The Word of God

Daily Reflections

  • Reflection – Lectionary: 4

    For many adults during this time of waiting and watching, the profound images of Santa and his flying reindeer figure as a larger-than-life episode in warm, comforting, and beautiful Christmas memories. “How does that work?” we might have asked. We all knew that because of those remarkable creatures, Christmas night was to be a success every year. As we age, much of the childhood props begin to fade, and we are left with the only plausible explanation of why Christmas can and should make us very happy: “On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.”

    The great transition into adulthood allows us to keep hold of the wonder and priceless chill of a star-lit sky hoping that everyone receives what they want and need for Christmas. And isn’t that the core of belief at this time? Let everyone be lifted high to welcome the King of kings and the Lord of lords to bring us a great sense of love and forgiveness and deep love for those whom the Lord has given to us to love. That would be accomplished not by the light of deer but of other wonderfully inspired messengers and equally important for Christmas: “Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God.”

    We probably heard it said that God never promised us an easy flight but certainly a safe landing. That is most definitely true. And while we adults watch children all around us appreciate their childhood again, bills and promises and deadlines all loom as well. But it is Jesus who makes all this understandable, warm, beautiful, and comforting for all of us, kids and big kids alike. That’s why we can believe every word of the Gospel today: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”

    “He always knew he was a little different, but he let his light shine regardless of what others said. Be more like Rudolph!” from An Autistic Christmas

  • Reflection – Lectionary: 180

    Some of our readers have already placed that familiar collection of famous Christmas figures amidst a little hay, lights, and some photos of Christmas past. Among those figures are the Holy Family, Angels, Magi, and a couple of shepherds. While the image of a shepherd may not resound with many people today, the essential nature and quality of the person who takes care of sheep should never be forgotten or overlooked. A shepherd in the modern sense could easily apply to anyone who actively takes care of another, looking out for their needs and communicating to those whom they serve with the greatest amount of respect, devotion, and commitment. The more recognizable modern shepherds are parents, godparents, teachers, coaches, and mentors. Furthermore, we could also assert that these shepherds are Christ figures for the world today, acting in such a way that those receiving these acts of love and care will, with their own volition and freedom, pass the blessings forward to their children and or those in need in their future.

    “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” Here is the central issue and main concern of the meaning of the Scriptures today. Be like Christ! Whenever possible, find someone to save and save them. Pass on to them what you have received and ask for nothing in return but the knowledge and satisfaction that you are doing the work of the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. What a profound idea to consider when we realize how much we have been blessed by the Good Shepherd. With all those in the world who truly need guidance and vision, now is the time to shepherd those whom God has given us to love. Imagine being one of those shepherds who witnessed the First Christmas. How about being a shepherd who witnesses THIS Christmas?

    “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which He looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which He blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are His body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.” St. Teresa d’Avila

  • Reflection – Lectionary: 179

    One morning, I stopped on my way to work at a local gas station that also is a convenience store, vegetable market, breakfast/ lunch counter, and lastly, a stage of ongoing human drama. Of course, I arrived when there was a long line already formed for everything from unleaded gas to lottery tickets, so I purchased a cup of coffee and some other items and placed them on a small table toward the back when I realized that I had left my wallet in my car. As I returned, I witnessed a man of about twenty-five years of age stumble by the table, sit down, and literally spill over the coffee onto the fruit and the newspaper which I was about to purchase. “Breathe, breathe…” I continued to think to myself. I began to walk over to the table and once again, “breathe again, it’s the beginning of your day….please God, help me right now…” Slowing down, I was glad the hot coffee had not spilled over his clothes, and with no one else around, I guess I could’ve just left everything as it was, but that’s really not my way of doing things. I saw a mop in the nearby closet and just accepted the fact that this nice, freshly ironed, and dry-cleaned yellow shirt of mine would be less than crisp and ready for my desk work today. When I turned around, I was so thankful for God’s grace and mercy. That young man was blind.

