Sunday, December 29, 2019

Many Thanks for Christmas

Well simply a thank you to our Lord Jesus Christ and our heavenly Father the almighty God. I was bale to attend Christmas mass this year and it was wonderful. A year ago I was severely ill and was able to barely get through Christmas in fact it was January  2nd they readmitted me to the hospital with severe bowel issues which took me to the brink and had caused me to up to then lose close to 50lbs in weight in about 3 months. After x-rays and scans and a few arguments they performed a small procedure by inserting a colonic stent and basically were at odds over to what had caused one part of my bowel to collapse and other parts of my bowel to over double in diameter and ready to burst. But in the end most of the surgeons thought I was done and this would just buy me some time. Well almost to the day a year later I have gained over 50lbs back and I have been attending mass regularly since the fall in may and through the summer it was intermittent as I recovered.
 Thanks to my home care nurse and Imodium and a lot of prayers I can function to the point of going out in public.
 Let me tell you I never thought and that there is nothing better than walking into a church and being able to Thank Jesus and God for being able to be there and receiving communion it is better than any medicine.
 Hopefully the Lord keeps me on this path as I hope to be here a long time yet so I can strengthen my faith and enjoy the life he has extended me.
Take care and God Bless!

Some Prayers for Today

Lord, you are my friend, my Father, and my protector. I come to you on this new day confident in your presence. I renew my love for you, trusting in your guiding hand.

Lord, thank you for making the family your home. Help me learn from you, Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph, to live for others. Thank you for showing me the power of your grace working through the concrete, sometimes difficult circumstances of my family. Help me to build up love in my family and in the family of the Church.

"Lord Jesus, make me a faithful servant of your word and guardian of your truth. Help me to obey you willingly, like Joseph and Mary, with unquestioning trust and with joyful hope."

Homily and Reflections

Taken from our friends at A Catholic Moment;

In the beginning, God wanted to make himself part of the family of Adam and Eve, but as a result of their disobedience they failed to welcome him . But the Gospels have revealed that God finally became part of human family thanks to the obedience of Mary and Joseph.
Hence today, the Church invites us to celebrate the solemnity of this Holy Family of Jesus Mary and Joseph; the most significant family in the history of our salvation. It did not just reveal the importance of family, but it equally showed the perfect character of persons who knew how to submit to the will of God no matter how difficult it is:
Jesus humbled himself to accept the will of the Father by coming to live among men and to suffer for men (Phil 2:6-11)
Mary accepted to face public shame of conceiving a child outside Joseph just to submit to the will of God (Lk 1:38).
Joseph accepted the difficult will of God by taking the responsibility of the child that was not his fruit (Matt 1:24).
Meanwhile the three readings today are centred on the importance of family as the first place of expressing human relationships and a place where God can dwell through the cooperation of every single individual.

FIRST READING: Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14
The First Reading is taken from the wisdom book of Sirach also known as Ecclesiasticus. It is said to have been authored by a 2nd Century BCE Hellenistic Jewish Sage known as Ben Sirach. This particular chapter contains fragments of the author’s commentary on the decalogue, precisely the fourth commandment that says; “Honour your father and your mother that your days may be long.” Meanwhile in the Jewish rabbinic tradition, children’s obedience to their parents was sacrosanct. But Ben Sirach reminds the children not only about their obligation to keep to this commandment, but he equally underlines the benefits of obedience:
1.It atones sins
2. It answers prayers
3. It accumulates treasures and above all,
4. It brings long life.
In a world of influences and decay of family values, does obedience still have a place? How many parents still enjoy obedience from their children? And more importantly, how many parents are good examples for their children? How many parents teach their children about family and social values through their words and action? Ben Sirach admonishes all of us to revisit our family relationships.

