What do we need to destroy? Where are we storing up our riches?

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Gift: Piety

Reading: Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD as one party and the king and the people as the other, by which they would be the LORD’S people; and another covenant, between the king and the people. Thereupon all the people of the land went to the temple of Baal and demolished it. They shattered its altars and images completely, and slew Mattan, the priest of Baal, before the altars. (2 Kings 11:17-18ab)

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The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light; but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be.  (Matthew 6:22-23)

Observation: The first reading reminds me that there are plenty of idols and false gods that we worship in today’s society.  Those idols need to be destroyed like they were in this reading from the 2nd book of Kings.  The way we destroy them is by taking away their power and replacing them with the one who is worthy of worship.  As it says in the Gospel reading today, a disciple of Jesus should be careful of what his eyes concentrate on, because if it is not on the light, it will lead to darkness.  As it says in the footnotes in today’s Gospel reading, the riches of this world are transitory, they will pass from one person to the next.  If we focus on the riches of this world, we could very well get them, but we will be in darkness because of the very nature of the riches that we are hoping to attain.  However, in focusing on the riches that are not of this world, we can stay in the light because the treasures in heaven are everlasting.

Personification:  Humility (Gentleness) – An inner strength that permits us to be aware of our own abilities without having to make a show of them. Today, I hope to be able to display the fruit of humility in my life and it is only by the grace of God that I won’t be drawn to show examples of my own strength to others.

Prayer: Lord, help me to stay humble today and for the rest of my life, so that I can be about storing up my riches in heaven and not in this world.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

After three days they found him…WHAT!!!

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Googled, "finding Jesus in the temple" Images

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 whole image of God.

Reading:  After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers.  (Luke 2:46-47)

Observation:  How is it possible for a parent to survive not knowing where their son is for three days?  When I read these verses in the Gospel reading this morning I was left with how helpless Joseph and Mary must have felt, not knowing exactly where he was.  Now, I can understand the fact that they probably knew that Jesus was not going to get into trouble at this point, but as a Mother, Mary, must have been throwing all kinds of ideas out to Joseph about all the bad things that could have happened to him.  How do I set me boys up, so that if I left them at the temple, they would be about doing Our Father’s work?

Personification:  Humility (Gentleness) – An inner strength that permits us to be aware of our own abilities without having to make a show of them.  I must remember to display the fruit of humility today and for the rest of my life, especially around my boys.  If they see that nothing I do is possible without the prompting, acceptance and following the will of God for my life, maybe they will be willing to do the same.  This world will tell them that can do anything, and it must be my goal to show them that they can do anything through Christ who strengthens them.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.  Amen.

Eternal life and living forever are not the same…

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Gift:  Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe)

Reading:  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.  (John 10:28a)

Observation:  It is interesting to me that I would pick this partial verse to journal on today when there are so many other intriguing verses to choose from in today’s readings.  Even the end of this verse, someone could write on that sentence for a whole novel…No one can take them out of my hand…Anyway, I am seeing a difference that is being pointed out in Jesus’ words today that I believe I have journaled on before.  It is the fact that eternal life is not the same as living forever.  If it was, I don’t believe we would see Jesus saying it two different ways.  When Jesus talks in parables, he is clearly not speaking about a real life situation that we could read about in history, but you are left with an idea of what each character or symbol represents on earth.  In this case, Jesus is clearly making a point about two separate ideas, unless he is assuming that the people he is speaking with are morons, which it doesn’t seem like I remember him speaking in that way before.

Personification:  Humility (Gentleness) – An inner strength that permits us to be aware of our own abilities without having to make a show of them.  Today, I am hearing a call to live this eternal life that was given to me as a gift from Jesus Christ.  Also, I am hearing a call to live this eternal life that is full of the fruit of the holy Spirit with the clear knowledge of the fact that when my life on earth is finished, I will not perish.  I am not hearing a call to go prove that I can jump off a bridge, rather a call to live life as a disciple of Jesus to the fullest extent of the ability that he has given me.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to stay humble in my call to proclaim your Word without having to fall into sin to remind me of how worthless I am.  Please keep me from sin and always about your work of bringing the Good News to your world.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Not all of you are clean…

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Gift:  Piety (Reverence)

Reading:  The devil had already induced 4 Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over…For he knew who would betray him; for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”  (John 13:2a,11)

Observation:  So, I am overcome by the fact that Jesus would know that Judas would soon betray him, yet in between the two verses above he washes the feet of all of his disciples, including Judas.  It is amazing that he would humble himself to wash the feet of the man that would give him over to the Jewish authorities that were planning to kill him? 

Personification:  Humility (Gentleness) – An inner strength that permits us to be aware of our own abilities without having to make a show of them.  I am hoping to be able to use the example of Jesus’ humility in not only washing the feet of his faithful disciples and the one that would betray him as a way of showing me how to serve others without regard to their ability or willingness to pay it forward or even be grateful to me for the gift that I may give them of my service.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to be aware of any opportunity to serve others and build up the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth by serving others.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

It was so matter of fact, but it was a miracle, right?

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I googled, “the region of Dalmanutha” and I found this video…wierd, right?…

Gift:  Piety (Reverence)

Reading:  They ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets. There were about four thousand people. He dismissed them and got into the boat with his disciples and came to the region of Dalmanutha.  (Mark 8:8-10)

Observation:  I am reading this morning in Mark’s account of the multiplication of the loaves and the fish by Jesus that this was just something that he did, because it needed to be done.  It was not meant to be a sign of his great power.  Rather, it was meant to show us that if we are acting in God’s name that great things will happen through us without us having to perform any ritual to bring about the miracle.  It is God’s will that his people are taken care of, I need only stay out of his way to make sure that it happens.

