If his grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking…wow!
Reading: He was in the beginning with God. From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, 11 because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:2,16-17)
Observation: I had the song, “How he loves” by the David Crowder band playing in my head this morning when I woke up. Of course, I was looking for something that related in the readings for today and I think I get the message that He was sending me this morning. The first verse that I selected from the second verse of the Gospel of John from today’s readings follows the message that I received yesterday from the first letter of John, that because of my status as a father of three boys I can take solace in the fact that I know “him who is from the beginning”. I will let the song and yesterday’s video explain the other two verses.
Personification: Goodness I think I chose the fruit of goodness to focus on today because the only things that are truly good in God’s eyes come from him. So, I will need his grace to overflow to me to allow me to display the fruit of goodness in my life.
Prayer: Lord, help me to display your goodness through my actions today. I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
A different version of the same video I posted with the same message from a late Pastor…(The other version came up when I searched for “because you know him who is from the beginning”, and I saw this other version when I clicked on the first version to watch it on youtube.)
Reading: I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. (1 John 2:13a,14b)
Observation: Either, there was something lost in translation in the first reading today from the book of 1st John, or it is pretty obvious that I should be hearing a clear message this morning. The Word of God is telling me this morning that He knows that I know him who is from the beginning. Now, I guess there are two ways that I can take this and since it is written twice, I am going to accept both ways of understanding. There is a sense of fear that overcomes me to know that God knows that I know him who is from the beginning, because of the expectation that I assume He has of me. There is also a sense of happiness and joy to know that as a father of three boys, I know him who is from the beginning.
Personification: Love (Charity) It is my hope that in knowing him who is from the beginning that means that I can assume that I will be endowed with the grace necessary to display the fruit of love to everyone that I meet today and for the rest of my life. Since God is love, I know him, my task in displaying the fruit of love should be to bring everyone I meet to know Him. In knowing God, I will further assume that his love should flow from me abundantly in order to show others his love.
Prayer: Lord, help me to grow in your love, so that I can give your love to others. I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Reading: The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) 11 so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:33-35)
Observation: Hearing this story from the Gospel reading this morning reminded me of when others would say that one of our sons would be a good Priest some day. I guess I am hearing in this reading this morning, if our children are going to truly follow in the footsteps of Jesus, it will not be an easy road for their parents either. I guess what I am trying to say is that I hope that I can remember that the three different priests who baptized Chad and Kobe and Daijon did say that they would be a sign that would be contradicted just as much as Simeon did at the presentation of our Lord in the Temple, by asking us if we would be raising them as Christians. Thereby, when we agreed to raise them as disciples of Jesus, we agreed to the fact that they would stand up for moral values that stand in contrast to what our society says is ok. They will hopefully swim against the current of selfish gratification that exists in this world and hopefully be true disciples of Jesus Christ, but they will not always be accepted in society if they do that and that will be the sword that will pierce our heart.
Self-Control If I am truly going to be an example to my children of what it takes to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ, I am going to need the grace necessary to display the fruit of self-control in my life. If I am interpreting the dream correctly that I had last night, I need to leave the childish things that I found intriguing behind in my life. The worldly possessions and the need to be accepted by the cool crowd is something, at age 38, I need to leave behind me if I am going to be able to display self-control to my boys and respond to my calling correctly.
Prayer: Lord, help me to display the fruit of self-control in a real way today and for the rest of my life. Please allow me to respond more fully to your call and example the right kind of discipleship to my children. I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The figure of Jeremiah on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, by Michelangelo.
Reading: Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet: “A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more.” (Matthew 2:17-18)
Observation: As I was reading this morning, I remembered the last time that I read this chapter in the book of Matthew. I don’t know if it was in Mass and I heard a homily on it, or if it was in the footnotes of the bible that I was reading, but I read an explanation of why the author of the book of Matthew would talk about Rachel weeping. It may have actually been when I was reading the book of Jeremiah and read the fact that Rachel was from Bethlehem and the author describes her weeping because it would be her descendents that would be killed by Herod when he orders the slaughter of the innocent children in Bethlehem.
