READINGS for 2008-12-23
EXtRA WAIt, EXtRAORDINARY
When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. – Luke 1:57
For those who know God, waiting on Him is the rule instead of the exception. Ask Noah who had to look stupid for 120 years until the rains came. Ask Abraham who was a hundred years old when Isaac was born to him. Ask Moses who lived alone in the desert for 40 years until the curtains were raised. The list goes on.
Extra “waiting” makes an ordinary person extraordinary. Extraordinary gifts require extra wait. The waiting equips us with the muscular faith and understanding we need to fully enjoy, manage and share the extraordinary blessing God wants to bestow.
A student once asked the president of his school if there was a course he could take that was shorter than the one prescribed. “Oh yes,” replied the president, “but then it depends on what you want to be. When God wants to make an oak, He takes a hundred years, but when He wants to make a squash, He takes six months!”
We only need to wait one day — one day at a time. The same God who’s in the coming “Big Event” is in this day with you. Can anything be bigger than this day?Jon Escoto
Have you been bored and disappointed with waiting? Maybe the “Big Event” has taken over the place of the Lord of the Big Event in your life.
Lord, make me see You every day. Make me enjoy Your gifts today, but more importantly, make me enjoy You. The journey can be as joyful as the Big Event if I experience You here at my side.
Here we have one of the traditional calls to purification. Malachi reminds us that this is a season of penance and that we should be seeking to purify our lives of all sin and focus our response of faith upon the will of God again. We have a constant need to do this as we are not yet perfected in our faith and lives. There is still sin that has to be dealt with and there is always another step deeper we can go in our faith walk.
Malachi 3:1-4, 23-24
1 Thus says the LORD GOD: Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me; and suddenly there will come to the temple the LORD whom you seek, and the messenger of the covenant whom you desire. Yes, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. 2 But who will endure the day of his coming? And who can stand when he appears? For he is like the refiner’s fire, or like the fuller’s lye. 3 He will sit refining and purifying [silver], and he will purify the sons of Levi, refining them like gold or like silver that they may offer due sacrifice to the LORD. 4 Then the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem will please the LORD, as in days of old, as in years gone by. 23 Lo, I will send you Elijah, the prophet, before the day of the LORD comes, the great and terrible day, 24 to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with doom.
P S A L M
Psalm 25:4-5ab, 8-9, 10 and 14
R: Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.
4 Your ways, O LORD, make known to me; teach me your paths, 5 guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior. (R) 8 Good and upright is the LORD; thus he shows sinners the way. 9 He guides the humble to justice, he teaches the humble his way. (R) 10 All the paths of the LORD are kindness and constancy toward those who keep his covenant and his decrees. 11 For your name’s sake, O LORD, you will pardon my guilt, great as it is. 14 The friendship of the LORD is with those who fear him, and his covenant, for their instruction. (R)
Elizabeth gives birth to a son and Zechariah insists he is to be named John even though this is not a name in his family background. This act of obedience restores his voice and also signifies that the life of John will be something different. A new name in the family signifies a new thing is happening. The people recognize this as they wonder what is in store for the life of this child. We know who he will be and what he will do but that is for a later telling.
57 When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, 60 but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.” 61 But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” 62 So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. 63 He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. 64 Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. 65 Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. 66 All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be?” For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.
think:We Have a constant need for penance as we are not yet perfected in our faith and lives.
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 Nahum 1-3
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
When a mother is pregnant, she and her husband soon begin to discuss possible names for their child. At times, parents give strange names to their children, names the children are ashamed of when growing up. How much easier it would be to give them the names of saints, as the Church strongly suggests. A saint can become the model for the child.
Today’s gospel passage presents us a scene where a name is given to the newborn son of Zechariah and Elizabeth. We find all the relatives opposing the parents. But they insist on the name “John” because that is what Zechariah was told by Gabriel to name his child.
A name in ancient times were programs, telling something about the character of the person. They informed about the task this person should perform in life. Mary and Joseph were told to call their child “Yeshu” (Jesus) which means “God saves.” The Son of God became man to save humanity from sin and death. This was His task, His program.
Zechariah and Elizabeth were to name their boy “Yehohanan” (John) or “God is gracious.” John’s program and task was to announce that God was indeed gracious and was about to save humanity through His Son, Jesus. We do not read this gospel passage just because it fits for the time before Christmas. The name of the Baptist, John, makes us ponder on God’s graciousness to us. Why did God become man? The answer is simple: to save us. But there is another reason for becoming one of us. The author of the fourth Gospel put it this way: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but have eternal life.” So, it is God’s love, God’s kindness, God’s graciousness that made Him send His Son to become man. What will be our answer to God’s graciousness and love? May we be able to respond by radiating the love we received from Him and share it with those we meet these days. Fr. Rudy Horst
How do I deal with people? Do my actions reflect God’s kindness and graciousness?
Almighty Father, the name of the Baptist speaks to us in a powerful way about Your graciousness and love. Thank You for being so gracious to each and everyone of us, for becoming one of us and adopting us as Your children. We pray that we may be able to appreciate Your love and begin to be more gracious and kind to others so that we may make You visible in today’s world.
St. John of Kanty, priest, pray for us.
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