SECOND READING: Colossians 3:12-21
The letter to the Colossians is one of the Pauline Corpus (letters of Paul) believed to have been written from the prison. It contains series of Paul’s refutation of heresies (doctrinal errors) which was becoming influential in the city of Colosse that flourished as a famous commercial city (2:4,8,16,18,21-23).
In his letter today, Paul gives the Colossians a household code meant to govern their familial and social relationships. It includes compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forbearance, forgiveness, and respect for one another in the name of God. This letter expresses the value that Paul attaches to the family life and his understanding that faith cannot flourish if families are in disarray. No doubt, this teaching largely influenced the Church’s perception of the family as a domestic Church (CCC 2204) and as a basic unit of the social fabric of the society (CCC 2207).

GOSPEL: Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23
What type of child is this? Mary and Joseph might have questioned. Right from the first moment the coming of this child was announced, the couple have not known peace. Mary could not have totally been at peace looking at Joseph taking care of the pregnancy both of them knew was not of Joseph. And for Joseph, it must have been a difficult experience; a hard obedience for that matter. Even when it was time to deliver Mary of this child, it was still not an easy experience for the couple who wandered through the cold night and found the manger the only place to lay the child. Again, today their joy turned into sorrow as the life of this child was threatened which made them to hurridly set out for Egypt in the cold of the night. And I ask, why would God ask them to move to Egypt? Why not any other surrounding nation or kingdom? This should make us to understand that there is something more deep about the journey than just an escape for refuge.
1. Yes today Christ enters Egypt. It is a land of exile that will eventually become a land of mission.
2. It is the same Egypt of slavery where his ancestors knew suffering and pain and were liberated by God through Moses.
3. He enters Egypt to accomplish what Moses could not accomplish; the salvation of the inhabitants.
4. It is the second entry and exodus of a new family of Israel born through Christ.
5. The the journey of the ancient Israel into Egypt began with Joseph the man of dream, and today Joseph the man of dream led the Holy family of Israel into Egypt.
6. The old Isarel moved into Egypt because of ‘Hunger persecution’, and today the new Israel moved into Egypt because of ‘Herod’s persecution.’
7. In Egypt the life of Moses was saved when Pharaoh was eliminating the Male children of the Israelites under the age of two, and today the life of the baby Jesus was saved in Egypt when Herod was eliminating children under the age of two.
8. Moses led the children of Israel out from Egypt, and today Jesus the new Moses moved out of Egypt with Mary and Joseph.
9. The old family of Israel moved from Egypt to the Promised Land thus regaining God’s promised land of Canaan (Gn 15:18-21; 26:3; 28:13; Ex 23:31; Nb 34:1-12); and today the Holy Family move from Egypt into the promised land of Nazareth thus regaining God’s promise of the land of Nazareth: ” For he shall be called a Nazarene” (Nazara origin from Hebrew netser ‘shoots’ found in Is 11:1; 2:23). What a hidden mystery in the Word of God!

1. Herod represents all who have no value for the human life; a perfect depiction of those who promote the elimination of innocent unborn human beings and other forms of homicide. On the contrary, Mary and Joseph are models of pro-life. They protected the life of the child Jesus by risking their own life. Therefore we are called to be active in defending the non-negotiable dignity of human life.

2. The perpetuity of marriage
We live in a society that no longer understand the tenets of marriage. Many people now rush into marriage and rush out in the name divorce. We must understand that it wasn’t easy for Joseph to accept Mary, yet he loved and cherished her. Hence, marriage should not be a flee from singlehood but a school of two imperfect persons searching for perfection together. It is a field of play where each has to play 90mins without substitute. Divorce is not a solution but a puncture to the ideal family life. We are encouraged therefore through example of the Holy Family to hold on to each other in love especially in difficult moments of life.

Most families are not living in peace today. Instead of wearing the garment of love, they wear that of hatred. We pray that all families who are experiencing crises today as a result of divorce, clash of personalities, loss of job, illness, death and other bitter experience may find love, peace and restoration through the Holy Family of Nazareth.
I equally pray that God who has kept us from beginning of the year 2019 irrespective of the many battles we have fought, visible and invisible, may keep us all to see the year 2020 as he kept the numbers of the Israelites intact after the great battles (Numbers 31:49).