Personification: Chastity In order to display the fruit of chastity in my life, as always I will need the grace of the Lord. In a world that is so full of things that would entice a man to lust, especially in his eyes, it is only by the grace of God that I do not find myself constantly in a state of sin where lust is concerned. I am truly thankful to God for giving me my wife to be my partner in life and allowing me to share God’s real gift of love with her.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for helping me to come to a better understanding of your love in my life and giving me a wonderful family to share your love with. Please help me to continue to share your love with everyone that I meet and do not allow me to think like this world thinks as it relates to your love. I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Today is the feast day of the Holy Family…
Reading: My son, take care of your father when he is old; grieve him not as long as he lives. Even if his mind fail, be considerate with him; revile him not in the fullness of your strength. (Sirach 3:12-13)
Observation: I am hearing in this first choice for the first reading today, that I must seek out my Father to take care of him. I pray for him every day, but I am hearing in this reading today that I have a special obligation to not grieve him and to make sure that I don’t revile him in the fullness of my strength.
Personification: Peace I can’t remember the last time I chose peace as the fruit of the spirit to focus on for the day. I guess it is the fact that if I can make peace with my Father than I can have peace that comes from the Holy Spirit residing in me. I don’t know if this makes sense, but I am feeling called today to open myself up to all of the failings of my life, so that I can be a true disciple of Jesus Christ.
Prayer: Lord, help me to be more open to revealing the truths of my past to anyone who wants to hear it, so that your spirit can flow through me to them, and I can better reveal the truth of your good news to them. I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
St Stephen’s Tomb, Vienna
Reading: You are my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake lead and guide me. Free me from the net they have set for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hands I commend my spirit; you will redeem me, LORD, faithful God. (Psalm 31:4-6)
Observation: If you look back on the 24th of December, I journaled on the horn of salvation and the picture that I found to post was taken from later in the 2nd book of Samuel and it related the message of this Psalm again. I think this Psalm was chosen for the church today to join the words from the first reading and the Gospel today because of the way the words that Jesus spoke as he surrendered his spirit on the cross were from the 6th verse, “Into your hands I commend my spirit”, and the Apostle Stephen, who we celebrate his feast day today on the day after Christmas, uttered similar words but directed them specifically to our Lord. He said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Personally, I can think of no better way for us to honor the first Apostle that followed in the footsteps of Jesus and was received into the heavenly kingdom, than to celebrate his feast day on the day after the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Personification: Faith/Fidelity The faith that Stephen has to be able to look into the face of death and ask the Lord to receive his spirit. I want to be able to surrender the way that Jesus did and Stephen. I would imagine that both of them knew that they could have chosen an easier path to spread the good news, but they both surrendered their will completely to the will of the Father. Since Jesus was God, I imagine the surrender to his will was a little easier than Stephen’s, but it doesn’t say that Stephen hesitated and doubted whether or not he should enter the debate with these officials from the Jewish church. I want to be more like Stephen and show the fruit of faith and fidelity in the face of what ever adversity may befall me.
Prayer: St Stephen, pray for me to be filled with the faith and fidelity to walk in the light of truth like you did when questioned by the authority in the church. Please ask God to send down the Holy Spirit to walk with me in the face of whatever adversity that may befall me. I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The text from the picture is from the same book of Samuel that gave us the first reading today, and I found it when I searched for an image from the text from the Gospel reading today…(horn of salvation…hmmm…)
Reading: He has raised up a horn for our salvation within the house of David his servant, even as he promised through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old: (Luke 1:68-69)
And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, (Luke 1:76-77)
Observation: We didn’t have Mass this morning at Saint Alice, because we will actually have three Masses this evening for Christmas Eve. However, I think the readings this morning are very important for me to hear, in that they specifically speak to the fact that the redeemer is prophesied by Nathan as coming from the house of David in the first reading from the 2nd book of Samuel and his way is going to be prepared by his cousin is prophesied by Zachariah, John’s Father, in the Gospel reading from the book of Luke.
Personification: Humility (Gentleness) Today, I feel called to remember the words of the priest at the Mass that I attended yesterday at St Mary’s church. He said that we should look to John the Baptist to see how we should act with humility. John the Baptist words during his ministry that, “He must increase and I must decrease” is a phrase that I would love to be able to pattern my own ministry after, in both my home and my church.
Prayer: Lord, I am thankful to you for coming to us in the form of a baby to remind us of the fact that it is in our humility that we can share the message of salvation with others. Please help me to stay focused on your message always and never get too caught up in what I am trying to say. I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.