Out of the silence of Mary's womb, a baby emerged into a world of human struggle. The infant, born in a stable in Bethlehem, outgrew the manger in which he was laid and the swaddling bands in which he was wrapped, as he would later leave the tomb and throw off the wrappings of death. Jesus of Nazareth grew up to challenge his world and ours with the promise of everlasting love. With his hands, he offered a healing touch; with his arms, he held and consoled; with his feet, he walked with his friends and disciples. And after all was said and done he offered his very body and blood. The Word was consumed in the wordless eloquence of the cross and the silence of the empty tomb. Out of that silence is raised a passionate belief in promise, in covenant. When despair overwhelms us, when promises suddenly seem empty, when it seems that we're surrounded by dashed dreams and disappointment, by love betrayed and friendships faltering, we remember that we've staked our lives on the belief that only through death is there life.
Out of the silence, we must go forth and proclaim the love of God alive and dwelling in our midst. To this love we commit all that we are and all that we can become. We follow Jesus of Nazareth. We love as he loved. And so we are called to bring a healing touch to those who hurt, to gather people into a loving embrace, to cry out at the horrors of oppression and destruction, to cherish the gifts of creation in all its varied forms.
We must become the word of love spoken by God in our hearts. We must become the Good News made flesh for our world.
—from the book Simple Gifts: Daily Reflections for Advent by Diane M. Houdek
†Saint Quote "If you want God to hear your prayers, hear the voice of the poor. If you wish God to anticipate your wants, provide those of the needy without waiting for them to ask you." – St. Thomas of Villanova
†MEDITATION OF THE DAY "It is undoubtedly true that each of us, men and women, irresponsible and thoughtless as we often are, hold within our hands the happiness and sorrows of others. We cannot help it or escape from it. The power is in us inalienably almost from birth to death—in us, because we are persons—and we are responsible for the use we make of it. Indeed, so mysterious is this power that the very presence of a person who does not realize his responsibility is often the source of the keenest pain of all . . . The failure to exercise the power to give happiness to others is not merely negative in its results; it is the source of the most positive suffering of all. Thus there is no escape from the responsibility involved in the possession of this power. Not to use it where it is due is to destroy all happiness. Strange power, indeed, to be committed to such weak and unworthy hands; yet there could be but one thing worse: that none could interfere with the joys and sorrows of others. We might envy their happiness and pity their sorrows, but we could not help them. It would be a world of isolated individuals wrapped in inviolable selfishness; each must take care of himself and the world must go its way." — Fr. Basil W. Maturin, p. 149 AN EXCERPT FROM Christian Self-Mastery
†VERSE OF THE DAY "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears turned to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against evildoers." 1 Peter 3:12
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ST. JOHN NEUMANN
St. John Neumann (1811-1860) was born in Bohemia in what is now the Czech Republic. He entered the seminary, and when the day came for his ordination to the priesthood, his bishop fell ill and couldn't proceed with the ceremony. However, because Bohemia had an over-abundance of priests, John's ordination was never rescheduled. Undeterred in pursuing his priestly vocation, John decided to go to America to seek ordination. He came to the United States in 1836 as a missionary priest to serve America's European immigrant population. He was ordained in New York, joined the Redemptorists, and was later consecrated a bishop. He is famous for knowing twelve languages and for being the first American man and American bishop to be canonized. St. John Neumann left his impact on the United States by building a vast number of churches, schools, hospitals, and orphanages. The number of parochial school students greatly increased in his diocese. St. John Neumann had a strong effect on the religious life of the laity in the United States, especially in his promotion of devotion to the Holy Eucharist. His feast day is January 5th.
Memorial of Saint John Neumann, Bishop
Lectionary: 213 Reading I
1 Jn 4:7-10
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only-begotten Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.
72:1-2, 3-4, 7-8
R. (see 11) Lord, every nation on earth will adore you. O God, with your judgment endow the king, and with your justice, the king's son; He shall govern your people with justice and your afflicted ones with judgment. R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you. The mountains shall yield peace for the people, and the hills justice. He shall defend the afflicted among the people, save the children of the poor. R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you. Justice shall flower in his days, and profound peace, till the moon be no more. May he rule from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia. The Lord has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor and to proclaim liberty to captives. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said, "This is a deserted place and it is already very late. Dismiss them so that they can go to the surrounding farms and villages and buy themselves something to eat." He said to them in reply, "Give them some food yourselves." But they said to him, "Are we to buy two hundred days' wages worth of food and give it to them to eat?" He asked them, "How many loaves do you have? Go and see." And when they had found out they said, "Five loaves and two fish." So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass. The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties. Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; he also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied. And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments and what was left of the fish. Those who ate of the loaves were five thousand men.
