Wednesday, December 7, 2022

December 7 2022 Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent

Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. (Mt. 28:11)

For the Christian, our ultimate hope must be Jesus Christ and the Gospel.  He came into the world to redeem us, to open the possibility of eternal life in perfect love and joy with God. But our lives are lived in the world. The challenge is not to hide from the world; we feel compelled to work for truth and justice and to let others know of the Lord's love and desire for them to live in faith, hope and love. This work begins with our witness, how we live each day and each moment. 

In order for us to truly live in the world, but not of the world, we need to remain united to the Lord. We need to constantly be listening for His voice and seeking to live out his will for us.  We need to follow Jesus' example in the Gospels and constantly take time to spend with Him in prayer--not just liturgical, communal prayer (but that is a must also), but time in quiet, to be in His presence and to simple be-to rest.

In the chaos of the day ahead, look for some time when you can just be in the quiet, whether it be 5 or 10 or 15 minutes.  Force it into your schedule if have to.  This will keep you rooted and focused on what matters in life. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

December 6 2022 Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent

 Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. (Is. 40:1)

Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care. (Is 40:11)

If you google 'comfort' one of the definitions given is "the easing or alleviation of a person's feelings of grief or distress." 

Notice it doesn't say, the resolving of the problems that lead to feelings of grief or distress.  Comfort is very important in that it gives us a breather and strengthens us to persevere in dealing those things that drain us, stress us out or cause anxiety or distress in our lives.  It's not just living in the world that can cause this distress, even in our spiritual lives, in our battle against self-centeredness and dying to self, we can become wearied and anxious.  We need to be comforted at times.

The readings today gives us the image of the Good Shepherd, the Lord who continually reaches out to us despite our failures and sins, despite the chaos we may find ourselves in. In Ezekiel the Lord says that 'the lost I will search out, the strays I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, and the sick I will heal.'(Ez 34:16)

Today take some time to rest, to reflect that the Lord loves you so much, he continually reaches out to you to bring you comfort, to strengthen you, to heal you and to walk each moment with you.

Monday, December 5, 2022

December 5 2022 Monday of the Second Week of Advent

And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed;
they were trying to bring him in and set him in his presence. But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles into the middle in front of Jesus. 

When Jesus saw their faith, he said,“As for you, your sins are forgiven.” (Lk 5:18-20)

The Christian's life has Jesus Christ at the center.  He is the ultimate desire and source of joy.  The spiritual life is one of seeking a closer, more perfect bond of love and faith with Him. Yet, there are obstacles to this relationship, namely sin.

Anxiety, fear, self-centeredness, sin can paralyze us spiritually.  We need to be healed, forgiven.  Yet, even knowing that, we can at times falter in seeking and accepting the Lord's love and forgiveness.  The paralytic needed the help of others. So do we.

Our faith is not meant to be, nor can it be, lived by ourselves.  It is never just me and Jesus.  We were baptized into the Body of Christ. We need the help of others to grow in faith, to live for Jesus alone and to seek His healing.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Dec 4, 2022 Second Sunday of Advent

 Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Mt. 3:2)

The Baptist calls the people to repentance.  To repent is to have a sincere regret or remorse about one’s wrongdoings and sins. 


The repentance the Gospels call us to is to not just have regret and remorse, but then seek forgiveness from the Lord and to reorder and refocus our lives.  We seek to make Jesus the center of our lives.


The more we nurture this faith and relationship with Him, the more we are transformed. The more we live out our role in this mission of preparing others for an encounter with the Lord.


Our baptism and confirmation configure us to Christ in a special way; a unique relationship.  When we seek to live true to ourselves, we do so with His help.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

December 3, 2022 Saturday of the First Week of Advent

 Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.'  Mt. 9:37-38

The message of hope and joy that Advent is about is a message that is meant to be shared with all the world.  Jesus came into the world to redeem all of humanity. His invitation is for all peoples.  St. Francis Xavier lamented in a letter to St. Ignatius of Loyola that many weren't becoming Christian only for one reason: 'there was no one to make them Christians'.  

The goal and the purpose of the Christian life are the same:  to become saints, that is to live in perfect union with God in eternity and to help everyone else to reach that goal.

Friday, December 2, 2022

December 2, 2022 Friday of the First Week of Advent

 When he entered the house, the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them, 'Do you believe that I can do this?' 'Yes, Lord,' they said to him. (Mt 9:28)

St. Hilary of Poitiers, who lived in the 4th Century, wrote, "The blind men saw because they believed; they did not believe because they saw. From his we understand that what is requested must be predicated on faith and that faith must not be exercised because of what has been obtained."

Faith is a gift that God gives us freely.  Commonly, we refer to faith as our response to that gift. However, it starts with God. Many would see that what the greatest need in today's Gospel was the physical blindness of the men.  Yet, Jesus turns human thinking upside down (once again).  The true joy, peace and fulfillment we so long for in life is found in God alone.  When we unite ourselves to Him by trusting in Him more and giving up the focus on ourselves, we experience a deep healing in our lives that leads us to that joy, peace and fulfillment.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

December 1 2022 Thursday of the First Week of Advent

 Jesus said to his disciples: 'Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.' (Mt. 7:21)

Jesus lays it all out:  if you want to get to heaven, to spend eternity in perfect union with God, you must become a saint.  The path to becoming a saint is to live God's will at all times.  It doesn't take long to discover how difficult that is.

We aren't called carry out some heroic, death defying feat, but simply to love God with all our mind, heart, soul and being.  When we do that, we are eager to live according to that love.  To do so is not an exercise of the mind or simply doing good things.  We may know about Jesus' teachings, be able to quote them word for word, but if we are not in love with Him, if He is not the focus of our hearts and lives, it doesn't matter what we know. 

This Christian faith is about living a real, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.  Those aren't just words. Such a relationship involves commitment, desire, time spent with the beloved listening, learning and working together.

December 7 2022 Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent

Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. (Mt. 28:11) For the Christian, our ultimate hope must be Jesus Chr...