READINGS for 2008-12-31

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



“… the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” – John 1:5
So we come to this day... the last day of the year. I can almost see the fireworks! It’s always amazing to watch them. The greatest fireworks are the biggies — the ones that undeniably brighten up the sky. They start with a bang and splash a myriad of colors. Watching the fountain of sparks, every adult is a child again. It gives great joy, and no matter how fleeting, it uplifts the spirit.
Sometime before nightfall today, as has been our ritual, my husband and I will sit by the Christmas tree, read our diaries and journals, and look back. We shall thank the Lord for events that have transpired this year. We will count our blessings, even those disguised as trials, and see all the wonders the Lord has done.
Don’t the greatest blessings come when the situation seems hopeless? The brightest mornings are those that appear from the darkest nights.
Come to think of it, blessings can be likened to fireworks. They pierce through the darkness and conquer the gloom. What were your lowest points this year, my friend? Know this: the light shines in the darkness, and darkness cannot overcome it. Lallaine Gogna
As you watch the fireworks tonight, think of your many blessings this past year. Bask in the brightness of God’s unfailing love.
Dear Lord, cast away all darkness in my life. I surrender every resentment, guilt and sadness. May Your light forth shine from me this new year. Amen.


In one sense, it is the last days for us, namely the sense that we have only one life to live and then there is judgment. The Lord may not come again for thousands of years but that is not going to change the fact that you will die within the next, probably less than 80 years at the most. Each of us should be taking care that we are ready to go to the Lord at any time as we do not know when we will be called from this life.
1 John 2:18-21
18 Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not really of our number; if they had been, they would have remained with us. Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number. 20 But you have the anointing that comes from the holy one, and you all have knowledge. 21 I write to you not because you do not know the truth but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth.
Psalm 96:1-2, 11-12, 13
R: Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
1 Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all you lands. 2 Sing to the LORD; bless his name; announce his salvation, day after day. (R) 11 Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; let the sea and what fills it resound; 12 let the plains be joyful and all that is in them! Then shall all the trees of the forest exult before the LORD. (R) 13 The LORD comes; for he comes to rule the earth. He shall rule the world with justice and the peoples with his constancy. (R)
These opening lines from the Gospel of John are full of ideas upon which we should spend time in thought and reflection. Only when we are committed to a serious and comprehensive study of God’s word will we be able to draw the full sense of what it means for our lives. A cursory reading, no matter how frequent, will fail to delve anything other than the literal sense of the Scriptures at best. If we call upon the Holy Spirit to help us, look to the guidance of the Church in our study, and give Him time to speak to our hearts, I am sure we will be richly rewarded for our efforts.
John 1:1-18
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be 4 through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; 5 the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6 A man named John was sent from God. 7 He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. 9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. 12 But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, 13 who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth. 15 John testified to him and cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’ ” 16 From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, 17 because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.
my reflections
think: If we call upon the Holy Spirit to help us, look to the guidance of the Church in our study, and give Him time to speak to our hearts, I am sure we will be richly rewarded for our efforts.

God’s special verse/thought for me today________________

Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
Did I fulfill my last Quarter Goals?
What were the most important words the Lord gave to me this quarter?
What were my greatest blessings these past three months?
What are my most pressing needs for the next quarter?



The last day of another year has dawned. During the last hours, many of us participate in some worldly “rites” which are mainly marked by amusement and often lived as an evasion from reality to exorcise the negative aspects, and hope to guarantee improbable good luck. How different the attitude of the Christian community must be. With Mary, whose feast we celebrate already during the Mass tonight, the Church is invited to keep her gaze fixed on the Infant Jesus, the new Sun rising on the horizon of humanity and, comforted by His light, present to Him “the joy and the hope, the grief and the anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted.”
Depending on what this year brought, we either celebrate or spend the last hours of 2008 in deep thought. We remember the many joys we have experienced, our successes, exciting experiences, and great events in our individual life, in our community, and in the world. But there was not only sunshine. Life, so we have realized, is always a mixture of good and evil, of joy and of sorrow, of success and of failure, of gain and of loss.
We ask ourselves whether we have become better persons or not, whether we have come closer to God or not. We have to admit that we have failed many times and that in some areas of life we did not grow because of our weakness and sinfulness.
As we entered this year, taking the hand of our heavenly Mother, so we end this year by turning to her. We thank her for her guidance, for her protection and intercession. She encourages us to trust in her Son’s mercy and love and look with confidence into the future. As 2008 was a “Year of the Lord,” so will 2009 be. Only our trust in God and Mary’s maternal care assures us of a future lived in God’s loving Providence.
I wish all readers of Sabbath a peaceful yearend and God’s abundant blessings and graces for the New Year. Fr. Rudy Horst
Reflection Question:
What were the main blessings I received this year? What can I do better next year?
Lord, in these last hours of the year, thank You for all You have done for me. I thank You for all the graces and blessings You have showered upon me. Thank You, too, Mother Mary. For all the wrongdoings I ask forgiveness and entrust myself joyfully, Lord, to Your mercy.
St. Slyvester, pope, pray for us.

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