Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Reason Why I Came


Jesus Is Forever, Not Only for Christmas

Perhaps we're a bit relieved that Christmas is over for another year. But perhaps we discover that something has changed in us because of an encounter, a gift, a new insight into the meaning of the incarnation. We can keep a little bit of that with us through the coming year and let it bring light and peace to our everyday lives. Our journey with God doesn't end with the Christmas season. Jesus is forever, not just for Christmas.

As you begin to pack away the decorations, take time to recall your favorite experience of this year. It might be a small moment that nearly went unnoticed or it might be a special occasion or event in your life or the life of someone you love. As you discard any broken ornaments, burned-out lights or empty boxes, let go of one hurt feeling that may linger from this year's celebrations.

—from the book The Peace of Christmas: Quiet Reflections from Pope Francis by Diane M. Houdek


✞"It is better to be a child of God than king of the whole world!"
— St. Aloysius Gonzaga


"It is necessary to have an absolutely sure intention in all our actions, so that the generous fulfillment of our daily duties may be directed toward the highest supernatural ideal. Thus, our life, apart from moments of prayer, will be a prayerful life. It is clear that the habit of giving an upward glance to God at the moment of action is a great assistance in aiding us to behave always with a pure intention and in freeing us from our natural impulses and fancies, so, that, retaining our self-mastery, or rather, God becoming the sole Master, all our movements become dependent upon the Holy Spirit. We see in the Gospel that whenever our Lord was about to undertake some important step, He always paused for a moment to raise His eyes to Heaven, and only after this moment of recollection did He take up the work He had to do. 'He lifted up His eyes to Heaven' is a phrase that recurs with significant frequency. And doubtless, when there was no outward sign of this prayer, there was the inward offering. The ideal is the same for us. The constant subjection of self to the guidance of the Holy Spirit is made easier from the fact of His presence in the soul, where He is asked explicitly to preside over all our doings . . . We shall not submit wholeheartedly to the invisible Guest unless He is kept in close proximity to us."
— Raoul Plus, S.J., p. 37-8
How to Pray Always



The Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus is historically associated with the Feast of the Circumcision of Jesus. According to Jewish law, on the 8th day after his birth, a male child was circumcised and received his name, thus becoming a full member of God's covenant people. The name 'Jesus' means 'God Saves' and is the name that St. Joseph was instructed by an angel to name the Divine Child, the sacred name before which "every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:10-11). Devotion to the Most Holy Name of Jesus was popularized by St. Bernardine of Siena in the 15th century, often symbolized by the monogram IHS (denoting the first three letters of the Greek spelling of Jesus' name). Today the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus is celebrated on January 3rd.


"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer."
Psalm 19:14


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Most Holy Name of Jesus

Saint of the Day for January 3

The Story of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
Although Saint Paul might claim credit for promoting devotion to the Holy Name because Paul wrote in Philippians that God the Father gave Christ Jesus "that name that is above every name" (see 2:9), this devotion became popular because of 12th-century Cistercian monks and nuns but especially through the preaching of Saint Bernardine of Siena, a 15th-century Franciscan.

Bernardine used devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus as a way of overcoming bitter and often bloody class struggles and family rivalries or vendettas in Italian city-states. The devotion grew, partly because of Franciscan and Dominican preachers. It spread even more widely after the Jesuits began promoting it in the 16th century.

In 1530, Pope Clement V approved an Office of the Holy Name for the Franciscans. In 1721, Pope Innocent XIII extended this feast to the entire Church.

Jesus died and rose for the sake of all people. No one can trademark or copyright Jesus' name. Jesus is the Son of God and son of Mary. Everything that exists was created in and through the Son of God (see Colossians 1:15-20). The name of Jesus is debased if any Christian uses it as justification for berating non-Christians. Jesus reminds us that because we are all related to him we are, therefore, all related to one another.


January 3, 2018
Christmas Weekday

Reading 1 1 Jn 2:29–3:6

If you consider that God is righteous,
you also know that everyone who acts in righteousness
is begotten by him.

See what love the Father has bestowed on us
that we may be called the children of God.
Yet so we are.
The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
Beloved, we are God's children now;
what we shall be has not yet been revealed.
We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is.
Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure,
as he is pure.

Everyone who commits sin commits lawlessness,
for sin is lawlessness.
You know that he was revealed to take away sins,
and in him there is no sin.
No one who remains in him sins;
no one who sins has seen him or known him.

Responsorial Psalm PS 98:1, 3cd-4, 5-6
R. (3cd) All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing praise to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and melodious song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
sing joyfully before the King, the LORD.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.

Alleluia Jn 1:14a, 12a
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us.
To those who accepted him
he gave power to become the children of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 1:29-34

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
"Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
He is the one of whom I said,
'A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.'
I did not know him,
but the reason why I came baptizing with water
was that he might be made known to Israel."
John testified further, saying,
"I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky
and remain upon him.
I did not know him,
but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me,
'On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain,
he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.'
Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God."


Meditation: 1 John 2:29–3:6

The Most Holy Name of Jesus (Optional Memorial)

We are God's children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. (1 John 3:2)

Everyone knows that children take after their parents. Well, if God is our Father, then it naturally follows that we take after him. Let's look at two analogies that can help us understand what it means to be children of God: an acorn and a basketball player.

