
"The custody of the senses is the bedrock of purity, as discipline is of peace and one's cell is of devotion. When anger takes hold of a person's thinking, wisdom then departs even from one who is prudent. Whoever speaks in wrath is like a barking dog; but whoever responds with gentleness breaks through the other's wrath and offers him roses rather than thorns. Blessed is the tongue of the prudent man, for it heals the wounds of one in anger. Whoever struggles against his vices at the very outset, when their motions are first felt, will have greater success in overcoming them than if he delayed until they became rooted." — Thomas À Kempis, p .30 AN EXCERPT FROM Bountiful Goodness
Saint of the Day for November 30 (d. 60?)
Saint Andrew's Story
Andrew was St. Peter's brother, and was called with him. "As [Jesus] was walking by the sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is now called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, 'Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.' At once they left their nets and followed him" (Matthew 4:18-20).
John the Evangelist presents Andrew as a disciple of John the Baptist. When Jesus walked by one day, John said, "Behold, the Lamb of God." Andrew and another disciple followed Jesus. "Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, 'What are you looking for?' They said to him, 'Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are you staying?' He said to them, 'Come, and you will see.' So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day" (John 1:38-39a).
Little else is said about Andrew in the Gospels. Before the multiplication of the loaves, it was Andrew who spoke up about the boy who had the barley loaves and fishes. When the Gentiles went to see Jesus, they came to Philip, but Philip then had recourse to Andrew.
Legend has it that Andrew preached the Good News in what is now modern Greece and Turkey and was crucified at Patras.
As in the case of all the apostles except Peter and John, the Gospels give us little about the holiness of Andrew. He was an apostle. That is enough. He was called personally by Jesus to proclaim the Good News, to heal with Jesus' power and to share his life and death. Holiness today is no different. It is a gift that includes a call to be concerned about the Kingdom, an outgoing attitude that wants nothing more than to share the riches of Christ with all people.
I pause for a moment, aware that God is here. I think of how everything around me, the air I breathe, my whole body, is tingling with the the presence of God.
Lord grant me the grace to have freedom of the spirit. Cleanse my heart and soul so I may live joyously in your love.
How am I really feeling? Lighthearted? Heavy-hearted? I may be very much at peace, happy to be here. Equally, I may be frustrated, worried or angry. I acknowledge how I really am. It is the real me that the Lord loves.
Brothers and sisters: If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. The Scripture says, No one who believes in him will be put to shame. There is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, enriching all who call upon him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news! But not everyone has heeded the good news; for Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed what was heard from us? Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ. But I ask, did they not hear? Certainly they did; for
Their voice has gone forth to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11 R. (10) The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just. or: R. (John 6:63) Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life. The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul; The decree of the LORD is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just. or: R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life. The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The command of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eye.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just. or: R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever; The ordinances of the LORD are true, all of them just.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just. or: R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life. They are more precious than gold, than a heap of purest gold; Sweeter also than syrup or honey from the comb.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just. or: R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
Alleluia Mt 4:19 R. Alleluia, alleluia. Come after me, says the Lord, and I will make you fishers of men. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 4:18-22
As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him. He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ Today's scripture tells us the story of how a call from the Lord changed the direction of the lives of the first disciples, who leave everything and follow him.
▪ Can you recall events or occasions when you changed direction? For example, falling in love, being guided by a teacher or friend, a hurt or loss, great or small? These calls come to us throughout our lives and they can have a great effect on us. How we respond is what makes up our lives. We are the product of our decisions and we have a friend in the Lord who wishes to guide us.
▪ It is a gift for each of us to follow the Lord in our own calling.
I begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture I have just read. What part of it strikes a chord in me? Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story I have heard recently - will slowly rise to the surface in my consciousness. If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to me?
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
wau.org Catholic Meditations Meditation: Matthew 4:18-22
Saint Andrew, Apostle (Feast)
They left their boat and their father and followed him. (Matthew 4:22)
Face-to-face communication is becoming less common, isn't it? We can spend a whole day e-mailing, texting, and talking on the phone. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter keep us in touch without ever touching. Some of us work from the comfort (and isolation) of home and rarely have the chance to interact. Even online shopping can keep us away from merchants who may be just around the corner.
