In Joseph, we see our salvation…

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Saint Joseph by Guido Reni, c. 1640.

Saint Joseph by Guido Reni, c. 1640. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, an epiphany about what Joseph means to our salvation.  As much as the Feast of Mary, the Mother of God heralded her role as the first image of heaven on Monday to me, today’s Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus shows me that Joseph reveals to us the name of our Savior.  This may not sound like much, but without his compliance with the word given to him by an angel about the name of Jesus, his foster son, we would not have his name to lead us to the Father in heaven…Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner…Amen!

 

 

If God is calling, I should listen and respond quickly…Right?

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The Second Coming of Christ window at St. Matt...

Second Coming of Christ

Gift:  Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe) – With the gift of wonder and awe (fear of the lord), we are aware of the glory and majesty of God. A person with wonder and awe knows that God is the perfection of all we desire: perfect knowledge, perfect goodness, perfect power, and perfect love.

Reading:  Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God; let it be deep as Sheol, or high as the sky!*  (Isaiah 7:11)

Observation:  Before I started reading this morning, my Twitter friend, Father Mabura

, tweeted that we should ask for a sign.  It was a reference to this chapter and verse that I have quoted above.  However, I ignored it because I received a Twitter post of the daily readings right after that said to “Let the Lord enter; he is the king of glory.”  It was in reference to the response from the responsorial psalm for the today’s readings.  The reason I should not have ignored it, because when I looked out the window, I saw a beautiful sunrise, similar to one I saw just the other day that almost made me get in an accident driving or at least a reckless driving ticket.  Fortunately, I didn’t get either, but the memory of that sunrise that morning and again this morning, I believe is a sign of something that is coming.  It could be that it is the coming celebration of Christmas that God is reminding me of, as if we need any reminders of that.  It could be that I need to remember that the second coming of Jesus is going to come like a thief in the night, and I need to make sure that I am prepared, as well as those people that I can have an effect on to call them to conversion.

Personification:  Joy  It is sometimes difficult to remember to display real joy during this time of year.  There seems to be so much counterfeit joy that is supported by consumerism in our society, that the real joy of the incarnation of God’s Son in our world is lost.  I want to remember this week, as we prepare for Christmas, that the real celebration is about God’s coming into our reality to show us the way to really love each other.

Prayer:  Lord, let me be an instrument of joy in your world today and everyday that I have left here to share your joy with everyone I come in contact with.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

A nazirite vow…

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Gift:  Fortitude (Courage) – With the gift of courage, we overcome our fear and are willing to take risk as a follower of Jesus. A person with courage is willing to stand up for what is right in the sight of God, even if it means accepting rejection, verbal abuse, or even physical harm and death.

Reading:  The woman went and told her husband, “A man of God came to me; he had the appearance of an angel of God, fearsome indeed. I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name. But he said to me, ‘You will conceive and bear a son. So drink no wine or beer, and eat nothing unclean. For the boy shall be a nazirite for God from the womb, until the day of his death.’”  (Judges 13:6-7)

Observation:  As I sat through Mass in Spanish this morning, I have to say it was quite difficult since I had not read the readings before I came to Mass and heard them read in Spanish.  I thought I was actually understanding more Spanish until this morning, when I realized that I still have a lot to learn.  Anyway, the message that I got came to me as I was reading the readings later.  I realized that the story of the first reading was about Samson and not about John the Baptist as I thought when I heard it at Mass.  Also, I saw an opportunity to deepen my faith this last week of Advent by taking this nazirite vow for myself.  If you look up the reference or footnotes on this reading, it explains that this nazirite vow can be taken for any amount of time.

Personification:  Faithfulness  I think it would be a great way to display my faithfulness to God by taking this nazirite vow for the remainder of the days that we have left until Christmas.  Since I have been growing my beard out for a while, no one will notice that part and the abstaining from strong drink and wine, shouldn’t really raise any eyebrows, except at our staff Christmas Party tomorrow night.  I am not concerned if anyone knows about my vow, but I would rather just fly under the radar about it.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Great Advent message – Parents turn back your hearts to your children…

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English: elijah statue in mukhraka monastery o...
Image via Wikipedia

Gift: Knowledge – With the gift of knowledge, we understand the meaning of God’s Revelation, especially as expressed in the life and words of Jesus Christ. A person with knowledge is always learning more about the scriptures and Tradition.

Reading:  You are destined, it is written, in time to come to put an end to wrath before the day of the LORD, To turn back the hearts of parents toward their children, and to re-establish the tribes of Israel.  (Sirach 48:10)

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He said in reply,*Elijah will indeed come and restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased. So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.”  (Matthew 17:11-12)

Observation:  In the first reading and the gospel for today’s Mass, we hear a great message for Advent, as I said in the title for my post today.  Maybe if you just read the first reading today from the book of Sirach and did not hear the message of the Gospel of Matthew, which recounts Jesus’ words about the fact that Elijah had already returned, you could still feel justified, as a parent, in waiting for his return to turn your hearts to your children.  Fortunately, for us, we have Jesus’ words to tell us that we must turn our hearts to our children at this time, because the time has already come when our hearts are turned back to our children.

Personification:  Generosity  It is up to me to decide what I have to give to my children, with the divine inspiration of the holy Spirit to guide me.  I hope that I can display the fruit of generosity today to everyone, especially my children.  Whether that is the time that I will spend with them or the stuff that I will buy them for Christmas, I want to be more giving of myself today.

Prayer:  Lord, as we get closer to the day that we celebrate the birth of Jesus, help me and my family to stay focused on the real meaning of the incarnation.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Repent, and prepare for the coming kingdom right now…

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Saint Paul Writing His Epistles, 16th century ...

Image via Wikipedia

Gift:  Understanding – With the gift of understanding, we comprehend how we need to live as a follower of Jesus Christ. A person with understanding is not confused by all the conflicting messages in our culture about the right way to live.

Reading:    1 2 For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.  (Galatians 5:1)

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9 While still more people gathered in the crowd, he said to them, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.  (Luke 11:29-30)

Observation:  This morning, I was looking for the easy way to explain these two readings, and I don’t think I achieved that.  What I found was that Paul’s exhortation to the Galatians and Jesus admonition to the Pharisees could just as easily been addressed to me today as them in their time.  Our church can get too caught up in the seasons and forget that we should be living in the moment.  Why wait for Advent to start preparing for Christmas?  I mean logically we know that Jesus was born over 2000 years ago, he is not going to be born again at Christmas this year.  As Father Michael Manning says in his reflection today from the Video Reflections on the USCCB website, we should be enjoying the signs that we have in the sacraments with a joyful awareness of God’s love that is present in all the symbolism that exist in them, especially the Eucharist.

Personification:  Joy – The ability to celebrate life even in the midst of pain and confusion.    I will try to be displaying the fruit of joy in my life today as I attend our communion service this morning.  Even though we do not have the opportunity to celebrate Mass, I should be aware of the mysterious presence of our Lord in the sacrament of the Eucharist this morning and every time I receive it, and I should react with the joy that should come with the knowledge that Jesus gave us this sign that he is always with us.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to be aware of your presence in our world today and help me to prepare for whatever is coming.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.