READINGS for 2006-12-18

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



"?his name is Emmanuel, God with us.?? ? Matthew 1:23

I love this time of the year not just because I will receive gifts, but more so because I will be giving them. One of the greatest joys in life is giving. I know you agree. On the first Christmas day, God gave us the greatest gift of all: His Son, Jesus Christ.
      One of the deepest theological questions I have heard is: ?Would the Lord have come if we haven?t sinned?? What do you think? Would he? The answer to this query will blow your mind. Yes, Jesus would still have chosen to come to us because that is His very nature?to give life. With or without our need for Him, He would freely offer Himself for us that we might have life to the full.
      A gift is a gift because we do not deserve it. If we deserve something, it is called a prize. We do not deserve Jesus; that is why He is the best gift to us from the Father. We needed a savior but we never thought God Himself would come to save us. Indeed, nothing can surpass this gift.
      My friend, God?s present to you is His presence.Arun G.

This Christmas, don?t just give presents; give your presence.

Jesus, how blessed we are that we have You, our Emmanuel!



Jeremiah 23:5-8

The words of Isaiah are full of hope that their deliverance is close at hand. Isaiah recognizes that a day is coming that will be at least as significant as that nation-forming event where Moses brought the people out of slavery in Egypt. We know what that event will be, namely the birth, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! He delivers us from slavery to sin, not just an earthly power. This is a definitive victory that will set all people free to return to God in repentance. Let us pray that we will be faithful to the call to live as the redeemed sons and daughters of God.

5 Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David; as king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land. 6 In his days Judah shall be saved, Israel shall dwell in security. This is the name they give him ?The LORD our justice.? 7 Therefore, the days will come, says the LORD, when they shall no longer say, ?As the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites out of the land of Egypt?; 8 but rather, ?As the LORD lives, who brought the descendants of the house of Israel up from the land of the north? ? and from all the lands to which I banished them; they shall again live on their own land.


Psalm 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19

R: Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.

1 O God, with your judgment endow the king, and with your justice, the king?s son; 2 he shall govern your people with justice and your afflicted ones with judgment. (R) 12 For he shall rescue the poor man when he cries out, and the afflicted when he has no one to help him. 13 He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor; the lives of the poor he shall save. (R) 18 Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous deeds. 19  And blessed forever be his glorious name; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. (R)


Matthew 1:18-25

It must have been terribly difficult and even humiliating for him to take Mary as his wife, knowing that she is already pregnant and that he was not the father of the child! Yet in obedience to the word of God, he does this and becomes the earthly father of Jesus training Him as a carpenter and in the ways of faith. Joseph is the silent type. Little is known about him, yet he contributed much to the work of salvation. He is the quiet achiever. He gets the job done with a minimum of fuss and bother. Do we get the job done that God places before us?

18 Now 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. 19 Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. 20 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. 21 She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.? 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 ?Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,? which means ?God is with us.? 24 When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. 25 He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus.

my reflections
Do we get the job that God places before us done?



God?s special verse/thought for me today________________


Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________






We have two Josephs in the Bible that are remembered for their dreams. Both are also sons of a man named Jacob.
      The first is from the Old Testament and dreamt of greatness over and above his household. He was proven right when, despite the evil schemes of his brothers, he rose to power, second only to the pharaoh himself over Egypt. Thanks to his talent of interpreting dreams! As he rose to power, however, he did not go down to the level of his brothers by getting even with them. He saved from hunger the brothers who sold him to slave traders.
      The second is from the New Testament and dreamt about the greatness of the Child his fianc?e conceived. The Child was not his but was made his. Thanks to his love for the mother and faith in the Child. That love saved the mother from being stoned to death. That faith made him obedient to the will of God revealed to him in a dream. That love and that faith gave us Christmas.
      Most people love dreaming. It is free for anyone to dream. Sky?s the limit! But dreams come true only when dreaming ends and waking begins. The same is true for our two Josephs. Joseph in the Old Testament woke up after every dream he had and worked to make them come true. Joseph in the New Testament, the husband of Mary and foster father of Jesus, likewise woke up after his dream today and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.
      Dreams are good. But no matter how good they are, they become nightmares when they extend our slumber in a world that wakes us up. When we cannot wake up anymore, dreams can kill us. Dreams are supposed to wake us up!
      Christmas is God?s dream for us. Like Joseph in the Gospel today, it must wake us up so that Jesus may be born. Fr. Bobby T.

Does Christmas wake me up or does it keep me in dreamland?

Bless our dreams, O Lord, and make them all good. Bless our dreams, O Lord, and wake us up to make them come true. Bless our dreams, O Lord, and may they be Yours too. And when our dreams are not good, when they do not wake us up, when they are not Your dreams too, shake us, wake us, rock us, disturb us. May we only dream and work with You. Amen.

St. Winebald, abbot confessor, pray for us.

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