The Holy Family Sunday Mass

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First reading
Ecclesiasticus 3:2-6,12-14 ©

He who fears the Lord respects his parents

The Lord honours the father in his children,
  and upholds the rights of a mother over her sons.
Whoever respects his father is atoning for his sins,
  he who honours his mother is like someone amassing a fortune.
Whoever respects his father will be happy with children of his own,
  he shall be heard on the day when he prays.
Long life comes to him who honours his father,
  he who sets his mother at ease is showing obedience to the Lord.
My son, support your father in his old age,
  do not grieve him during his life.
Even if his mind should fail, show him sympathy,
  do not despise him in your health and strength;
for kindness to a father shall not be forgotten
  but will serve as reparation for your sins.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 127(128):1-5 ©
O blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways!
O blessed are those who fear the Lord
  and walk in his ways!
By the labour of your hands you shall eat.
  You will be happy and prosper.
O blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways!
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
  in the heart of your house;
your children like shoots of the olive,
  around your table.
O blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways!
Indeed thus shall be blessed
  the man who fears the Lord.
May the Lord bless you from Zion
  all the days of your life!
O blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways!

Second reading
Colossians 3:12-21 ©

Family life in the Lord

You are God’s chosen race, his saints; he loves you, and you should be clothed in sincere compassion, in kindness and humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another; forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins. The Lord has forgiven you; now you must do the same. Over all these clothes, to keep them together and complete them, put on love. And may the peace of Christ reign in your hearts, because it is for this that you were called together as parts of one body. Always be thankful.
  Let the message of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you. Teach each other, and advise each other, in all wisdom. With gratitude in your hearts sing psalms and hymns and inspired songs to God; and never say or do anything except in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
  Wives, give way to your husbands, as you should in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and treat them with gentleness. Children, be obedient to your parents always, because that is what will please the Lord. Parents, never drive your children to resentment or you will make them feel frustrated.

Gospel AcclamationCol3:15,16
Alleluia, alleluia!
May the peace of Christ reign in your hearts;
let the message of Christ find a home with you.

Matthew 2:13-15,19-23 ©

The flight into Egypt and the return to Nazareth

After the wise men had left, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him.’ So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, left that night for Egypt, where he stayed until Herod was dead. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet:
I called my son out of Egypt.
After Herod’s death, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you and go back to the land of Israel, for those who wanted to kill the child are dead.’ So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, went back to the land of Israel. But when he learnt that Archelaus had succeeded his father Herod as ruler of Judaea he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he left for the region of Galilee. There he settled in a town called Nazareth. In this way the words spoken through the prophets were to be fulfilled:
‘He will be called a Nazarene.’

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Prayers and Meditation

As I kneel before you, I humbly recognize that you are my God and my All. I trust in you, though sometimes my confidence is weak and wavers. Sometimes I want to do things my way, and I even brush you aside as if you were getting in the way. Please forgive my selfishness and pettiness. I want to show my love for you by learning to hand you the steering wheel of my life and putting my plans in the back seat.

"Lord Jesus, you came to save us from sin and the power of death. May I always rejoice in your salvation and trust in your divine plan for my life."

Meditation taken from our friends at Kairos,


Do you hold on to the promises of God at all times, especially when you are faced with uncertainty or adversity?