Personification:  Humility (Gentleness)  It would be so awesome if in the recognition of the great and awesome power of God, that he would grant me the grace to act with the fruit of humility and gentleness by getting out of his way to let his miracles happen.  I know that my personality can be overpowering at times, and it is my hope that God will give me the grace I need to be quiet and let him do his work on me and those around me.

Prayer:  Lord, grant me the grace to know the difference between when you are calling me to act and when you are calling me to sit and be quiet today and for the rest of my life.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Today’s first reading…Not for the faint hearted…

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Gift:  Understanding

Reading:  The elders of his house stood beside him urging him to rise from the ground; but he would not, nor would he take food with them.  (2 Samuel 12:17)

Observation:  I decided to pick just the last verse of the first reading to journal on today, because of the feeling I had after I finished reading it today.  I don’t know if the church intended us to have a reaction to the first reading like I did this morning, but I certainly felt like the church was saying that I need to read the rest of the story to find out what happened to David’s son.  I guess I will leave my observation about the verse there, so hopefully anyone reading this will have the same reaction I did, and maybe read the rest of the story in the book of Samuel.

Personification:  Humility (Gentleness)  I am aware of the fact that I am being called to display the fruit of humility in my life today and for the rest of my life.  I hope that I will follow the will of God for me today as it is revealed to me and allow the Holy Spirit to continue to be my guide to act with the gentleness that is attributed to Jesus.

Prayer:  Lord, I know that it is only by your grace that I am able to do anything good in my life.  Please help me remember to give you thanks at all times for everything that you are doing in my life.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

The Baptism of our Lord…

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http://vimeo.com/5903511

This video was done from the Gospel of Matthew’s account of Jesus’ Baptism…

Gift:  Wisdom

Reading:  After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”  (Luke 3:21-22)

Observation:  I read all of the readings this morning and if you look at the USCCB website for the daily readings there were two options for both the first and second readings for Mass today, but when I read the Gospel, these two verses above really spoke to me.  It wasn’t because of the fact that God spoke the amazing words that I put in bold letters above, but because the voice that came from Heaven, God, spoke these words after Jesus did something that seemed very beneath him to do.  Why should the Messiah have been baptized by John, and why did Luke explain it as if it was just something he did along with everyone else as well as the fact that he had joined everyone in prayer?

Personification:  Humility (Gentleness) & Modesty  I think this morning, God is calling me to look at the example of Jesus’ Baptism and realize that in order to truly follow the will of God, I must join the others in their prayer and not try to set myself apart from them in any way.  I must look for ways to make myself smaller and let God do the work in proclaiming what I am trying to do.  I think that is Luke’s message for me today, that I should remember that if the Savior of the world found a way to join the others in ordinary prayer, I should too.

Prayer:  Lord, I know that you did not need to be cleansed from any sin when you allowed John to Baptize you, but I thank you for giving me the example of service to others by allowing yourself to be used in a way that shows me the example for how to be in communion with others.  Please help me to find ways, with the help of your grace, to be more like you in my everyday life and join our brothers and sisters in ordinary prayer.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Gift: Understanding

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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)

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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.

Gift: Fortitude

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Reading:  Then, when his days of ministry were completed, he went home.  After this time his wife Elizabeth conceived, and she went into seclusion for five months, saying, “So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit to take away my disgrace before others.”  (Luke 23-25)

Observation:  I included the fact that Zachariah returned home at the beginning of the reflection today because of the fact that it is at home that I have the biggest chance for anxiety in my life.  This morning, I am reminded of the healing and redemptive power of God from the words from Elizabeth here in these verses.  She does not say that she is so glad that God recognized her piety and observance of the commandments and honored her with a child.  Rather, she said that God saw fit to do it of his own volition, so that she no longer was disgraced before others.

Personification:  Humility (Gentleness)  I am feeling the special call to display the fruit of humility with everyone around me.  I will need his grace to be able to be like Elizabeth in recognizing that it is not because of anything that I have done that deserves the saving power of God to redeem my life in what ever way he decides to, or even if he decides to redeem my life.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to keep your faith in the forefront of my mind.  I wish to be ever focused on your will, so that my will is not in the way.  In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Gift: Wisdom

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Reading:  As the visions during the night continued, I saw One like a son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven; When he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him, He received dominion, glory, and kingship; nations and peoples of every language serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.  (Daniel 7:13-14)

Observation:  After reading this first reading to my boys this morning, my son started singing, “You are the everlasting God”.  I find that interesting since the visions preceeding these verses were quite an ominous vision of the world controlled by different forms of beasts.  I find it important to note that after these verses that I chose for my journal today, the author of Daniel does not stop talking about the four beasts and even talks about the fear that he still possesses even after seeing the vision of the son of man receiving his dominion that would be an everlasting dominion that would not be taken away.

Personification:   Humility (Gentleness)  I will try and display the fruit of humility to everyone that I meet today and for the rest of my life.  My only act of confidence will be in the fact that the will of God will be done in our lives.  I will try and not act as if the knowledge of when the king will return is within my understanding and true wisdom exists only in the knowledge of what God is doing in my life.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to understand your will for me in my life and what you are calling me to at this present moment of my life.  Please direct my will to be in communion with yours at all times.  In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.