Jesus tempted by Satan…to show us victory over evil is possible for his disciples!

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The Temptation of Christ, 1854

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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:   At once the Spirit drove him out into the desert,and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.  (Mark 1:12-13)

Observation:  I believe it was Saint Augustine that wrote the letter that comprised the second reading from the Office of Readings that I read when I first woke up this morning.  He was talking about this Gospel reading when he said that Jesus did not only get tempted, he was victorious over the temptation of Satan.  He went on to say that we should see in the victory of Jesus over Satan’s temptation, a renewed sense of urgency to call on Jesus in our own temptations.  I may have taken a little liberty with his explanation and not gotten it correct, but in the interest of not making my journal a cut and paste effort, I thought I would put his letter into my own words.  The last thing that I noticed about the Gospel of Mark‘s account of the temptation is that, unlike Matthew’s, he does not go into much detail about the temptation, and I think that allows us to relate better to the temptation of Jesus more in the terms of our own temptation.

Personification:   Self-Control  Although I have said this many times before, I am feeling like the fruit of self-control is only going to be displayed if I let go of self and give God the control of my life.  I may not have said it exactly that way before, but I hope that I am finally getting the point of letting God be in control of my life, and not being so concerned with the decisions that I will have to make today or any day for that matter.  I know that if God is control, I will be able to overcome any temptation to selfishness and any decision that I make will be for His glory.

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.

Benedictus, Song of Zechariah

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Zechariah the priest, father of John the Bapti...

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Sometimes, I think it is just appropriate to change the background on my page and post the Gospel reading to share with everyone.  It doesn’t happen often, but today is just one of those days.  As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus tonight and tomorrow, I think this canticle of Zechariah is perfectly fitting for what our response to God’s call should be, which is why it has made it’s way into my normal morning prayers:

Gospel reading for today’s Mass:

Zechariah his father, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied, saying:
“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; for he has come to his people and set them free. He has raised up for us a mighty Savior, born of the house of his servant David. Through his prophets he promised of old that he would save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us. He promised to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant. This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the hand of our enemies, free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life. You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins. In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”  (Luke 1:67-79)

The Kingdom of God is at hand for you! (Luke 10:9b)

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Fol. 104v and 105r of the Egmond Gospels. The ...

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Gift: Wisdom– With the gift of wisdom, we see God at work in our lives and in the world. For the wise person, the wonders of nature, historical events, and the ups and downs of our lives take on deeper meaning. The matters of judgment about the truth, and being able to see the image of God.

Reading:  Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.  (Luke 10:3)

Observation:  Since today we celebrate the feast of Saint Luke, the evangelist, who wrote the gospel that bears his name and the Acts of the Apostles that gives us a glimpse of the lives of the first disciples of Jesus; I thought I would journal about two verses from his version of the gospel, that makes up part of our gospel reading for today’s Mass readings.  This journal entry is in response to the feeling that I had when I left the City Council meeting last night, where we made our voice heard in opposition to the abortion clinic that is being built-in our city.  I left the meeting feeling like evil had won the day.  I wish I would have remembered this verse from Luke’s gospel, maybe I wouldn’t have let it bother me so much that evil had won the day, because I already knew that we were sent in like sheep among wolves.

Personification: Peace  If I am going to display the fruit of peace in my life, I must remember to live out the gospel in the world as it is and have faith that God will change what needs to be changed.  I will pray for the things that I think are wrong and wait patiently for God’s will to be done.

Prayer:  Lord, I pray that all those misguided by Satan into believing the lies about “abortion mills” like Planned Parenthood would have their eyes opened to the truth, especially those that would call themselves “Catholic”.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Whose generation is Luke talking to?

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Kingdom of God.

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Gift: With the gift of right judgment, we know the difference between right and wrong, and we choose to do what is right. A person with right judgment avoids sin and lives out the values taught by Jesus.

Reading: Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. (Luke 21:32-33)

Observation: It was quite strange reading the gospel this morning after the first reading because I was confused for a second about whether it was John’s vision that Luke was talking about here or his own memory of Jesus’ prophecy that he just told earlier in the chapter. Once I got it all sorted out in my head, I was still left with the question of whose generation is Luke talking about in this 32nd verse of the 21st chapter of his gospel. I am sure I could look up the etymology of the word generation or realize that in the root word he meant all generations, but I would rather look at this gospel reading this morning as I believe God intended for me, he is talking to me and my generation. As he has done for every generation that has passed for about 2000 years since Luke wrote his gospel, he is talking directly to my generation. We see the signs of the end coming, as they have since the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth. I am left with the question of if he is talking to my generation, what is our response going to be?

Personification: Kindness It is my focus today to display the fruit of kindness to everyone that I come in contact with, both at the Gravy Bowl and the parking fundraiser for the Knights of Columbus later. I will try to battle hard to follow the will of God in my life, but I will do so with the kindness that flows from the grace that I receive as a free gift from our savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Lord, help me to keep your word in my mind and on my lips and in my heart today. Please help those people without food and shelter to find food and shelter for their families, and show me new ways that I can fulfill your mission by helping them myself. I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit. Amen.


I want to be among the 144,000 to be able to learn the new hymn…

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The Ox

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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:  They were singing (what seemed to be) a new hymn before the throne, before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn this hymn except the hundred and forty-four thousand who had been ransomed from the earth.  These are they who were not defiled with women; they are virgins 3 and these are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been ransomed as the firstfruits of the human race for God and the Lamb.  (Revelation 14:3-4)

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1 When he looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.  He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”  (Luke 21:1-4)

Observation:  It occurred to me this morning as I was reading the first reading from the book of Revelation that I have never really sought to define in my mind, who the 144,000 were, and whether I would like to be among them.  I don’t believe this number equates to the number of people who would be saved in the last judgement.  I do believe God was revealing to John that there will be a special gift given to those who follow his will for them more completely in the lives on earth.  For me, I went to the page that contain the verses from the first reading and saw that the church had not used the beginning of the 4th verse in its reading this morning.  I believe that omission actually had a special meaning for me this morning.  Also, the gospel reading that I included in my journal post for today shows what a person with complete surrender looks like.  I want to be like that widow who is willing to give her whole livelihood, so I can be detached from material possessions and dependent on God, which would lead to my blessedness.  I stole that from the footnote of the NAB version online that you can see by clicking the  1, here or above in the gospel reading.

Personification:  Generosity  I struggle some times with how to give of myself in the way of monetary contribution to the church, because I don’t have much to give.  However, it is in the example of the widow that I will more faithfully give from the first fruits of what I have been given and not look for ways in which I have given of myself to the work that I am called to do.  In order to show this fruit of generosity today, I will be willing to give what I do have, whenever it is asked of me.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to find new ways to be generous with the money and possessions that I have to be more like the widow, who is completely detached from her material possessions.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.