The prophet Isaiah spoke words of hope in a hopeless situation for Israel. When Ahaz, the apostate king of Judah and heir to the throne of David (735 B.C.) was surrounded by forces that threatened to destroy him and his people, God offered him a sign to reassure him that God would not abandon the promise he made to David and his descendants. King Ahaz, however, had lost hope in God and refused to ask for a sign of favor. God, nonetheless, gave a sign to assure his people that he would indeed give them a Savior who would rule with peace and righteousness (Isaiah 7:11ff). Like the prophet Isaiah we are called “in hope to believe against hope” (Romans 4:18) that God can and will fulfill all his promises.
Mary was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit
Mary had to face an enormous challenge to her faith and trust in God and to the faith of her family and Joseph, the man she chose to marry. She was asked to assume a burden of tremendous responsibility. It had never been heard of before that a child could be born without a natural father. Mary was asked to accept this miraculous exception to the laws of nature. That required faith and trust in God and in his promises. Second, Mary was not yet married. Pregnancy outside of wedlock was not tolerated in those days. Mary was only espoused to Joseph, and such an engagement had to last for a whole year. She was asked to assume a great risk. She could have been rejected by Joseph, by her family, by all her own people. Mary knew that Joseph and her family would not understand without revelation from God. She nonetheless believed and trusted in God's promises.
Joseph believed the angel's message "that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit"
Joseph, a just and God-fearing man, did not wish to embarrass or punish his espoused wife, Mary when he discovered that she was pregnant. To all appearances she had broken their solemn pledge to be faithful and chaste to one another. Joseph, no doubt took this troubling matter to God in prayer. He was not hasty to judge or to react with hurt and anger. God rewarded him not only with guidance and consolation, but with the divine assurance that he had indeed called Joseph to be the husband of Mary and to assume a mission that would require the utmost faith, confidence, and trust in Almighty God. Joseph believed in the divine message to take Mary as his wife and to accept the child in her womb as the promised Messiah. 
A model of faith for us
Like Mary, Joseph is a model of faith for us. He is a faithful witness and servant of God's unfolding plan of redemption. Are you ready to believe in the promises of God, even when faced with perplexing circumstances and what seems like insurmountable problems? God has not left us alone, but has brought us his only begotten Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let us celebrate Christmas, the feast of the Incarnation, with joyful hearts and let us renew our faith and hope in God and in his redeeming work.

Fourth Sunday of Advent

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Reading 1 Is 7:10-14

The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying:
Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God;
let it be deep as the netherworld, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered,
"I will not ask!  I will not tempt the LORD!"
Then Isaiah said:
Listen, O house of David!
Is it not enough for you to weary people,
must you also weary my God?
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:
the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6.

R. (7c and 10b) Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.
The LORD's are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
R. Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
One whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.
R. Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks for him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
R. Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.

Reading 2 Rom 1:1-7

Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus,
called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God,
which he promised previously through his prophets in the holy Scriptures,
the gospel about his Son, descended from David according to the flesh,
but established as Son of God in power
according to the Spirit of holiness
through resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Through him we have received the grace of apostleship,
to bring about the obedience of faith,
for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles,
among whom are you also, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ;
to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Alleluia Mt 1:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 1:18-24

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
"Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins."
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,

which means "God is with us."
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.

Sunday, December 15, 2019


Lord, I believe that you are present here with me as I enter into this moment of conversation with you. I trust in your loving providence that guides my every step throughout the day. Because I love you, I desire to look only to you so that you can become the strength of my weakness and the certitude of my entire life.

"Lord Jesus, strengthen my trust in your word and my hope in the saving power of your kingdom. Free me from everything that would hold me back from pursuing your kingdom and your will for my life."

Homily for Today

Taken from A Catholic Moment,

The Third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete Sunday- “Rejoice.” Before its liturgical reform, Advent was celebrated with a rigorous 40 days of preparation with fasting like Lent. Although this practice was dropped, its penitential character still remains as it is a time for deep spiritual preparation for the coming of the Lord. And as a mid-point break, “Gaudete Sunday” invites all to rejoice for our salvation is close. That is why in the Roman rite, this character of rejoice influences the liturgical colour, Rose instead of Purple. Gaudete Sunday shares the same liturgical character with “Laetare Sunday” of Lenten season.

