Think Big Know that God speaks to you, and that when God does, your assigned task, whatever it is, regardless of how modest it appears in the eyes of
Know that God speaks to you, and that when God does, your assigned task, whatever it is, regardless of how modest it appears in the eyes of the world, takes on eternal importance.
-from Perfect Joy
†"O Holy Family—the Family so closely united to the mystery which we contemplate on the day of the Lord's Birth—guide with your example the families of the whole earth!" — Pope St. John Paul II
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞
"Love is an excellent thing, a great good indeed, which alone maketh light all that is burdensome and equally bears all that is unequal. For it carries a burden without being burdened and makes all that which is bitter sweet and savory. The love of Jesus is noble and generous; it spurs us on to do great things and excites us to desire always that which is most perfect." — Thomas à Kempis, p. 87 AN EXCERPT FROM Imitation of Christ
Saint John the Apostle
Saint of the Day for December 27 (6 – 100)
Saint John the Apostle's Story
It is God who calls; human beings answer. The vocation of John and his brother James is stated very simply in the Gospels, along with that of Peter and his brother Andrew: Jesus called them; they followed. The absoluteness of their response is indicated by the account. James and John "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" (Matthew 4:21b-22).
For the three former fishermen—Peter, James and John—that faith was to be rewarded by a special friendship with Jesus. They alone were privileged to be present at the Transfiguration, the raising of the daughter of Jairus and the agony in Gethsemane. But John's friendship was even more special. Tradition assigns to him the Fourth Gospel, although most modern Scripture scholars think it unlikely that the apostle and the evangelist are the same person.
John's own Gospel refers to him as "the disciple whom Jesus loved" (see John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2), the one who reclined next to Jesus at the Last Supper, and the one to whom he gave the exquisite honor, as he stood beneath the cross, of caring for his mother. "Woman, behold your son…. Behold, your mother" (John 19:26b, 27b).
Because of the depth of his Gospel, John is usually thought of as the eagle of theology, soaring in high regions that other writers did not enter. But the ever-frank Gospels reveal some very human traits. Jesus gave James and John the nickname, "sons of thunder." While it is difficult to know exactly what this meant, a clue is given in two incidents.
In the first, as Matthew tells it, their mother asked that they might sit in the places of honor in Jesus' kingdom—one on his right hand, one on his left. When Jesus asked them if they could drink the cup he would drink and be baptized with his baptism of pain, they blithely answered, "We can!" Jesus said that they would indeed share his cup, but that sitting at his right hand was not his to give. It was for those to whom it had been reserved by the Father. The other apostles were indignant at the mistaken ambition of the brothers, and Jesus took the occasion to teach them the true nature of authority: "…[W]hoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:27-28).
On another occasion, the "sons of thunder" asked Jesus if they should not call down fire from heaven upon the inhospitable Samaritans, who would not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. But Jesus "turned and rebuked them" (see Luke 9:51-55).
On the first Easter, Mary Magdalene "ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, 'They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don't know where they put him'" (John 20:2). John recalls, perhaps with a smile, that he and Peter ran side by side, but then "the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first" (John 20:4b). He did not enter, but waited for Peter and let him go in first. "Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed" (John 20:8).
John was with Peter when the first great miracle after the Resurrection took place—the cure of the man crippled from birth—which led to their spending the night in jail together. The mysterious experience of the Resurrection is perhaps best contained in the words of Acts: "Observing the boldness of Peter and John and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men, they [the questioners] were amazed, and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus" (Acts 4:13).
The Apostle John is traditionally considered the author of the Fourth Gospel, three New Testament letters and the Book of Revelation. His Gospel is a very personal account. He sees the glorious and divine Jesus already in the incidents of his mortal life. At the Last Supper, John's Jesus speaks as if he were already in heaven. It is the Gospel of Jesus' glory. Reflection
It is a long way from being eager to sit on a throne of power or to call down fire from heaven to becoming the man who could write: "The way we came to know love was that he laid down his life for us; so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers" (1 John 3:16). Saint John the Apostle is the Patron Saint of:
May my heart rejoice in your love, O Lord. Let me live each day anew.
I need to close out the noise, to rise above the noise; The noise that interrupts, that separates, The noise that isolates. I need to listen to God again.
To be conscious about something is to be aware of it. Dear Lord help me to remember that You gave me life. Thank you for the gift of life. Teach me to slow down, to be still and enjoy the pleasures created for me. To be aware of the beauty that surrounds me. The marvel of mountains, the calmness of lakes, the fragility of a flower petal. I need to remember that all these things come from you.
Beloved: What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life— for the life was made visible; we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us— what we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing this so that our joy may be complete.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 97:1-2, 5-6, 11-12 R. (12) Rejoice in the Lord, you just! The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice; let the many isles be glad. Clouds and darkness are around him, justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne.
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just! The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the LORD of all the earth. The heavens proclaim his justice, and all peoples see his glory.
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just! Light dawns for the just; and gladness, for the upright of heart. Be glad in the LORD, you just, and give thanks to his holy name.
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just! Alleluia - See Te Deum
R. Alleluia, alleluia. We praise you, O God, we acclaim you as Lord; the glorious company of Apostles praise you. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 20:1a and 2-8
On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, "They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we do not know where they put him." So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed.
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ It may be unfair to say that one person is 'better' at believing than another; but today's Gospel incident gives us a portrait of two followers of Jesus – where the strong point of one of them (Peter) is, you might say action; and the strong point of the other (the apostle John, today's saint) is believing. Perhaps that's why John – seemingly more attuned to the inner sense of things, is called 'the one whom Jesus loved'.
