The biblical sites are often tied to a theological significance. The sea, the mountain, the desert, the Galilee of the Gentiles, Samaria, the Jordan River, the land beyond the Lake of Genezareth are much more than simple geographical indications (often not entirely accurate).
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The dream of God came true when a star appears in Israel, Christ the Lord, as the Lord has promised (Num 24:17). His light drives away the darkness created by ancestral hates and convokes all the people in one family. This is the message of hope of the Epiphany, the feast of light.
May the Lord bless and protect you.May the Lord shine his face upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord direct his gaze on you and give you peace.
What made the family of Mary and Joseph holy? Even in the midst of life’s struggles, they remained faithful to God and to each other. Do I expect God to remove all the struggles of everyday life just because I have remained faithful to him? Pray for broken families in our midst. Pray that our families may become holy and blessed. Pray for the values of love, deep respect, mutual submission, obedience, compassion, forgiveness, and centeredness on God to reign supreme in our families.
The darkness covered the abyss, when “God said, ‘Let there be light’” (Gen 1:2-3). Light is the first word that God speaks in the Bible. celebrate the Christmas liturgy during the night to reproduce, perhaps meaningfully, the darkness won by the word of the Creator, the darkness of the human condition illumined by the coming of the Savior.
The son of the virgin Mary has a double name, one used by his contemporaries—Jesus, the one who frees from sin—and the one Matthew, the Evangelist gives him: Emmanuel, God with us.
The Mary of the Gospel is very close to us: a girl born in the mountains of Lower Galilee, in love with the young Joseph with whom she designed a family according to the tradition of her people. Then she is a mother, woman of faith, who each day had to confront difficulties and temptations similar to ours. She is not an exception but a particular person in whom God has found the full availability to realize his plan of salvation.
In today’s Gospel Matthew describes John the Baptist as an austere man (v. 4). His food was simple like that of the inhabitants of the desert. His dress was rough, a leather belt around his waist that distinguished Elijah (2 Kg 1:8), and a fur cloak—a uniform of the prophets (Zec 13:4). The whole person of John the Baptist was a condemnation and denunciation of the opulent society—then as now.
To keep watch means being able to discern, to be able to grasp this judgment that comes on time, although in the most unexpected ways and times.“Make me follow, O Lord, your judgments”
Jesus begins to travel through towns and villages announcing everywhere: The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is imminent (Mk 1:15). At times he says: The kingdom of God is already in your midst (Lk 17:21). The kingdom is the center of the preaching of Jesus: in fact, the New Testament mentions the theme of the kingdom of God 122 times and Jesus says it as many as 90 times himself.
Using apocalyptic language and images, Jesus wants to remove the veil that prevents us from seeing the world through the eyes of God. When he seems to announce the end of the cosmos, he is not referring to the end of the world, but helping us to understand the end of the world. Apocalypse does not mean catastrophe, but revelation, unveiling.
Men of all ages have been confronted with the distressing enigma of death and have tried in every way to overcome or at least to exorcise it. God gave an answer to these questions: “The Christian hope—said Tertullian, the famous father of the Church of the second century—is the resurrection of the dead; all that we are, we are because we believe in the resurrection.”
The passage starts presenting the Master who enters Jericho and crosses the city accompanied by the crowd and the disciples (v. 1). At the entrance of the city, he has just cured a blind man who begged him: “Lord, that I may see” (Lk 18:35-43). The combination of these two facts is not random. The healing of the blind man and the “recovery” of Zacchaeus reflect and illuminate each other.
The word “saint” indicates the presence in the persons of a divine and beneficial force that allows one to stand out, to distance oneself from what is imperfect, weak, ephemeral. Among the people who appeared in this world, only Christ has possessed the fullness of this force of goodness and only he can be declared saint, as we sing in the Gloria: “You alone are holy.” But we, too, can rise up to him and become partakers of his holiness.
The listeners are “some who presumed of being righteous and despised the others.” They are not the Pharisees of Jesus’ time, but the Christians of Luke’s communities.The parable is directed to the Christians of all times because the idea of “meriting” before God is profoundly rooted in the person. No one is completely immune to this “leaven” which pollutes and corrupts the life of the community.
Prayer must not be a way to force God to do our will. Why are we invited to turn to him with insistence? What is the meaning of prayer? To these questions, Jesus responds today with a parable (vv. 1-5) and with application to the life of the community (vv. 6-8). The parable starts with the presentation of personages.
A new light brightened only in the mind and heart of the Samaritan: he understood that Jesus was more than a healer. In his act of salvation, the leper captured the message of God. He, the heretic who did not believe in the prophets, had surprisingly intuited that God has sent him, whom the prophets announced: He opens the eyes of the blind, the deaf hear, the lame walk, the dead are raised to life and the lepers are made clean (Lk 7:22).
Increase our faith. The experience of an uncertain and vacillating faith happens everyday. We believe in Jesus, but we do not trust him totally. We don’t have the courage to accomplish certain passes, to untie ourselves from certain habits, to make certain renouncements. Here we have a faith that needs to strengthen itself.
Jesus considers both greeds of goods of this world and honestly earned wealth as almost insurmountable obstacles to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. The deceitfulness of wealth chokes the seed of the Word (Mt 13:22); it tends to gradually conquer the whole human heart and leave no space for God nor for the neighbor.