Daily Meditation: 1 John 4:7-10
Let us love one another. (1 John 4:7)
Picture a comic strip in which Mom and Dad go out for the evening and leave their oldest child in charge of the younger ones. As they walk out the door, the kids smile pleasantly and wave good-bye. But the minute the door closes, the children start fighting with each other and tearing the house apart.
We could compare the children in this image to members of the early Church whom John was addressing—and maybe even to us as members of the Church today. Jesus had left his apostles only a few decades earlier, but already they were plagued by discord and division.
John wrote to the Christian community because he wanted them to restore and deepen their fellowship with God and with one another. To foster this unity, he reminded them of two things that can also help us today.
First, John told them that God's redeeming love for us springs from his own initiative, not ours. His love for us is not based on whether we are right or wrong. It's not based on how hard we have worked to build his kingdom. It's just who he is—love!
Second, God loves that other person with whom we have major disagreements just as deeply as he loves us. If we stay rooted in this assurance every day, we will find it easier to love the people who upset us. We will find the strength and humility we need to forgive one another and to work together for the good of the Church.
The next time you encounter a Christian who doesn't think like you or who doesn't seem very loving, remember this truth: "Love is of God" (1 John 4:7). It does not come to us as a result of our human perfection. It does not come only to those who are likeminded. And it certainly does not come in just half measures to the weak, the sinful, or the unbelieving.
Can you respond to your "enemies" in a way that reflects God's love? It's not easy, but every effort you make to do this—and every prayer you lift up asking for God's grace to help you—is a powerful sign that God's love has taken root in you.
"Lord, let my love for my brothers and sisters shine as a witness to you."
Psalm 72:1-4, 7-8 Mark 6:34-44
You are a child of grace. If God gave you grace, because he gave it freely, then you should love freely. Do not love God for the sake of a reward; let God be your reward! — St. Augustine
my2cents: "In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only-begotten Son into the world so that we might have life through him." Our Lord revealed Himself. Yesterday Our Lord reveals Himself. Today Our Lord will reveal Himself. Forever If He's done it before, He'll do it again. To who will He reveal Himself? Eve? To Mary? To Abraham? To Moses? To David? Did He ever fully reveal Himself to Elijah? He spoke with Elijah, "the Word Came to Him" is what the bible says. Elijah was the last of the prophets at that time, and they sought to take his life. Who? The worldly to devour, the worldly with their chosen gods. But our Lord reveals Himself. The Word will speak to you my child. The Word that you consume will become one with you and you will become one with Him.
We pray: "The mountains shall yield peace for the people, and the hills justice. He shall defend the afflicted among the people, save the children of the poor. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you." The mountains yielded peace. He fed them in peace. He gave Himself on the mountain. He did so then, and He does so today, and He will forever.
"When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things." They were like vagabonds, a flock without a ... guide, a teacher. Isn't the world like that today? There is a huge flock without a shepherd. Oh yes, the Church is here as the Shepherd, but does the Church go out? Does Christ go out to meet them? How in the world did thousands wind up alone with Him on the mountain? He had begun the ministry of the Word and healing, and that would lead to the Ministry of the Eucharist, the bread of His very self, miraculous in every moment. They were hungry for the Word, for the Truth. They were hungry for liberation from bondage. They wanted life. They wanted to hear that...God loves them. In the end, that's what we seek, someone to love us truly and forever, right my child? You are loved, just like you were yesterday, and today, and forever. Now, how do we respond to that kind of love?
From Bishop Barron today: "Friends, in today's Gospel, Jesus feeds the five thousand. There is no better exemplification in the Scriptures of what I have called the loop of grace. God offers, as a sheer grace, the gift of being, but if we try to cling to that gift and make it our own, we lose it. The hungry people who gather around Jesus in this scene are symbolic of the hungry human race, starving from the time of Adam and Eve for what will satisfy. In imitation of our first parents, we have tried to fill up the emptiness with wealth, pleasure, power, honor, the sheer love of domination—but none of it works, precisely because we have all been wired for God and God is nothing but love. It is only when we conform ourselves to the way of love that we are filled. Thus, the five loaves and two fish symbolize that which has been given to us, all that we have received as a grace from God. If we appropriate it, we lose it. But if we turn it over to Christ, then we will find it transfigured and multiplied, even unto the feeding of the world."
Lord, I want to respond to your amazing Love. Lord, I want you to be my King, My Love, My All. Because after they ate, they wanted you to be King. I've eaten, and I want to make you My King, and for that I seek you, all the day, and all the night...because I tasted...Love, and I want more forever
Random online bible verse: Ps 121 5 The LORD is your keeper;
the LORD is your shade on your right hand. 6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
If one day you don't receive these, just visit Going4th.com God Bless You! Peace
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