All of this technology certainly does make life more convenient. But what if Andrew and Simon Peter had met Jesus only online instead of face-to-face? Do you think they would have been as deeply affected as they are in today's Gospel reading?
Actually, this is not the first time they've seen him. John the Baptist had introduced Andrew to Jesus earlier, and Andrew spent the entire day with him. Andrew in turn introduced Simon to him—the one whom Jesus renamed Cephas, or Peter (John 1:35-42). Both brothers' lives were changed because they spent time with Jesus.
As we celebrate St. Andrew today, let's remember that this kind of direct encounter is at the heart of evangelization. In an Advent speech three years ago, Pope Francis said, "The most important thing that can happen to a person is to encounter Jesus, who loves us, who has saved us, who gave his life for us." We can't simply hope that the people around us will absorb enough information about Christ to become his disciples. We need to introduce them to Jesus, just as Andrew introduced Peter to him.
Bringing someone to Christ doesn't have to be hard. Of course we can pray for people and tell them about God's love. But sometimes we make more progress with simple expressions of love that are reflections of the Lord. Listening can be just as effective as prayer. A warm embrace can speak more powerfully than a lecture on sin. An invitation to lunch can have a greater impact than a logical presentation of the truths of the gospel.
Kindness, generosity, compassion—these are the keys that unlock the treasures of the gospel!
"Lord, send me to someone who needs to encounter you today."
Today's 1st Holy Scripture said to us: "For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved." The footnotes at USCCB say about confessing (testifying) the following: "To confess Jesus as Lord was frequently quite hazardous in the first century (cf. Mt 10:18; 1 Thes 2:2; 1 Pt 2:18–21; 3:14). For a Jew it could mean disruption of normal familial and other social relationships, including great economic sacrifice. In the face of penalties imposed by the secular world, Christians are assured that no one who believes in Jesus will be put to shame (Rom 10:11)." Confessing means causing a revolution in this sense then. Whereas we would rather be subtle, and unobtrusive, this Scripture means quite the opposite. Nothing about Jesus was inconspicuous, He did not hide, if He remained hidden, it was the Holy Spirit that allowed Him to slip through those who desired to throw Him off the cliff, out of their lives. You can not hide the light and it shouldn't be hidden under your bed like all the other things you don't want people to see. "And so, the fish dies at the mouth" says the spanish adage. The truth is a powerful 2 edged sword, because it can attract or detract like a magnet when flipped. And so the Lord makes the call today....
We prayed today "The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just. or: R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life." and "The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever; The ordinances of the LORD are true, all of them just." Just means holy. We heard today "For one believes with the heart and so is justified". It is one thing to say you believe, and quite another to actually live out the believing, being a believer. So let us go forth with what a true believer looks like when called....
In comes the Lord of our Lives making the call and we heard: ""Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men." Jesus our Lord says to us "Come After ME". And this means as an attractant "Come after Me by following Me, not putting yourself before Me". And so they leave EVERYTHING, their work and their family. Or the inverse can be heard, as a threat to the devil "Come after Me", and so it is a taunt, a detractant, putting all sorts of fronts and obstacles and excuses not to follow Him.
It is a two edged sword, black or white, there is not grey matter on the edge. And the funny thing is, there is nothing in it for you when you surrender to God, perhaps, MAYBE salvation only. But there is the world in it for those who see your attraction to God, and this means an introduction of salvation to the entire world, Jesus through me, and Jesus through you. In my soul, my desire is salvation. I am working on a website explaining why my vehicle is wrapped in a message of salvation...for souls, for unborn, for those who don't care....to care. For those of us who don't give....to give. This Christmas, Give: Give God a chance like never before. Give forgiveness like never before. Give love like never before. Give to one who will never give to you in return. Give extra-ordinarily, out of the ordinary. Because this is a true confession...a true witness. This means leaving it all, and living all in Him