Day by day, Day by day, Oh Dear Lord, Three things I pray: To see thee more clearly - Love thee more dearly - Follow thee more nearly -Day by day!
Today is the second Sunday of Advent. It is easy for the world to skip over Advent with its "Buy, Buy, Buy" materialism. It is easy to forget about prayer and repentance.
In many 'quit smoking' campaigns, the emphasis is on quitting something.....and too often people have to quit many times before they finally quit for good. Once they realize that they can breathe better, have more energy, and food actually has a taste, they see the benefits of their journey of quitting smoking. They have replaced smoking with a healthier life and better breathing to be sure.READ MORE
What do you do when someone you love very dearly and miss very much has been gone a verylong time but promises to return soon? How do you prepare to welcome him/her? Naturally, we anticipate the return with great excitement getting ready with all we can to ensure that on his arrival we are seen in a very good situation. We would be glad that this person finds us happy, joyful and looking good. This is what the season of Advent is all about, getting ready to welcomethe Lord at Christmas with joy, happiness and excitement. The joy and excitement that is rooted inthe word of God that should inspire our every act.READ MORE
“Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.” Today we celebrate the feast of an unusual kind of king. Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, does not run his kingdom in the standard fashion. Instead of insisting upon the pomp and circumstance that usually surrounds earthly royalty, Jesus has a different focus. He thinks not of himself, but of those he loves. And in today’s Gospel, his interest is especially focused on the poor and suffering in our midst.READ MORE
Proverbs gives us the example of a very industrious woman and also reminds us that so much ofwhat we think is important passes away with time. The reading uses the example of a woman, butit just as easily applies to men: Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears theLord is to be praised.
St. Paul tells us that the master will come unexpectedly; life is serious and we should not wastetime. We are all call to exercise a ministry within our community.READ MORE
Who doesn't desire the praise and respect of others? Who doesn't like to be recognized or to be praised? We want others to see us at our best with all of our strengths and achievements, rather than at our worst with all of our faults and shortcomings.
Prophet Malachi in the first reading of today calls the attention of priests who prefer the praise and respect of people rather than giving glory to God. He says "If you do not listen, if you do not lay it to heart, to give glory to my name; says the Lord of hosts. I will send a curse upon you and your blessing I will make a curse." Prophet Malachi condemns the attitude of priests who have abandoned true worship and service of God for self-praise and fame. In the days of the Prophet Malachi, many priests had lost the true meaning in the worship of God.READ MORE
Rendering anything to Caesar gave him some degree of homage. This is one reason many pharisees objected to paying the census tax. Since it was such a sticky issue, they wanted to get Jesus trapped into taking a side on it. Despite Jesus' very straightforward answer, people still get sticky over it today.
Jesus answers his challengers with his own challenge. The pharisees were looking for an "either or" answer, Jesus made clear that a "both and" answer is required. "Render to God whatever belongs to God". The Roman coin bore Caesar's image and inscription. But, we human beings bear the image of God. We must, therefore render ourselves to Him. But how?READ MORE
The banquet is the symbol of the happiness and joy present in the kingdom of God. The first reading tells us of a promise; while the gospel tells us of its actualization. If the banquet has already begun with the coming of the Messiah, why do we still have so much hatred, so many wars and deaths all over the world? Yes, the feast has begun, but the kingdom is still awaiting its full attainment.
The second reading is connected with this theme. We are given the example of the community at Philippi where there is authentic love and where a completely new life has really begun; the help and the gifts sent to Paul are proof of this. The prophet Isaiah would say: this banquet is a type of the heavenly banquet and of the Eucharist by which one is nourished with the Body and Blood of Christ.READ MORE
Ezekiel’s prophesy in the first reading teaches us the possibility of pardon through repentance forone’s accumulated evils. God glories in forgiving those who turn back to him, and he ardently desires the salvation of all, but also the risk of losing all the good one has done by returning to doing evil. In the second reading, Paul writing to Philippians encouraged them to be united andshow their love for each other through humility and service. Christ, who is divine, became man inorder to suffer and die for our salvation. No act of humility on our part can ever rival the humiliation of Christ’s suffering and death on the Cross. Christ willingly took on the role of a servant and allowed himself to be crucified for our sake even though he was innocent of any sin. Then in the gospel of Matthew, the parable teaches us that promises can never take the place ofperformance, and fine words are never a substitute for fine deeds.READ MORE
"Forgive your neighbors injustice, then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven" This quote from today's first reading sounds a lot like "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." Sirach goes on to say that the way we treat others, particularly those with whom we are angry, is what we can expect from the Lord. "Can anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from the Lord?"
When the forgiven man went to demand payment from his debtor, he heard from him the very same words and actions that he had so recently offered to the king. But the forgiven man did not recognize his own voice in the debtor. He did not see his plight in the debtor's plight. What he did not or would not see brought him to condemn himself with his own words and actions. He only made an inescapable demand on himself when he spoke to the debtor.READ MORE