Restored Hope Oh, Jesus, with joy in my heart and in a spirit of gratitude, I thank you for your great blessings in my life. Thank you for the celebr
Oh, Jesus, with joy in my heart and in a spirit of gratitude, I thank you for your great blessings in my life. Thank you for the celebration of your birth. Thank you for restoring my hope of eternal life with you. Thank you for all the gifts I have received from your generous hand.
-from A Eucharistic Christmas
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†"We must always remember that God does everything well, although we may not see the reason of what He does." — St. Philip Neri
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞
"Prayers are God-filled words in which our love and God's love are joined. That love embraces the people for whom we are praying, and love always changes people and situations. This doesn't mean that we will always get what we want, but Jesus does promise that we will get what we need." — Rev. Jude Winkler, OFM, p. 14 AN EXCERPT FROM Daily Meditations with the Holy Spirit
Saint of the Day for December 28
The Story of the Holy Innocents
Herod "the Great," king of Judea, was unpopular with his people because of his connections with the Romans and his religious indifference. Hence he was insecure and fearful of any threat to his throne. He was a master politician and a tyrant capable of extreme brutality. He killed his wife, his brother and his sister's two husbands, to name only a few.
Matthew 2:1-18 tells this story: Herod was "greatly troubled" when astrologers from the east came asking the whereabouts of "the newborn king of the Jews," whose star they had seen. They were told that the Jewish Scriptures named Bethlehem as the place where the Messiah would be born. Herod cunningly told them to report back to him so that he could also "do him homage." They found Jesus, offered him their gifts and, warned by an angel, avoided Herod on their way home. Jesus escaped to Egypt.
Herod became furious and "ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under." The horror of the massacre and the devastation of the mothers and fathers led Matthew to quote Jeremiah: "A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children…" (Matthew 2:18). Rachel was the wife of Jacob/Israel. She is pictured as weeping at the place where the Israelites were herded together by the conquering Assyrians for their march into captivity. Reflection
The Holy Innocents are few, in comparison to the genocide and abortion of our day. But even if there had been only one, we recognize the greatest treasure God put on the earth—a human person, destined for eternity and graced by Jesus' death and resurrection. The Holy Innocents are the Patron Saints of:
Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs
Today, as we remember the Holy Innocents put to death by King Herod, pray a rosary for life and meditate on the glorious mysteries.
One month from today, hundreds of thousands will gather in Washington, DC, for the annual March for Life. Learn about the Catholic-sponsored events surrounding this annual opportunity to stand for the unborn.
The observances of the Christmas season illuminate many key themes for the faithful. Mediate today on this one:
Lord, help me to be fully alive to your Holy presence. Enfold me in your love. Let my heart become one with yours.
Lord God I thank you for the gift of freedom. Help me to use this gift with integrity. I am free to make choices. Help me to choose to follow you, to live in a Christian way by caring for others. Remind me to consider always those less fortunate than myself, the oppressed, the prisoner, those who are not free to worship in public. Guide me always to seek your holy will in all the events of my life.
In God's loving presence I unwind the past day, starting from now and looking back, moment by moment. I gather in all the goodness and light, in gratitude. I attend to the shadows and what they say to me, seeking healing, courage, forgiveness.
Beloved: This is the message that we have heard from Jesus Christ and proclaim to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say, "We have fellowship with him," while we continue to walk in darkness, we lie and do not act in truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the Blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin. If we say, "We are without sin," we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing. If we say, "We have not sinned," we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
My children, I am writing this to you so that you may not commit sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 124:2-3, 4-5, 7cd-8 R. (7) Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler's snare. Had not the LORD been with us— When men rose up against us, then would they have swallowed us alive, When their fury was inflamed against us.
R. Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler's snare. Then would the waters have overwhelmed us; The torrent would have swept over us; over us then would have swept the raging waters.
R. Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler's snare. Broken was the snare, and we were freed. Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
R. Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler's snare. ——
Alleluia - See Te Deum R. Alleluia, alleluia. We praise you, O God, we acclaim you as Lord; the white-robed army of martyrs praise you. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 2:13-18
When the magi had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him." Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, Out of Egypt I called my son.
When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:
A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more.
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ Having recounted the angel saluting Mary's child as the long-promised 'God with us', Matthew in his Gospel loses no time in picturing the newborn Jesus as representing, even in the events of his earliest days, the mixed historical fortunes of God's chosen people (who often saw themselves as, collectively, God's favourite firstborn).
▪ Starting with the scene of the Holy Family forced to flee into Egypt, we reflect in our prayer on the whole Jewish people once finding themselves in captivity in Egypt, (and on their eventual release being withheld by the Pharaoh, until first the blood of a child flowed in every house of his own population).
▪ Even then, the Chosen People still had further trials to come through – with mothers mourning because separated from their children by death or exile.
▪ The road to the fullness of freedom for the people in the Promised Land had tragic turns – as the road before him was to have for Jesus himself; as in one way or another, the road before each of us will always have.
How has God's Word moved me? Has it left me cold? Has it consoled me or moved me to act in a new way? I imagine Jesus standing or sitting beside me, I turn and share my feelings with him.
