READINGS for 2007-12-06
CHRISTMAS LOVE IN THE FAMILY
“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” – Matthew 7:24
Last Christmas my friend Arun Gogna texted me: “After all the busy-ness of the preparation and the extravagant celebration is over, let us pause and reflect: Why is my wallet so empty?” I smiled at my friend’s joke but also reflected on it.
What is Christmas? Christmas is about God’s generous love birthed primarily within the family context. It’s about a righteous and meek father – Joseph; a chaste and obedient mother – Mary; and a child who was born to bless the world – Jesus.
Therefore, when fathers grow in the virtue of righteousness and meekness, when mothers grow in the virtue of purity of heart and obedience, when parents raise their children to become “blessings” to the world, and when children grow in character to be blessings to their family and ultimately to the world – then Christmas has come.
Then, it’s okay that our wallets are empty.
As long as our hearts are filled with God’s love and that we share His love within and outside the home, then it’s Christmas time.
Let’s be generous at loving and build our house upon the Rock. Obet C.
Start love from the roots. It’s better to build a child than to repair an adult.
“…sin and error pining till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.”
We must learn to have a greater trust in the Lord. Isaiah prophecies that the unjust will eventually be brought to judgment and their citadels will be toppled. This prophecy echoes the teaching of Jesus where He says that the last will be first and the first last as well as the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. There is no doubt that we have been told we should live just lives. Let us get on with doing it!
1 On that day they will sing this song in the land of Judah, “A strong city have we; he sets up walls and ramparts to protect us. 2 Open up the gates to let in a nation that is just, one that keeps faith. 3 A nation of firm purpose you keep in peace; in peace, for its trust in you.” 4 Trust in the LORD forever! For the LORD is an eternal Rock. 5 He humbles those in high places, and the lofty city he brings down; he tumbles it to the ground, levels it with the dust. 6 It is trampled underfoot by the needy, by the footsteps of the poor.
P S A L M
Psalm 118:1, 8-9, 19-21, 25-27
R: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever. 8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. 9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes. (R) 19 Open to me the gates of justice; I will enter them and give thanks to the LORD. 20 This gate is the LORD’s; the just shall enter it. 21 I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me and have been my savior. (R) 25 O LORD, grant salvation! O LORD, grant prosperity! 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD; we bless you from the house of the LORD. 27 The LORD is God, and he has given us light. (R)
G O S P E L
Holiness and righteousness are not just concepts to be admired from a distance. We ought to embrace their calls and seek them with all of our heart, mind and strength. Likewise, faith is not just an abstract concept. It ought to impel us to action such that we are growing in righteous living every day. This will be the only true sign that our faith is deepening and we are growing closer to Jesus each day.
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 24 “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25 The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. 26 And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. 27 The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”
think: Holiness and righteousness are not just concepts to be admired from a distance. We ought to embrace their calls and seek them with all of our heart, mind and strength.
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR 2 Corinthians 1-5
Many years back, a TV ad for a certain brand of cigarette said, “A little practice goes a long, long way.” While it is always never healthy to practice smoking, there was truth in the selling theme of that brand of cigarette: more practice makes perfect. A little practice each day may seem to be insignificant, but without daily practice, we cannot get anywhere. A Chinese proverb says, “A thousand mile begins with a single step.” Taking a step each day brings us where we want to be. The same is true with Christian discipleship. Knowing the Lord will never get us anywhere in our spiritual growth unless we put into practice what has been revealed to us by Christ. Belonging to His Kingdom is never a matter of knowing only. It is a matter of doing.
Sometimes when an applicant for a job wants to make an impression, he or she name-drops as he or she presents his or her credentials. Sometimes, it works. More often, it does not. But always, name-dropping is not a good practice.
We know the Lord but knowing Him is never enough. Knowing Him should lead us to imitating Him. Know Jesus so that we may live like Jesus.
The movement from knowing to doing takes time. Let us not be discouraged if it happens slowly or if we experience failures along the way. Practicing smoking does not really go a long, long way because it shortens life. But practicing what the Lord teaches does go a long, long way because it gives eternal life. Fr. Bobby T.
REFLECTION QUESTION: How far have I gone now in practicing my faith each day?
Thank You, Jesus, for revealing Your Self to us. We have come to know You, and through You, we have come to know the Father and the Holy Spirit as well. Help us to persevere translating what we know into deeds that prove that we belong to Your Kingdom. Amen.
St. Abraham of Kratia, bishop and hermit, pray for us.
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