As another year draws to an end, let us pause before the manger and express our gratitude to God for all the signs of his generosity in our life and our history, seen in countless ways through the witness of those people who quietly took a risk. A gratitude that is no sterile nostalgia or empty recollection of an idealized and disembodied past, but a living memory, one that helps to generate personal and communal creativity because we know that God is with us. God is with us. Today the Word of God introduces us in a special way, to the meaning of time, to understand that time is not a reality extrinsic to God, simply because he chose to reveal himself and to save us in history. The meaning of time, temporality, is the atmosphere of God's epiphany, namely, of the manifestation of God's mystery and of his concrete love.
—from the book The Peace of Christmas: Quiet Reflections with Pope Francis by Diane M. Houdek
†Saint Quote "For prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God." — St. Teresa of Avila
† MEDITATION OF THE DAY "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 AN EXCERPT FROM A Year with Mary
†VERSE OF THE DAY "Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, Here I am. "If you take away from the midst of you the yoke, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your desire with good things, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters fail not."" Isaiah 58:9-11
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POPE ST. SYLVESTER
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
Lectionary: 204 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.
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!
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.
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.
Daily Meditation: John 1:1-18
In the beginning . . . (John 1:1)
Happy New Year's Eve! Does the thought of another year make you feel a little apprehensive? For many of us, 2020 was hard. We faced a worldwide pandemic, racial unrest, economic instability, and any number of personal highs and lows. You have probably seen your share of uncertainty or insecurity. What can you do? Take a cue from today's Gospel and try going back to the beginning (John 1:1-18).
When your circumstances loom large, contemplating the beginning can help give you some perspective. It can convince you that God's intention hasn't changed. You are still his beloved son or daughter. He still has good plans for you. Reorienting yourself in this way can help drain anxiety and fear and give you a sense of hope and purpose instead.
So let's go back to the beginning by working our way through the first verses of today's Gospel.
"In the beginning was the Word, . . . and the Word was God" (John 1:1). Jesus is God. Before anything began, he existed in the perfect harmony of the Trinity. And he still does today. What's more, he made you for that eternity, and he's calling you to have a share in it.
"All things came to be through him. . . . What came to be through him was life" (John 1:3-4). God made each thing intentionally. Nothing is a mistake. It all serves his desire to share his life and love with his creation. You belong to him, and he is working out everything toward the goal of sharing his love with you.
"This life was the light of the human race; . . . and the darkness has not overcome it" (John 1:4, 5). The fact that God shares his life with us is like a light in the darkness of our world. That light can guide us and help us see things the way he sees them. It cannot be extinguished by darkness. So no matter what you face, look for God's light to dispel any darkness in your heart.
Today is a time of endings, yes, but also beginnings. So as you end this year and anticipate the start of 2021, take some time to go back to the beginning. Let it serve as an anchor at the end of an unsettled year. Let Jesus give you hope for the new things about to start.
"Jesus, you are an eternal, loving God. I can trust you with the future!"
1 John 2:18-21 Psalm 96:1-2, 11-13
There is a rich parallel between farming soil and spiritual soil. It's no accident that one of the most important virtues of the Christian life is humility, a word that stems from the Latin word "humus", meaning "earth", or literally, "on the ground." Humility is a virtue required of men and women alike, and truly the one virtue all the saints hold in common. — Carrie Gress and Noelle Mering from Theology of Home II: The Spiritual Art of Homemaking
my2cents: "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." I write to you truth lovers, you lovers of Christ, you who seek His face constantly. I write to you to encourage you, He will show His face, be not afraid.
We pray: "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.
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!" Day after day. We seek Him, amen? But do we announce His salvation day after day? Let's live every day as if it was a whole new life. A present. A gift of God. Today is another present. It is the present. His Presence is important. Announce His salvation Today.
Our Lord said: "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." This life (of Christ) is the light. His way, living His way is light. Our world constantly faces darkness, that is, things of antichrist.
Can an antichrist come out of your family, friends, or church? Easily, yes. Can antichrist come out of you? Yes. What does this question mean? It means betrayal, and to live contrary to the Way, the Light.
Can the antichrist come out of you? Can we dispel the darkness? What is anti-christ like? It is the opposite of life. The anti christ is evident today. Against life. Against light. Against Christ! The only hope...is you. This is the last year of 2020. There's lots of talk on how people are sick and tired of this year, disgusted with it, all the sickness, all the riots, but is anyone sick of sin?
We can make the anti christ come out of each one of us. That antichrist is sin.
We want the hurt to stop, but do we look to Christ? The other day I slammed my knee into something, and it hurt. Immediately, I offered it to our Lord, I had some pain to offer. I had some thing to offer. Something that wasn't sin. Something that wasn't tangible. Something that is needed to be offered to God. We should offer this whole year. The year that past and the year that is to come, one for the other.
Your bickering and rudeness has to end. Let yourself suffer. Your turning away must end. Turn to Him and face the Face of Truth. Your grumbling and complaining must end. You must live a life of thanksgiving. This is Eucharist. Your looking down on others must end. Our Lord said we cannot look on others with disdain, not even the worst of sinners. What does this mean? Raise them up.
Raise them up from the muck, from the slumps of death. We are not the antiChrist my friend. We are the body of Christ. I write to the body of Christ from the body of Christ. May we face the truth with truth, always and forever.
Lord, this is our prayer. For you are my God. You alone are my all. How can I love You as I ought? I seek you now more in my heart....
Random online bible verse:
22 Without counsel plans fail,
but with many advisers they succeed.
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