FIRST READING: Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10
In this glorious vision, Isaiah foresaw the nature of the future of the people. Probably at this time the northern kingdom (Israel with Samaria as its capital) was already in Assyrian exile (722 BC), but certainly the southern kingdom (Judah with Jerusalem as its capital) was still enjoying stable peace. But eventually this peace will be interrupted by the Babylonian invasion in (586 BC). So the prophesy is meant to strengthen the people beforehand that though they may have to pass through horrible moments, but time shall come when Yahweh will restore their peace.The wilderness, dry land and desert are used to express how the promise of God will be located within every human lack, every loneliness, and every desolation.
Yes God’s arrival is meant to transform every form of inability into ability and every lack into miraculous abundance. Why all these? First, it means that God who is perfect will not cohabit with imperfection. Secondly, these transformations are meant to celebrate the glory of God. Certainly the lame will regain strength in his legs to walk. He will not just walk, he will jump; for the presence of God should command jubilation. The mute will be able to speak. He will not just speak, but he will shout at the top of his voice. He will become a singer; for the presence of God cannot be lived in silence. It steers joyful praise. On this day, the place that was once a wilderness and dangerous will cease to be. It will turn into access road for the redeemed people of God to go home (35:8-9); for the power of God is so enormous that obstacles and dangers can not withstand it.
This chapter 35 of the book of Isaiah invites each one of us today for our own home-coming. It is God’s plan that we regain our freedom. Isaiah makes us to understand that we cannot celebrate the coming of the Lord in captivity. Hence, any form of “wilderness, dry land and desert” that may have form part of our experience must give way as the Lord comes to us; and he is capable of transforming all our weaknesses into strengths.

SECOND READING: James 5:7-10
Many of us if not all can testify that there are moments we have sought for God’s presence in our lives and situations and he seemed not to be there for us. This often happen when we are in difficult situations needing his intervention. Thus, it is human to feel tired and discouraged when we can’t find reasons to keep the faith alive. This is the Fate of the Christian Community of the Apostle James. They were no longer comfortable with the Lord’s delay as they suffer persecutions. They felt that the whole doctrine of “Parousia” (the Lord who returns soon) was becoming a scam. But the Apostle comforts them with the holy word of “Patience” as an indispensable tool of their Christian faith. And using the analogy of a farmer who waits for a long time before harvest, he assures them that the Lord will surely come no matter how long they think he has delayed. He equally drew their attention to those who have preceded them in faith; how they remain steadfast to the end. This is meant to encourage them that whatever they feel they are passing through had already been experienced by their predecessors.

GOSPEL: Matthew 11: 2-11
Isn’t it beautiful to behold the internal order in the Word of God? Last Sunday John the Baptist gave a witness about the Messiah that will come: “I baptize you with water but he that comes after me whom am not worthy to untie his sandals, he will baptize you will the Holy Spirit and fire.” Today Jesus in turn gave a witness concerning John: “…yes more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written; behold I send my messenger before your face who shall prepare your way before you. Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist yet who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he.”

The Gospel shows that John was in the prison while Jesus was in the open. The imprisonment of John was the result of his opposition to Herod who took his brother’s wife while his brother was still alive. But there is something more to that passage. John needed not to be in the open at the same time with Jesus. It is a fulfillment of his word: “He must increase; I must decrease (Jn 3:30).” Jesus’s public appearance necessarily needs to cause John to hide. And since John’s mission was to witness to Christ, therefore the public manifestation of Jesus should be a reason for his disappearance. It reminds us that God’s presence is safe-evident. It doesn’t require human proof and mediation. John must not continue to witness when the “Witnessed” is around.

For some bible scholars, this question of John does not suggest that John was not convinced of Jesus, rather it is meant to help his disciples to go and discover for themselves the person of Christ. And for others, John seemed to be confused because like every other Jew, the peaceful approach of Jesus shows that he was not the type of Messiah they were expecting. And being in the prison, Jesus should have liberated him from the hand of Herod.
But for me, there is something more to the dilemma of John. It shows that the mystery of God will always transcend total human grasp. The presence of God is awesome but at the same time confusing. It is a presence-absence. God’s revelation is gradual but sure. John couldn’t have had a total knowledge of the identity of Jesus because that would have limited his Divine Nature. This limitation reveals the humanity of John present in all. God remains a mystery for John, for me and for you.

