READINGS for 2008-12-01
“What you believe will be done for you.” – Matthew 8:13
Thirteen years ago, my father Gene, at the age of 75, stepped on a chair to reach for a light bulb in our garage that needed to be changed. Dad lost his balance and fell on the concrete ground, head first. He survived the fall but Dad had to go through two brain surgeries. He stayed in the ICU for almost six months. There were times when we thought he would die.
But through prayers, he slowly recovered. Still, his brain was damaged. He communicates with us only through moans and fragmented words and gestures. The emotional centers of his brain were scarred too. He is erratic, hotheaded and lacks self-restraint. His eyesight was also affected. Sometimes, he sees nothing but shadows, and gets depressed.
With all these problems, you’d think we would complain to God for not answering our prayer. On the contrary, we thank God for the “extension” of life He gave Dad. My father is now 88 years old and his mere presence is our answered prayer.
When we pray, many times, God doesn’t give us exactly what we pray for. But His answer will always be the best for us. We may not understand why it’s the best but that’s why it’s called faith. Bo Sanchez
Are you praying for something that hasn’t been answered yet? Don’t give up. And be open to the best.
Lord, take away my doubts that I may allow You to do whatever You’ve planned for me.
As Christians, when we are planning, or in the midst of mission, we have to believe that there is a hunger to know God deep within every person even if the person is not fully conscious of it. If not, then what are we trying to do? We would have nothing to build upon in their lives. I believe when people see Christianity lived to the full, they will be attracted to it in the same way Isaiah speaks of people heading to Jerusalem.
1 This is what Isaiah, son of Amoz, saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 In days to come, the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills. All nations shall stream toward it; 3 many peoples shall come and say “Come, let us climb the LORD’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.” For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again. 5 O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD!
P S A L M
Psalm 122:1-2, 3-4b, 4cd-5, 6-7, 8-9
R: Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
1 I rejoiced because they said to me, “We will go up to the house of the LORD.” 2 And now we have set foot within your gates, O Jerusalem. (R) 3 Jerusalem, built as a city with compact unity. 4 To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD. (R) According to the decree for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the LORD. 5 In it are setup judgment seats, seats for the house of David. (R) 6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May those who love you prosper! 7 May peace be within your walls, prosperity in your buildings. (R) 8 Because of my relatives and friends I will say, “Peace be within you!” 9 Because of the house of the LORD, our God, I will pray for your good. (R)
G O S P E L
What would it mean to your life to have faith in Christ as deep as the centurion in today’s Gospel? I know it would mean that I would worry a lot less than I do and that I would probably be more willing to step out in my faith and try a few new ideas in my ministry. It is not that these things are not happening now, but that they would go ahead a lot quicker and with greater freedom on my part.
5 When he entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, 6 saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.” 7 He said to him, “I will come and cure him.” 8 The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. 9 For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. 11 I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven.”
think: We have to believe that there is a hunger to know God deep within every person.
God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
T O D A Y ’ S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Ezekiel 24-28
ADVENT – A TIME TO STRENGTHEN OUR FAITH
Yesterday, we entered once more the beautiful time of Advent, a time the Church gives every year to prepare us for Christmas. The daily readings are well selected to guide and help us to prepare spiritually for the great feast of the birth of Christ. What, then, do today’s readings tell us?
Isaiah presents a grand vision of the future. It is a vision of eternal peace and happiness. This vision became true when Jesus was born. But, you will say, where is this peace now? Isn’t there more strife and quarrel than ever in the world? Did Jesus fail in His mission? Later in His public ministry, Jesus would speak and explain that the peace He came to bring is a peace of the heart, a peace that nobody can take away. It prevails even when we live in a world of division and war. Thisinner peace is rooted in a profound faith and trust that for God nothing is impossible, that He is in charge, and will eventually turn everything for the better. The Gospel reading introduces to us a pagan soldier who amazes us with his show of trust in Jesus’ authority. Rather than pressuring Jesus to come to his house and to heal his servant with his touch, he places full confidence in the Teacher: “Just give the order and my servant will be healed.”
One thing that takes peace from our hearts is lack of trust and faith in God’s power, love and providence. We get worried when we ask: “Does God hear me? Will God grant my prayer?” Look how calm the pagan soldier is. Don’t you feel that he is completely at peace? Why? Because he has faith, an unshakable faith.
Advent is given to us to strengthen our faith and trust in God. To hold back our trust leads to anxiety and fear of troubles, most of which never come true. Our trusting faith is the source of the inner peace Jesus came to bring us, of success and of inner joy. As Jesus said, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20). Fr. Rudy Horst
What causes my weak faith? What can I do to trust more in the Lord, especially in difficult situations?
Lord, at the beginning of this year’s Advent season, I ask for one grace: Increase and strengthen my faith in Your power and authority, in Your love and compassion. Let nothing shake my trust in You for whom nothing is impossible.
Blessed Richard Langley, English martyr, pray for us.
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