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 2:13-18
The Holy Innocents, Martyrs (Feast)
He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under. (Matthew 2:16)
The story of the Holy Innocents shocks us, and that's probably a good thing. How could Herod have committed such a monstrous crime? But maybe the better question is Where do I see similar things today? In Jesus' time, just as today, children were among the most vulnerable and abused people in the world. They are considered almost as disposable today as they were back then.
How disposable are they? We have only to think of the scourge of abortion to get a glimpse. And of those children who are born, millions are trapped in grinding poverty, denied their basic rights to food and shelter and education. Many are forced into hard labor or, worse, conscripted into rebel armies. Consider also the countless little ones who are homeless, trafficked, or abused. The list is heartbreaking.
But it's Christmastime! We're supposed to be celebrating Jesus' birth, not lamenting the death of children. Or are we? Today's feast reminds us that the baby in the manger lived his whole life under the shadow of the cross. And he did it by choice. Coming among us as a vulnerable child, Jesus embraced the distressing and uncomfortable elements of life in this world. He became a displaced child, a refugee fleeing with his parents to escape violence.
Jesus knows all that we suffer. He is always close to us, especially when we are confronted with darkness, both in the world and in our own hearts.
• When defenseless lives are taken without remorse, Jesus knows.
• When injustice robs the poor of their homes, Jesus knows.
• When the innocent are abused, Jesus knows.
• When the needy are neglected, Jesus knows.
• When our life story is wounded by tragedy, sickness, or death, Jesus knows.
• When our prayers for our children don't seem to be answered and our hearts are broken, Jesus knows.
Jesus knows. He embraces it all. He weeps with us. And he asks us to go out and share this compassion with everyone we meet.
"Jesus, in this Christmas season, we ask you to bless and care for all those who are neglected and abused."
The Word said today, "God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all." It reminds us of scripture Jn1:47 "Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, "Here is an Israelite indeed [a true descendant of Jacob], in whom there is no guile nor deceit nor duplicity!" They say in Heaven there is always light...there is always God. They say that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand now...available. Take life by the hand, and it is Christ. "My children, I am writing this to you so that you may not commit sin." I was thinking before writing, praying in a sense, and it was like, "Lord, I fasted for 40 days, now what can I do, or fast from?" and the answer came "how about from sin?". It's easier to stop eating than to stop sinning. And so we have to realize what is being asked by the Word of God, two things: 1st)Realize your sin. 2nd) Realize His forgiveness that is at hand. "But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one." In the movie Narnia, the Lion goes and is stripped, surrendering himself to the evil one, and in the end rises, resurrection, because he knew what was scripted on the altar, whereas everyone else did not, basically "he who is without blemish nullifies death". This is Jesus, the King, and His Kingdom on earth at hand.
We prayed today " Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler's snare. Had not the LORD been with us—When men rose up against us, then would they have swallowed us alive, When their fury was inflamed against us." And this is what salvation is all about...souls. If you live in a life of grace, this is what matters most, Jesus, and His soul for souls. "...you were redeemed from the empty way of life you inherited from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or spot." 1Peter1:19.
Let us talk about the unblemished, and spotless...Jesus. It is because of Him that many baby boys were brutally slaughtered, all because of one's hatred, anger, selfishness, all things rooted in the weakness of pride. Do yourself a favor, have yourself a pride check. What is keeping you from laying down your life for the Lord, the Holy Innocent HIMSELF. It wasn't His fault they died, it was evilness, darkness. People like to blame God but it is always the opposite as you point the finger. What I like to do now, when I don't like how people act, I ask myself "am I like that?" and then I work on being the opposite, because I have to be the change I want to see. You must be the light in the dark. The angel commands Joseph to flee with the baby Jesus and Holy Mary to Egypt, while the baby boys are slaughtered and lamentations could be heard as if a bomb had struck the place. The babies paid the price, the innocent paid the price. And it is no different today. Because of a selfish act of sex, not meant to give life and conception, millions of babies are aborted through abortions and contraceptives which produce "spontaneous abortions", killing conception, not really avoiding it. And the devil can not believe it is getting away with so much murder. Truth is, I can't believe it either. The news says people are pitching in millions of dollars to fight for abortions, the fight is on, brutal, to keep abortions legal, to keep this murder legal, to keep on ripping babies out and slicing them with knives and dousing them with chemicals, a brutal warfare is at hand. 40 Days for life asks "what is your new year's resolution for the unborn?".
Let's back up a little. Herod's insecurities produce a genocide, just like Hitler. But let's back up before the insecurities happened. Where did they come from? They came from watching others growing up. They learned and they brought it to the extremes. This is the importance of surrendering and being Holy, unblemished and innocent. Do not think that others are not watching and learning from you and all the little things you do. Do not think you do not make a difference in the world. Do think you are making a difference. Do think people are watching and learning from your every move, your body language gives off your attitude.
We like to play the innocent victim, but you might as well play possum, faking it. No. It is better to actually be innocent. And Jesus takes innocents as an offering to God, for He is the High priest, and He had first offered Himself before the world began. Jesus hears the Holy. Jesus loves the innocent. And if you are not so innocent...what is keeping you? Then, why does Jesus love sinners? Because, He loves the person He made...not the sins we muddle with. He loves you for you, for who you really are and are meant to be....WITH HIM