Let the new spring of hope from the prophet Isaiah today be the joy of our heart. When we face tough moments, it is not the end of our story. The God of Israel is our God. He is capable of transforming every wilderness; every dry land; every desert in our lives into fertile land. We must receive this prophesy of Isaiah in the Spirit. Our God is a God of wonders.

We belong to James community. Let us learn to live beyond comparing our lives with others. It can cause crisis that is capable of making us give up on God. But certainly crisis must come, but let us remember that God is always close to us. We must learn to hang on him.

Those who have experienced the marvels of God cannot keep it to themselves. They must go out and share it with John, with Mary, with Ann and with all. Have you experienced Jesus? If yes, please don’t keep keep him in your box. He must be given out. There are “JOHNS” in the prison who have not experienced him. He sends us to them today to tell them that he is capable of taking care of all their needs: the deaf hear, the blind see, the dead live (Mt. 11:5), and what more? Absolutely nothing!

3rd Sunday of Advent

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First reading
Isaiah 35:1-6,10 ©

God himself is coming to save you

Let the wilderness and the dry-lands exult,
let the wasteland rejoice and bloom,
let it bring forth flowers like the jonquil,
let it rejoice and sing for joy.
The glory of Lebanon is bestowed on it,
the splendour of Carmel and Sharon;
they shall see the glory of the Lord,
the splendour of our God.
Strengthen all weary hands,
steady all trembling knees
and say to all faint hearts,
‘Courage! Do not be afraid.
‘Look, your God is coming,
vengeance is coming,
the retribution of God;
he is coming to save you.’
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
the ears of the deaf unsealed,
then the lame shall leap like a deer
and the tongues of the dumb sing for joy
for those the Lord has ransomed shall return.
They will come to Zion shouting for joy,
everlasting joy on their faces;
joy and gladness will go with them
and sorrow and lament be ended.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 145(146):6-10 ©
Come, Lord, and save us.
It is the Lord who keeps faith for ever,
  who is just to those who are oppressed.
It is he who gives bread to the hungry,
  the Lord, who sets prisoners free,
Come, Lord, and save us.
It is the Lord who gives sight to the blind,
  who raises up those who are bowed down,
the Lord, who protects the stranger
  and upholds the widow and orphan.
Come, Lord, and save us.
It is the Lord who loves the just
  but thwarts the path of the wicked.
The Lord will reign for ever,
  Zion’s God, from age to age.
Come, Lord, and save us.

Second readingJames 5:7-10 ©

Do not lose heart; the Lord's coming will be soon

Be patient, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. Think of a farmer: how patiently he waits for the precious fruit of the ground until it has had the autumn rains and the spring rains! You too have to be patient; do not lose heart, because the Lord’s coming will be soon. Do not make complaints against one another, brothers, so as not to be brought to judgement yourselves; the Judge is already to be seen waiting at the gates. For your example, brothers, in submitting with patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

Gospel AcclamationIs61:1(Lk4:18)
Alleluia, alleluia!
The spirit of the Lord has been given to me.
He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor.

GospelMatthew 11:2-11 ©

'A greater than John the Baptist has never been seen'

John in his prison had heard what Christ was doing and he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or have we got to wait for someone else?’ Jesus answered, ‘Go back and tell John what you hear and see; the blind see again, and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised to life and the Good News is proclaimed to the poor; and happy is the man who does not lose faith in me.’
  As the messengers were leaving, Jesus began to talk to the people about John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the breeze? No? Then what did you go out to see? A man wearing fine clothes? Oh no, those who wear fine clothes are to be found in palaces. Then what did you go out for? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet: he is the one of whom scripture says:
‘Look, I am going to send my messenger before you;
he will prepare your way before you.
‘I tell you solemnly, of all the children born of women, a greater than John the Baptist has never been seen; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is.’

