Thursday, December 13, 2018

⛪The One Who Is

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Dark Days and Dark Moods

Dark days can mean dark moods. This natural turn of the seasons helps explain the timing of Christmas. It is the festival of light, the return of the sun and longer periods of daylight. It's a time of renewal and hope, sentiments we feel as we watch the skies and see faint signs of the sun returning. What happens in December in the northern hemisphere is a natural symbol. You don't need a dictionary or an encyclopedia to know that the dark sky parallels your darkened heart. You feel it in your body and then in your emotions. The sky mirrors your feelings, and your pulse beats with the special rhythms of night and day. The turn of the sun on the day of solstice may well coincide with a turn in your spirits.

—from the book The Soul of Christmas


"Advent's intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory; it brings hope."
— Pope Benedict XVI

"The most important and most fruitful acts of our freedom are not those by which we transform the outside world as those by which we change our inner attitude in light of the faith that God can bring good out of everything without exception. He is a never-failing source of unlimited riches. Our lives no longer have in them anything negative, ordinary, or indifferent. Positive things become a reason for gratitude and joy, negative things an opportunity for abandonment, faith, and offering: everything becomes a grace."
— Fr. Jacques Philippe, p. 58
Interior Freedom

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."

John 10:10


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Saint Lucy

Saint of the Day for December 13
(283 – 304)

Every little girl named Lucy must bite her tongue in disappointment when she first tries to find out what there is to know about her patron saint. The older books will have a lengthy paragraph detailing a small number of traditions. Newer books will have a lengthy paragraph showing that there is little basis in history for these traditions. The single fact survives that a disappointed suitor accused Lucy of being a Christian, and she was executed in Syracuse, Sicily, in the year 304. But it is also true that her name is mentioned in the First Eucharistic Prayer, geographical places are named after her, a popular song has her name as its title, and down through the centuries many thousands of little girls have been proud of the name Lucy.

One can easily imagine what a young Christian woman had to contend with in pagan Sicily in the year 300. If you have trouble imagining, just glance at today's pleasure-at-all-costs world and the barriers it presents against leading a good Christian life.

Her friends must have wondered aloud about this hero of Lucy's, an obscure itinerant preacher in a far-off captive nation that had been destroyed more than 200 years before. Once a carpenter, he had been crucified by the Romans after his own people turned him over to their authority. Lucy believed with her whole soul that this man had risen from the dead. Heaven had put a stamp on all he said and did. To give witness to her faith she had made a vow of virginity.

What a hubbub this caused among her pagan friends! The kindlier ones just thought her a little strange. To be pure before marriage was an ancient Roman ideal, rarely found, but not to be condemned. To exclude marriage altogether, however, was too much. She must have something sinister to hide, the tongues wagged.

Lucy knew of the heroism of earlier virgin martyrs. She remained faithful to their example and to the example of the carpenter, whom she knew to be the Son of God. She is the patroness of eyesight.

If you are a little girl named Lucy, you need not bite your tongue in disappointment. Your patron is a genuine authentic heroine, first class, an abiding inspiration for you and for all Christians. The moral courage of the young Sicilian martyr shines forth as a guiding light, just as bright for today's youth as it was in A.D. 304.

Saint Lucy is the Patron Saint of:
The Blind
Eye Disorders


Memorial of Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr

Reading 1 Is 41:13-20

I am the LORD, your God,
who grasp your right hand;
It is I who say to you, "Fear not,
I will help you."
Fear not, O worm Jacob,
O maggot Israel;
I will help you, says the LORD;
your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
I will make of you a threshing sledge,
sharp, new, and double-edged,
To thresh the mountains and crush them,
to make the hills like chaff.
When you winnow them, the wind shall carry them off
and the storm shall scatter them.
But you shall rejoice in the LORD,
and glory in the Holy One of Israel.

The afflicted and the needy seek water in vain,
their tongues are parched with thirst.
I, the LORD, will answer them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
I will open up rivers on the bare heights,
and fountains in the broad valleys;
I will turn the desert into a marshland,
and the dry ground into springs of water.
I will plant in the desert the cedar,
acacia, myrtle, and olive;
I will set in the wasteland the cypress,
together with the plane tree and the pine,
That all may see and know,
observe and understand,
That the hand of the LORD has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 145:1 and 9, 10-11, 12-13ab
R. (8) The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.
I will extol you, O my God and King,
and I will bless your name forever and ever.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.
Let them make known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.

Alleluia See Is 45:8
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Let the clouds rain down the Just One,
and the earth bring forth a Savior.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 11:11-15

Jesus said to the crowds:
"Amen, I say to you,
among those born of women
there has been none greater than John the Baptist;
yet the least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
From the days of John the Baptist until now,
the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence,
and the violent are taking it by force.
All the prophets and the law prophesied up to the time of John.
And if you are willing to accept it,
he is Elijah, the one who is to come.
Whoever has ears ought to hear."


Meditation: Psalm 145:1, 9-13

Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr (Memorial)

Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom. (Psalm 145:11)

We're less than two weeks from Christmas, and the Scripture readings chosen by the Church are starting to give us a sense of just how big God's plan is. The coming of his glorious kingdom had been in the works for a long time, and now that it is here, it is meant "for all ages" to come—including ours (Psalm 145:13).

