I can't do this...alone. This Sunday we are presented with Isaiah, Paul and Peter. All three are chosen by God. Each regrets that he is too human, and too sinful to fulfill God's choice. But God makes up for what they lack. Isaiah says, "How can I, a man of unclean lips living among people of unclean lips, proclaim the Lord.
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When Jesus begins his public ministry, like Jeremiah, he faces attacks. For Jesus' entire ministry he battles demons. People also attack him, including those closest - the ones he grew up with. We hear today that they want to throw him off a cliff. Notice Jesus does not shout, he doesn't get violent or aggressive, he doesn't curse. He simply walks between them and continues his mission. If they don't want me, others do.
Truly blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it as well (Lk 11:28). The privileged place for this hearing is the community meeting. The Christian who does not feel the inner need to join with the brothers and sisters to listen to the voice of the Master can be certain: something has cracked in his relationship with Christ.
Jesus says to His mother, "How does this concern of yours effect me? My hour has not yet come." What Mary was presenting to Jesus would have a far deeper effect on the world then solving a simple matter of a lack of wine.
This week we end the Christmas Season with the second Epiphany of the Lord, His Baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist. The Baptism of the Lord is an epiphany because it is a demonstration to the world that this Jesus is the Son of the God. Some spiritual writers say that through the holiness of his humanity, our humanity was also made holy
At Christmas we celebrate the greatest gift the world has ever received, the very presence of our God as one of us. This presence is manifested to the world at the Epiphany. Now, like the magi, we are called to bring gifts to our King: gold, frankincense and myrrh, our riches, our talents, and our pain. They are all His. They are His because we are His.
A woman is a person's natural mother if she carried him in her womb and if she gave him half of his genetic matter. Mary was the mother of Jesus in both of these senses; because she carried Jesus in her womb and supplied the genetic matter for his human body. If Mary is the mother of Jesus, and if Jesus is God, then Mary is the Mother of God.
He loves us with an unconditional love. The love that God has for us is beyond our comprehension. We have been given the Gift of His Presence in our world and in our lives. This is what we celebrate on Christmas. I would like to create an analogy of God's love, using a situation that many families experience.
As our world is bursting with excitement these last days before Christmas, the Church presents us with two expectant mothers, bursting with the excitement of their pregnancies. We refer to the scene as the Visitation. Spiritual writers have often said that Mary's first act as the mother of the Savior is to bring his love and kindness to her kinswoman, Elizabeth, the Visitation being an act of charity.
This Sunday's Gospel once more presents John the Baptist. John the Baptist has a particular place of honor in our tradition. He was the kinsman of the Lord who leapt for joy in his mother's womb when Elizabeth received a visit from Mary. He was the Forerunner, the one who said that the Messiah was coming.
I think that most of us are in the middle of Christmas preparations. We are trying to get cards out and gifts bought and wrapped. We are preparing for parties, baking cookies, getting ready for the celebration. The celebration is the birth of Christ, the Divine Presence given to us as one of us.
Waiting for the Lord to come again is the focus of this first week of Advent. This waiting for the Lord is different than the usual way we wait. It is not like the waiting we experience when we go to the doctors office and sit in the lobby reading old magazines or playing on our phones.
Today we conclude the Liturgical Year with our celebration of the feast of Christ the King. On this final Sunday of the year we meditate on Our Lord Jesus Christ and acknowledge that all creatures in heaven and on earth are ultimately subject to him as the Universal King. For our Gospel text we have the interesting exchange between Jesus and Pontius Pilate about his Kingship.
Today's readings are scary. The trouble is, they are not make believe. Daniel says that a time is coming which will be unsurpassed in distress. Jesus also talks about this time when he says that the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give off light, the stars will fall from the skies and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
The radical message of today's readings is that we must place our confidence in God rather than in our material possessions. This is difficult for us to do because it demands our practicing the forgotten virtue of humility. A humble person recognizes his or her profound need for God. A humble person is certain that the presence of God in his or her life is fundamental to happiness.
“This saint is my hero”, we could say. The operative word to define a Greek hero would be courage. Did they have the courage to complete their mission in life? There are also heros in the first part of the Bible, the Old Testament. Abraham and Samson and David and Deborah and Ruth were all heros because against seemingly impossible odds, they still allowed God's plan to work through them.
Authority and Service: James and John had it all wrong. They wanted authority. They wanted to sit at the right hand and left hand of Jesus when the Kingdom of God was established on earth. They wanted to be powerful and feared because of their power. They looked forward to being in authority. They had it all wrong. In the Kingdom of God, authority would come through service.
How sad! The man had the wonders of the Lord right there in front of him. He could have become one of the Lord's closest disciples. Jesus heard him say that he had kept the commandments. Jesus knew that he was a good man. He loved him. But he also knew that something was holding the man back. His possessions were the reason for his life.
In no other field, as in that of sexual ethics, man is tempted to give his own morals, and so the salt of the gospel proposal is often made insipid by many “buts,” “ifs,” “howevers,” and “depends.” The goal is very high, but the footsteps of men are often uncertain. Since only God knows the weaknesses of each, no one can stand in judgment of their brethren; no one has the right to assess the guilt and pronounce sentences.