Sunday, December 8, 2019

The Lord working in Mysterious Ways

So if you remember last week I was upset well actually all week about the fund raiser we received on the first Sunday of Lewnt in place of a homily. I was ready to go to another parish and told my wife I was not interested in going back as this fund raising's timing had left a bad taste in my mouth. Well she talked me into staying the rest of this calendar year and then we can change paishes if desired.
 On Satyrday we go for the evening mass which is the Sunday mass and I sit down and one of the ushers comes around and asks if we would be so kind as to take the gifts up for offering. Of course we agreed even though I need a cane to walk due to lingering side effects of chemo therapy I knew God would help me through. But overall it was funny how this happened.
 It was like God said I know you might have been upset and not seen or heard what you should have last week well I still need you here and you need to be here. Somehow things happen that upset us physically or emotionally and yes God always shows up to just to make sure you stay the course. Now getting ready for the upcoming retreat and reconciliation as well. Thanks for reading and God Bless!

Prayer and Meditation for Today

Lord Jesus, you know all things and you govern the world with love. I believe in you. You don’t rule with a heavy hand, but instead you guide us gently towards you. I trust in your mercy and I know you are leading me home to heaven day by day. You can only desire what is good for me. Thank you. You give me the courage to say I love you, though I know my love is so weak. I wish to make more room for you in my life, putting you above all else.

 "Lord, let your light burn brightly in my heart that I may know the joy and freedom of your kingdom. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and empower me to witness the truth of your Gospel and to point others to Jesus Christ."

 The meditation this week is taken from Kairos;


What kind of Messiah did God promise to send to his people and how would he bring God's kingdom to them?

The prophet Isaiah foresaw the day when God would raise up a Messianic King long after King David's throne had been overthrown and vacant for centuries. God promised that he would raise up a new king from the stump of Jesse, the father of King David (Isaiah 11:1). This messianic king would rule forever because the Spirit of God would rest upon him and remain with him (Isaiah 11:2). 
Isaiah's prophecy of the Messiah 
Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be equipped with the gifts of the Spirit - with wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2 - for an explanation of the gifts see this helpful article). This king would establish the kingdom of God, not by force of human will and military power, but by offering his life as the atoning sacrifice for the sin of the world. Through his death on the cross, Jesus, the true Messiah King, would defeat Satan, overcome death, and win pardon and reconciliation for sinners. God's plan of redemption included not only the Jewish people but all the nations of the earth as well. Through his death and resurrection Jesus makes us citizens of heaven and friends of God. The Lord Jesus wants us to live in joyful hope and confident expectation that he will come again to fully establish his kingdom of righteousness and peace.
John the Baptist's prophecy of the Messiah
Why did John the Baptist prophesy that the Messiah would come and "baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire" (Matthew 3:11)? Fire in biblical times was often associated with God's presence and with his action in the lives of his people. God sometimes manifested his presence by use of fire, such as the burning bush which was not consumed when God spoke to Moses (Exodus 3:2). The image of fire was also used to symbolize God's glory (Ezekiel 1:4, 13), his protective presence (2 Kings 6:17), his holiness (Deuteronomy 4:24), righteous judgment (Zechariah 13:9), and his wrath against sin (Isaiah 66:15-16). Fire was also used as a sign of the Holy Spirit's power and presence (Matthew 3:11). When the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost, tongues of fire appeared over the heads of the apostles and disciples of Jesus (Acts 2:3). The fire of the Holy Spirit purifies and cleanses us of sin, and it inspires a reverent fear of God and of his word in us. Do you want to be on fire for God and for the return of the Lord Jesus when he comes again in his glory?
John pointed others to the coming of Christ and his kingdom
John the Baptist's life was fueled by one burning passion - to point others to Jesus Christ and to the coming of his kingdom. Who is John the Baptist and what is the significance of his message for our lives? Scripture tells us that John was filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb(Luke 1:15, 41) by Christ himself, whom Mary had just conceived by the Holy Spirit. When Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth John lept in her womb as they were filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:41). Like the prophets of the Old Testament, John devoted his entire life to prayer and the word of God. He was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness where he was tested and grew in the word of God. John's clothing was reminiscent of the prophet Elijah (see Kings 1:8). The Holy Spirit prepared John for the mission entrusted to him as forerunner of the Messiah, Jesus Christ - the Word of God who became man for our salvation (John 1:1,14). John pointed to Jesus as the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world by offering his life on the cross as the atoning sacrifice for our sins and the sin of the world (John 1:29).
John broke the prophetic silence of the previous centuries when he began to speak the word of God to the people of Israel. His message was similar to the message of the Old Testament prophets who chided the people of God for their unfaithfulness and who tried to awaken true repentance in them. Among a people unconcerned with the things of God, it was his work to awaken their interest, unsettle them from their complacency, and arouse in them enough good will to recognize and receive Christ when he came. Are you eager to hear God's word and to be changed by it through the power of the Holy Spirit?
A new era of God's restoration begins 
Jesus tells us that John the Baptist was more than a prophet (Luke 7:26). John was the voice of the Consoler who is coming (John 1:23; Isaiah 40:1-3). He completed the cycle of prophets begun by Elijah (Matthew 11:13-14). What the prophets had carefully searched for and angels longed to see, now came to completion as John made the way ready for the coming of the Messiah, God's Anointed Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. With John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit begins the restoration to the human race of the "divine likeness", prefiguring what would be achieved with and in the Lord Jesus. 
John's baptism was for repentance - turning away from sin and taking on a new way of life according to God's word. Our baptism in Jesus Christ by water and the Spirit results in a new birth and entry into God's kingdom as his beloved sons and daughters (John 3:5). The Lord Jesus gives us the fire of his Spirit so that we may radiate the joy and truth of the Gospel to a world in desperate need of God's light and truth. His word has power to change and transform our lives that we may be lights pointing others to Christ. Like John the Baptist, we too are called to give testimony to the light and truth of Jesus Christ. Do you point others to Christ in the way you live, work, and speak?