Today's psalm gives us one tool that can help us become more aware of God's kingdom already present in our midst. It's pretty simple: "discourse" about it (Psalm 145:11). Talk about some of the things that you see God doing through his people and through his Church. These are signs of the "glory" of his "kingdom," and they can fill your heart with greater hope and gratitude this Advent.

Here are a few examples to help you start:

"Lord, in your kingdom, people's physical needs are met. Through the hard work of countless organizations, you feed the hungry, give homes to the displaced, and care for the sick and dying. There is no vulnerable person that you do not long to fill up and strengthen through compassionate and loving hands.

"In your kingdom, Lord, peace and goodwill triumph over violence and malice. You inspire families to open their homes for adoption and foster care. You cause neighbors to rally around struggling community members. You soften the hearts of parents toward their children, and children toward their parents. You inspire countless acts of generosity.

"Father, in your kingdom, unity and mutual respect overcome all divisions. You bring together people of different faiths in common causes to show that we are all your sheep and that you love unity and brotherhood.

"All of this shows what a mighty, loving, and kind God you are. What a blessing it is to live in a world where your kingdom shines so brightly!"

Try to keep your eyes open for signs of the kingdom around you. The signs are there so that you can "observe and understand that the hand of the Lord has done this" (Isaiah 41:20). Keep this up over the next two weeks, and by the time Christmas comes, your heart will feel a little lighter, and your love for God will grow a little deeper.

"Jesus, open our eyes to the glory of your kingdom in our midst."

Isaiah 41:13-20
Matthew 11:11-15


2 cents :

"I will help you, says the LORD; your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. I will make of you a threshing sledge, sharp, new, and double-edged, To thresh the mountains and crush them...".

So our Lord will help us become a sword? A sharp, double edged sword at that! Why? Because His Word is designed to cut the heart. To separate bone and marrow. "For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12. WOW! That is a super sharp sword. Dividing soul and spirit? I mean, that goes beyond human bones. And speaking of which, there is a verse that says "Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil. This will bring healing to your body and refreshment to your bones".

Some scripture talks about this "refeshment" as marrow. This swords aims to fill, with a new blood formed within. Think Jesus. ""On this mountain, the LORD of the Heavenly Armies will prepare for all peoples a banquet of rich food, a banquet of well-aged wines— rich food full of marrow, and refined wines of the finest vintage" Ahh. Again, swords and armies, and marrow. We shall touch upon this in the Holy Gospel.

Let us pray: "The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness. Let them make known to men your might and the glorious splendor of your Kingdom. Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages, and your dominion endures through all generations." In the first days of Christianity, Saint Paul write with a new heart, with new blood in his soul. He also expected, like many, the second coming, the Parousia, to come any time now. To this day, we are expecting the second coming. But, thanks be to God, His Kingdom is for all ages, and our age too. We are living in it as baptized souls. For this, let us turn to our Lord.

Our Lord said of Saint John the Baptist "...there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he. " WOW. Saint John the baptist was a living prophet, for Jesus called him the new Elijah. Elijah was a voice crying out in the desert, even persecuted. Elijah performed great miracles and was taken to Heaven in a chariot of fire. Again, armies, swords, and marrow. So we've covered the army part, and the great warrior is the winning conquerer....Jesus. Jesus says in John 16:33 "I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world." Again armies, swords, and marrow. Where does the marrow come in? The marrow speaks. Jesus speaks. He is the new blood provider. Marrow makes blood. His body turns to blood in Eucharistic miracles, blood gives life. Jesus talks about violence in the world. Some say that Jesus meant how we have to take the Kingdom by force. As if forcing ourselves. I thought about this yesterday, the whole forcing issue. I am a father. I force my children to pray. I force them to go to church. Don't you have to teach? Don't you? The world nowadays says "let them decide". Just like their own gender. They let toddlers choose their gender. That is NOT what God wants. We must force ourselves to be saints. We must force ourselves to be perfect. I asked my ccd kids "does Jesus ever say to be perfect?" Long awkward silence. "No" they said. I said "Wrong. He calls us to be perfect" Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:48. He speaks about loving your enemies! And then I asked, "is it possible to be perfect?". Long weird silence. "No". I said 'That is EXACTLY what the world is teaching you, but it is wrong. I said Phillipians 4:13 "everything is possible with Christ who strengthens us". Mark 9:23 "Everything is possible for one who believes....". These are words from the great Warrior. The one who faced Goliath head Himself! JESUS. The new David, prophesied by the new Elijah. Jesus took on the world and all its negative and the positive won....look at the cross. Marrow poor, pours forth blood. They say one drop of this blood can change and heal anything. WOW. It is true...for one who believes. You must force what is not "natural" to be natural. We were made in His image. Holy. Our Lord desires this work. Whoever has ears ought to hear. Ears for the listening. Ears attuned to the Holy Spirit. It is not longer a calling. It is a Way. One more thing. Elijah was said to have raised a dead son of a widow. They say Mother Mary was possibly widowed. Jesus was her ONLY Son. Unlike protestant thought of her impurity. I digress. Saint John baptizes her only Son. Jesus raises from the dead. WAAAAAA? Get the hint? There is a new baptism. Saint John said "no you baptize ME!" but Jesus said "No, this is how it must be fulfilled". Baptism is AMAZING. Raising of the dead is now for the baptized. The dead come to life with a new blood. JESUS.

ADVENT is ALL about this. Coming to life. A new baby means a new life.

Your new life awaits Jesus.

Jesus you are awesome.

Jesus, we can't wait to be with you....FOREVER




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