▪ Peter is always generously pushing himself to the front of things, while John is willing to hold back and ponder. And their contrasting 'styles' are very obvious when they reach the tomb left empty by the risen Jesus. Peter bustles in and busies himself; John takes time to reflect, and then to be over-awed.
▪ In the words of one Gospel petitioner, we ask "Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief". And the praying itself will always set the stage for believing.
Dear Lord, help me each day to seek your presence more and more. Fill my heart with love for you.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
The heavens proclaim his justice, and all peoples see his glory. (Psalm 97:6)
People who say that lightning rarely strikes twice in the same place have yet to hear about Venezuela's Lake Maracaibo. This body of water averages 250 lightning flashes per square kilometer every year and can receive as many lightning strikes each minute. Scientists have tried to predict, control, or harness this amazing source of energy but have had to admit that it is so far impossible. Lightning remains a dangerous and uncontrollable force.
This uncontrollable aspect of thunder and lightning may help us understand why Jesus nicknamed James and John "Boanerges," which means "Sons of Thunder."
Evidently, these brothers were generally calm, but they could become quite thunderous when provoked. We see one of these thunderous responses when they asked Jesus if they could summon fire to destroy a Samaritan town that had rejected him (Luke 9:51-56). Jesus rebuked them, but he also continued to teach them, form them, and love them. Over time, this love transformed them into humble, dedicated evangelists and apostles.
Today we honor the way one of these sons of thunder, John, allowed Jesus' love to shape him. Tradition tells us that John often referred to himself as "the one whom Jesus loved" (John 13:23). This wasn't a prideful, elitist statement, for John made it a point to call all his fellow believers "beloved" as well (1 John 2:7; 3:2; 4:7; 3 John 1:2).
Jesus' love was so effective at taming John that this formerly thunderous disciple eventually returned to help baptize those Samaritans he had once wanted to destroy (Acts 8:14).
Do you consider yourself one of God's "beloved"? If Jesus can tame these brothers' violent tempers, imagine what he can do for you!
Today, consider how much God loves you. Remember that he has chosen you just the way you are so that he can gradually turn you into a reflection of who he is. Then, imagine the love that would flow throughout the world if we could come to see each person as Christ's beloved, just as St. John did.
"Lord, help me follow John's example and look upon each person as your beloved. May all my prejudices be tamed by your love."
The Word of the Lord says at one point "...what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life." And ends with "We are writing this so that our joy may be complete." after talking about fellowship with one another...thus, with Christ. I really miss people when I don't see them. I invited a few right before Christmas which is my birthday, the 25th of December, and I said it like this "for my birthday, I would like for you to come to Mass" as a gift. I did not get what I wanted for my birthday. Not for love of me, nor our Lord, and there is what is found lacking...Love. Fellowship. Where is that tight unity, that tight bond with the Lord? I see faithfulness to the Dallas Cowboys, "America's team" they say, devotion to the extreme, people sit with their jerseys watching the game, spend hours and hours on something so empty. I've been to their stadium and I see the thousands, up to 100,000 in attendance, and on Christmas Day, our Mass was more than half empty. And I struggle with that, even though people say it is not about the numbers, I see a lack of faithfulness which is intimately united with gratefulness. Fellowship with the Lord, and I am trying to be with the Lord, and I missed you. I still want what I wanted for CHRIST'sMass. You next to me in Heaven! Let our Joy be complete!
We prayed today "Rejoice in the Lord, you just! Light dawns for the just; and gladness, for the upright of heart." Be Glad, says God. Be Glad I am writing to you. Be Glad I am reaching out to you. Be glad that I love you and that's all you need. Be Glad! Be Glad I forgave you, and will forgive you. Be Glad because nobody else can forgive like this but I, says the Lord. I am the depth of joy. I am the gladness of peace, I am what you desire, I am more....
The Lord enters our Life in the Holy Gospel and the only quote is Mary Magdalene whom says to the beloved disciple and our first pope, ""They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we do not know where they put him." She didn't know better, she didn't know yet that the Lord was resurrected from the dead, she didn't know what all had been said in the manner she would understand. No, she would be found weeping when John and Peter left to go tell everyone what happened. She wept like the times she wept for her many sins...she was empty, where was God now? Where was the love of her life? Where was the fellowship with the only person that forgave her? Where was her God? She loved him but not in an erotic love like people twist nowadays with lies of the devil, but she loved GOD. She was a disciple herself. She peeks in the tomb after the disciples leave, and sees two angels and they ask her why she weeps, and says "because they took MY Lord away" and upon saying those words, Jesus appears and she recognizes Him when He speaks her name, and she throws herself at His feet and He says let Me go. Let Me GO. The Lord is speaking on behalf of all those fallen asleep before us. Let me go and believe what I have said now. Go and tell everyone what you have seen and I will meet them at the house of prayer and appear in the Holy Eucharist, upon the breaking of the bread. He didn't say in those exact words but that is exactly what happens. Fellowship. That is where He is found. Not on your couch watching TV devoted faithfully to an emptiness that always leaves you hungry, all things sin. Sin in spanish also means "without". Let yourself not be found in sin...without: Without the Grace of God. Without His light. Without being in the flock, united under one. I have a feeling, that if God has a place set for us in Heaven, if it is a mansion, it is ONE mansion, with many rooms, and a room is being prepared for you as you are preparing for Him, with justice, which is holiness, and holiness is giving in offering and sacrifice, a surrender of self, including egos and sins. So that He may fill us with HIS gifts and joy, and gladness...all things JESUS