Second Sunday of Advent

 Image result for advent second sunday

Reading 1 Is 11:1-10

On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him:
a spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
a spirit of counsel and of strength,
a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.
Not by appearance shall he judge,
nor by hearsay shall he decide,
but he shall judge the poor with justice,
and decide aright for the land's afflicted.
He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
Justice shall be the band around his waist,
and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.
Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
the calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,
together their young shall rest;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the cobra's den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder's lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,
as water covers the sea.
On that day, the root of Jesse,
set up as a signal for the nations,
the Gentiles shall seek out,
for his dwelling shall be glorious.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17

R. (cf. 7)  Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king's son;
he shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
May his name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun his name shall remain.
In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed;
all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.

Reading 2 Rom 15:4-9

Brothers and sisters:
Whatever was written previously was written for our instruction,
that by endurance and by the encouragement of the Scriptures
we might have hope.
May the God of endurance and encouragement
grant you to think in harmony with one another,
in keeping with Christ Jesus,
that with one accord you may with one voice
glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you,
for the glory of God.
For I say that Christ became a minister of the circumcised
to show God's truthfulness,
to confirm the promises to the patriarchs,
but so that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.
As it is written:
Therefore, I will praise you among the Gentiles
and sing praises to your name.

Alleluia Lk 3:4, 6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths:
all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 3:1-12

John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea
and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!"
It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said:
A voice of one crying out in the desert,
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.

John wore clothing made of camel's hair
and had a leather belt around his waist.
His food was locusts and wild honey.
At that time Jerusalem, all Judea,
and the whole region around the Jordan
were going out to him
and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River
as they acknowledged their sins.

When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees
coming to his baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers!
Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.
And do not presume to say to yourselves,
'We have Abraham as our father.'
For I tell you,
God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees.
Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit
will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
I am baptizing you with water, for repentance,
but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I.
I am not worthy to carry his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand.
He will clear his threshing floor
and gather his wheat into his barn,
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."