Monday, December 31, 2018

⛪ Nor by human choice

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Jesus Is Forever

We're approaching the end of the Christmas season. Soon we will be back to the ordinary routines of our life. But if we have celebrated the feast of the incarnation well, our lives will be changed. We don't know what the new year will hold for us, for our families, for the world. But we know that God will continue to be with us. As we look back at the significant events of the past year, both the joys and the sorrows, the highs and the lows, we can see how God has shaped us and strengthened us for what lies ahead. 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.

—from the book The Peace of Christmas: Quiet Reflections with Pope Francis


"For prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God."
— St. Teresa of Avila

"While other martyrs suffered by sacrificing their own lives, the Blessed Virgin suffered by sacrificing her Son's life—a life that she loved far more than her own. So she not only suffered in her soul all that her Son endured in his body. In addition, the sight of her Son's torments brought more grief to her heart than if she had endured them all in her own person. No one can doubt that Mary suffered in her heart all the outrages that she saw inflicted on her beloved Jesus. Anyone can understand that the sufferings of children are also those of their mothers who witness them."
— St. Alphonsus Liguori, p. 331
A Year with Mary

"Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. The LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail."
Isaiah 58:9-11


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Pope St. Sylvester (c. 250-335 A.D.) was born in Rome and raised as a Christian under the care of pious parents, and the religious instruction of a devout priest. He was later ordained to Holy Orders in Rome, and witnessed the outbreak of Christian persecution under the Emperor Diocletian. During this time he became well-known as a good and holy priest, so much so that when the Pope died, Sylvester was appointed the new Bishop of Rome. Little is known about Pope St. Sylvester other than the many important events in Church history that occurred under his pontificate. He was the reigning pope during the Council of Nicea which condemned the Arian heresy and established the Nicene Creed; he was the Holy Father who converted and baptized the Roman Emperor Constantine; Rome's greatest churches were built under his direction by Constantine, including St. John Lateran, St. Peter's, and Santa Croce; and the Church saw the beginnings of temporal prosperity and the establishment of the Christian Roman Empire. Sylvester was Pope from 314 A.D. until his death in 335 A.D. His feast day is December 31st.


The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas

Reading 1 1 Jn 2:18-21

Children, it is the last hour;
and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming,
so now many antichrists have appeared.
Thus we know this is the last hour.
They went out from us, but they were not really of our number;
if they had been, they would have remained with us.
Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number.
But you have the anointing that comes from the Holy One,
and you all have knowledge.
I write to you not because you do not know the truth
but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth

Responsorial Psalm PS 96:1-2, 11-12, 13
R. (11a) Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name;
announce his salvation, day after day.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult before the LORD.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
The LORD comes,
he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!

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 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.

A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man's decision
but of God.

And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father's only-begotten Son,
full of grace and truth.

John testified to him and cried out, saying,
"This was he of whom I said,
'The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.'"
From his fullness we have all received,
grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The only-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father's side,
has revealed him.


Meditation: John 1:1-18

7th Day within the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord

We saw his glory. (John 1:14)

Before God became man in Jesus, the closest that any ordinary Jewish person came to "seeing" God's glory occurred just once a year on the Day of Atonement. On that day, and only on that day, the high priest was allowed to enter the inner sanctuary of the Temple where God dwelt. No one else could encounter God and experience his glory face to face.

But when Jesus became one of us, he gave all of us the privilege of seeing God's glory—because he himself is the glory of God! Jesus made something that was abstract into something that was personal and real. Imagine the emotion that his disciples felt when they told their fellow Jews, "No one has ever seen God," but "we have seen his glory."

Today's Gospel contains many statements about Jesus that can sound abstract and a little mysterious. He is the bearer of "grace and truth" (John 1:14), the light shining "in the darkness" (1:5), and the one through whom we receive life (1:12). But far from being abstract, these words don't describe something God does in a vacuum. They describe what Jesus wants to do for each of us.

Jesus wants to show you the difference between true life-giving thoughts and toxic, negative ones. He wants to shine the light of his mercy on the situations that you find hopeless and disappointing. And he wants to take the areas of your heart that feel dead and give them fresh strength and newness. Whatever it is that you most need, God has sent his Son to help you. He sent his Son so that you too could proclaim "I have seen his glory."

God is not far away! He dwells with you and he wants to reveal himself to you in your everyday circumstances. So as you look toward 2019, spend some time asking him where you most need to see his glory in your life. Surrender those areas to him. Ask him how he wants to show you his grace and his truth in those situations in the coming year.

