READINGS for 2007-12-21
“How happy you are to believe that the Lord’s message to you will come true.” – Luke 1:45
My sister is a doctor. She just passed the medical board exam late last year. It was a four-part test, two weekends back-to-back. She studied really well for it.
The first three days were extremely difficult for her. But every day of the test she would get up an hour early to have her usual quiet time to ask for strength and guidance. On the last day of the exams, she came into my room at 5:30 a.m. with tears in her eyes. She said, “George, you wrote the Didache reflection for today. It’s about me graduating from med school.” I had written that reflection a year before that day. She was then about to graduate from med school and I narrated how in her first year she didn’t think she would make it — but God saw her through. And here she was about to take the next step, with God reassuring her again.
She walked into that examination room with faith. God had promised to be with her.
And she made it.
What a privilege to know that even before the battle was over God had already promised victory. What a sweet God we have to whisper at the last minute, just when we’re about to give up: “Hang on, you’re gonna make it.” George G.
God has made promises to you. Do you believe them?
Lord, I trust in Your faithfulness.
Song of Songs 2:8-14 (or Zephaniah 3:14-18)
One of the great Scriptural themes to study is that of God’s love for His people. The Song of Songs is a wonderful expression of this love. It is important that we do allow our relationship to become a ‘clinical’ reality devoid of the emotion and excitement of love. God wants to love us passionately and we should respond in a similar manner. There is nothing wrong with this, in fact, it is how it was meant to be from the beginning.
8 Hark! my lover — here he comes springing across the mountains, leaping across the hills. 9 My lover is like a gazelle or a young stag. Here he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattices. 10 My lover speaks; he says to me, “Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one, and come! 11 For see, the winter is past, the rains are over and gone. 12 The flowers appear on the earth, the time of pruning the vines has come, and the song of the dove is heard in our land. 13 The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance. Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one, and come! 14 O my dove in the clefts of the rock, in the secret recesses of the cliff, let me see you, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and you are lovely.”
P S A L M
Psalm 33:2-3, 11-12, 20-21
R: Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.
2 Give thanks to the LORD on the harp; with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises. 3 Sing to him a new song; pluck the strings skillfully, with shouts of gladness. (R) 11 But the plan of the LORD stands forever; the design of his heart, through all generations. 12 Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he has chosen for his own inheritance. (R) 20 Our soul waits for the LORD, who is our help and our shield, 21 for in him our hearts rejoice; in his holy name we trust. (R)
G O S P E L
Each person God has created loves according to who they are and God’s call upon their life. We see in Mary’s love for her kinswoman Elizabeth, the kind of filial love that is important for a strong family commitment. God could not have chosen a better woman to be the mother of His Son! There are many types of love that are designed for the various situations in which we will find ourselves through life. Let us pray that we have the wisdom and strength to love in the way that God wants us to and always for the right reasons.
39 During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, 40 where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, 42 cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43 And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”
think: Let us pray that we have the wisdom and strength to love in the way that God wants us to and always for the right reasons.
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Hebrews 11-13
CHRISTMAS AND THE EUCHARIST
Let me suggest why people make so many happy visits during Christmas. God was the first to have made a visit on Christmas day. He visited us, His beloved creatures. His visit was such that He took upon Himself our fallen nature and appeared as one like us in all things, but sin.
However, God was not content with a passing visit. He stayed with us. Christmas is Jesus coming to us. The Eucharist is Jesus staying with us.
While God was the first to have made a visit on Christmas, Mary was the first to have welcomed Him. And with God in her womb, Mary went in haste to make her Christmas visit. The Gospel today paints for us that beautiful visit of the Blessed Mother to her cousin, Elizabeth. She, too, was not satisfied with a momentary visit. She stayed with Elizabeth about three months, attending to her cousin’s maternity needs, before she went home. Mary, with Jesus in her womb, is like Jesus in the Eucharist. She came, she stayed, and she served.
The same thing should happen as we receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Our visits should be visits that bring Jesus to the people we visit. Then our visits become Eucharistic as we linger to attend to the needs of the people we go to. When this happens, we ourselves become Eucharistic. If Christmas is Jesus coming to us while the Eucharist is Jesus staying with us, Christmas is receiving Jesus while the Eucharist is becoming like Jesus to others. It is not a choice between the two; rather one should flow to the other. Christmas has its fullest meaning in the Eucharist.
Welcoming Jesus in Bethlehem must necessarily lead us to bringing Jesus everywhere.
God has visited us. We surely owe Him a visit. The church is His house; we can always find Him there. But His favorite address is the least of our brethren; we always have them with us.
God stays with us. He truly is Emmanuel, God-With-Us. The Eucharist is His real presence. But we, who receive Him in the Eucharist, are likewise His Body.
We are His presence, too.
Christmas is Jesus being born to us. The Eucharist is us becoming Jesus to others. Fr. Bobby T.
REFLECTION QUESTION: Christmas is Jesus coming to us while the Eucharist is Jesus staying with us.
Jesus, You are truly Emmanuel, “God-with-us”. While we remember annually Your birth on Christmas Day, we celebrate Your presence in our midst up until today through the Holy Eucharist. As we receive You in the Holy Eucharist, transform us and make us Your loving presence to others who either visit us or are visited by us. We pray, maranatha, come, Lord Jesus! We pray, make us become more and more like You. Amen.
Blessed Adrian, martyr, pray for us.
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