An acorn may look nothing like an oak tree, but it is destined to become one. It can't become a pine tree or a banana or a giraffe. It can only be an oak tree.

Like that acorn, you bear some of God's own traits. He made you, so of course you will take after him. If you are willing to help someone at the cost of your own comfort; if your heart breaks at injustice; if you feel compassion for people, even those who rub you the wrong way—all this proves that you are like your Father in heaven.

What about the basketball player? Two-time NBA champion Steph Curry is famous for his long-range shooting. He inherited this ability from his father, Dell, a successful player in the 1980s and 1990s. But Curry's teammates don't talk only about his inherited abilities. They also marvel at his dedication to practice. The potential to be a great athlete may be in his DNA, but he still has to work to unlock that potential. And he does.

The acorn shows us that children become like their parents, but the ballplayer shows us the time, patience, and effort that are necessary to grow into our full inheritance.

St. John tells us that one day we will be fully revealed as God's children. That day isn't here yet. We still have training and practice ahead of us. We still have to grow into the person God intends us to be. But at the same, time we can rejoice because we already take after our Father. The family likeness is already there for everyone to see.

You have so much going for you, so many blessings to build on. So keep on practicing. Keep on training. Keep on following your Father's example. Day after day, you'll take on even more of the family likeness.

"Father, I'm blessed to be your child. Make me more like you every day!"

Psalm 98:1, 3-6
John 1:29-34



"....we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure."
I spent a while evangelizing to a nephew this past weekend. I said he is turning out to be a good kid, instead of heading to juvenile courts he is now heading to possibly college. But, I said, "I know many good hearted folks, so lovable yet still into the worst trouble and suddenly are found in jail or going through hard, you need to be a child of God... be a church one that completely loves and depends on God...stay away from impurity, especially pornography, which is just as addictive as drugs if not worse...for the soul!"

Let us pray " All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done wondrous deeds" When? When did He do wondrous deeds? Two thousand years ago? Yes. A thousand years ago? Yes. Yesterday? Yes. And today more is to come. His Holy Name is what proves this true. Rearrange IHS and realize what is HIS, you and I. We are HIS. IHS abbreviated JESUS. We belong to Him. Therefore Pilate said to Him, "So You are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice." For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but to do the will of Him who sent Me. 39And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I shall lose none of all those He has given Me, but raise them up at the last day. 40For it is My Father's will that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."… JESUS
I just randomly was prompted to open The IMITATION OF CHRIST by Thomas Kempis, the saint-maker book, and it says: "...It is strange that you will not commit yourself to Me with all your heart, with all you can desire or possess.
2. Why do you languish in useless grief, or why are you so worn with needless cares? Resign yourself to My will and you will suffer no loss.

If you look for this thing or that, or wish to be in this place or that, simply for your own advantage or pleasure, you will never be at rest, nor free from anxiety. You will find something to dislike in everything, and there will be someone who will cross you no matter where you are."

I read of some people/saints today, one is a "Blessed" possible future saint that even had the name of Jesus burned into his chest. But that is superficial, like a tattoo. What's inside is what needs to bear the name of our Christ. A Sacrament is an outward sign of an inside reality. My love for Him must be shown daily in every day life. People must know I am one with Him. When someone brings up a married person, I immediately think of their spouse, whom they are bound to (Sacramentally). I should then, see whom we are bound to in Jesus. But some seem they don't have a spouse, even though they are married, right? But, I know they are, because they tell me about their spouse, and their love for their spouse shows. Now, you should know, I am talking about our spouse...Jesus. Can people see we are Sacramentally bound to Him? Do people know I am a baptized Christ follower?

Saint John the Baptist, Elijah, if you will, said: "'A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.'' " He existed before me. "
But John was older than Jesus. What did this mean? It means Jesus has always existed. He has gone and been before us. He was chosen. And chosen to live and to love and to die for the world we live in. Today, people die for the wrong reasons...mostly of self. Sin causes death. Sin causes spiritual death. Jesus baptizes with fire. Fire ignites and inflames and Jesus said "I have come to ignite a fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!… " A new year has begun in the name of Jesus, on the third day.
The book Imitation of Christ prays:
Disciple: Strengthen me, O God, by the grace of Your Holy Spirit. Grant me the power to grow in holiness and to empty my heart of all useless care and anxiety, that I may not be led by desire of earthly things, whether of little or great value.
Help me to regard all things in this world as they are-- Passing and short-lived--realizing that I, too, will pass away with them. Nothing under the sun is lasting, but all is vanity and a chase after wind (Eccl 1:14). It is a wise person who understands this.
5. Give me Your heavenly wisdom, O Lord, that I may learn that the most important thing is to seek You and to find You and, above all things else, to love You. Help me to understand all other things as they truly are, according to Your wisdom.
Grant me the prudence to avoid all flatterers and to be patient with those who contradict me. It is great wisdom not to be influenced by garrulous speech, nor listen to soothing, tempting voices. By following such a road we will advance securely in the way we have begun.



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