Jesus came to dwell among us so that we could witness his glory in every area of our lives—even those we have most given up on!

"Lord, open my eyes so that I can see your glory each day of this new year."

1 John 2:18-21
Psalm 96:1-2, 11-13


2 cents :
" now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour." In the protestant world, they are cautiously analyzing the "antichrist's coming". They say that the "left behind" and the "tribulations" will begin then. But these are all theories they've devised, and it is not all truth. For the spirit of the antichrist persists and exists from the day of our Lord to this day we live. There are those that are giving breath to this spirit. Anything Catholic, they despise. And it is not a particular group, not just the satanic, not just the atheist, not just the agnostic, because evil can exist through any group it invades. And how does it invade? Sometimes when you are caught unaware, but most often, through permission. When you give permission to sin. That is when you let evil in. That is when the antichrist breathes. So why should it breathe through you, or your family, or loved ones? It shall not! New year's is coming. The resolution of a healthy body is hogwash if the spirit is corroded. For we are one in body and spirit. Indeed, we have been incorporated into Christ through our Baptism!!


Let us pray: "Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice! Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands. Sing to the LORD; bless his name; announce his salvation, day after day. " Did you know that the first day of the year is a Holy Day of Obligation? If not, now you do! Sing to the Lord a New song, a new year, a new life. How? Be faithful. Is that new? Being faithful is out of style to some, they want something different. Something then....unfaithful. People get bored, of Mass, of Church, of Religion. Why? When you lose love for your loved one, you lose interest. It is a fact of choice. People want choice now, freedom. Darkness. In the light, you can see new things. In the dark, you can not see anything new. I then beg you, to remain, faithful and true, and you too will see greater things than this.

In today's Holy Gospel, we heard: "What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race". In the world, there are two forces at work, dark, and light. There is always more light than there is darkness. But we focus on the dark. Just like on this white page background you read from, you are focusing on the dark letters. But look at how much white there is around! Way more!! It is like that in the world. But you need darkness to see light. People ask why there is so much evil in the world. In my part of our state, my next door city, they say we are the most violent city in the state, and a few hours away, we are next to the most violent city in the world, (was for many years straight). It is true, there is some violence, and some bad things going on, but there are also hundreds of thousands of good people. But we do have to be on guard for the bad, dark cells, for they can spread all over. It is the same in the spirit world, in your spiritual world. Be careful what bad spiritual cells are in your system. Many a time, or most the time, these can only be healed in confession, and by remaining with the Christ community. Evil loves lonely lambs that say "I don't need any church". Watch the leaven they put forth. It is better to associate yourself with the faithful. It is better for you to be that faithful one. That servant one. And if you serve in church, serve Love, and serve God. Don't complain about the people. That is pointing the finger for you are of the people.

Did you know that "pointing the finger" was spoken about centuries before Christ enters the world? It was mentioned in today's "Verse of the Day".
"...If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. " It speaks on how to overcome darkness. It speaks of serving. It speaks of being Love...thus God Himself, indeed, for we are the body of our Lord, especially those of us in Holy Communion. That is, IF, you offer YOUR food to the hungry and satisfying needs of the afflicted.
Who are the hungry and needy?
Starving souls look healthy. Starving souls aren't those laying on the streets in rags. Many of those homeless are beautiful souls that love God. On the contrary, there are healthy people starving for light. Their bodies are fine, but they only move at night. They are moved by darkness. The ways of the world are darkness. It is a broad road that many take to. Starving souls are quiet about faith. Starving souls do not have energy to do God things or go to Church. Feed my Lambs. Feed My Sheep. How? Feed them Love, and whence they eat a morsel, tell them how much God loves them and yearns for full communion with them, a full plate for them. Pray for them. More. You are a saintly intercessor with power to bind and loose with what you do.

Most of our problems in our day is that we let people do and think whatever they please. This raises a twisted child, a twisted generation. Because it was deprived of spiritual nourishment, then it becomes depraved.

So let us begin with a nourishing mother tomorrow, Theotokos, the Mother of God. For she was not divine, but God is Divinity, and makes us in Himself. If the Heavens are pleased with this, it means God is pleased that we too can love, at least a bit, compared to how He does, day after day, hour after hour, year after year.....



Pray with your family tonight and tomorrow, and then make it a habit...

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