    As I neared the table with the mop, I began to say as gently and as slowly as I could, “I’m sorry about all this. It’s my coffee. Don’t worry, I’ll clean it up. No worries.” He also tried to apologize; before you knew it, it was all better and clean. I suggested that we thank God that no one was burned or hurt and that we could walk and still make this day good no matter what. “Jesus defeated death,” I said, “and he can surely take care of little spilled coffee.” One of the attendants, who apparently had been up all night on the graveyard shift, suddenly appeared and barked at both of us, “who’s going to pay for the coffee and all this other stuff?” I looked up and surveyed the man who was easily half a foot taller than me and who obviously played football in high school: “I guess I will, sir.”

    “NO YOU WON’T!” came a fierce response from the refrigerated coolers around the corner. It came from an older woman, dressed for work and apparently for action, who continued, “I saw the whole thing. Get away from there! I’ll take care of it!” And with that, she not only paid for my items but yet another set for me and for my blind friend and a coffee for herself, and all three of us sat for about 10 minutes just talking about nothing….”

    Today we are celebrating this great Season of Advent, a time of transformation and growth when there will be no doubt many opportunities to learn something new and find new fellow Christians struggling as much as we are. What could we learn from what God has exposed us to open our hearts and minds? Let’s take a look:

    “And out of gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind shall see.” Let us not rush to judgment and quickly rely on the appearances of things. Treasures are lurking. “Those who err in spirit shall acquire understanding, and those who find fault shall receive instruction.” When we trust in Jesus, the light will shine even through the toughest of moments. “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?” We can never be lost if we follow the Light of the World closely because that is precisely why he came to us: “And their eyes were opened.”

    “The only thing worse than being blind is having no vision.” Helen Keller

  • Reflection – Lectionary: 178

    “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.” Everyone builds their very existence (house) on something. Every person we meet already has a foundation underneath everything they do and say. The one true revelation as to that base of life is what happens to a person when a storm or severe crisis hits. What do they do? Who do they turn to? What is their strategy? Rock (Jesus) or Sand (the world)?

    Here is what St. John Chrysostom has to say about it: “By ‘rain’ here, and ‘floods,’ and ‘winds,’ He is expressing metaphorically the calamities and afflictions that befall everyone; such as false accusations, plots, bereavements, deaths, loss of friends, vexations from strangers, all the ills in our life that any one could mention. ‘But to none of these,’ says He, ‘does such a soul give way; and the cause is, it is founded on the rock.'”

    The real mystery of Christmas is quite dramatic. Imagine the plight of Mary and Joseph, the Holy Innocents, the Magi, and the countless unsung people who helped make the birth of Christ the magnificent event it was. What it can truly teach you and me right here, right now, is simple: Sometimes, you have to bow your head, say a prayer, and weather the storm. – Zig Ziglar

  • Reflection – Lectionary: 684

    “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Apart from being so close to the water and thus positioned by the Sea of Galilee, there must be other more powerful reasons why Jesus called Fishermen to follow Him and why fishing has become a very important image for all of us in discipleship. What do fishing and living a Christian life have in common? Here are some possibilities:

    You’ve got to be prepared. “For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.” (First Reading)
    You’ve got to get up early. “At once they left their nets and followed him.” (Gospel)
    You’ve got to be quiet. “The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul.” (Psalm)
    You’ve got to wait. “Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.” (First Reading)
    You’ve got to be persistent and determined. “The command of the LORD is clear enlightening the eye.” (Psalm)
    You’ve got to practice and enjoy the process. “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!” (First Reading)

    Let us conclude our Reflection today with the brilliant prayer of St. Andrew, whose feast is today:

    O glorious St. Andrew, you were the first to recognize and follow the Lamb of God. With your friend, St. John, you remained with Jesus for that first day, for your entire life, and now throughout eternity. As you led your brother, St. Peter, to Christ and many others after him, draw us also to Him. Teach us to lead others to Christ solely out of love for Him and dedication in His service. Help us to learn the lesson of the Cross and to carry our daily crosses without complaint so that they may carry us to Jesus. Amen.

  • Reflection – Lectionary: 176

    One day in the Jubilee Year 2000, a young and very curious 5-year-old son of a very busy and dedicated Mom approached her just days before the Great Holiday of Christmas and asked, “What does Jesus get for His birthday?” That one very honest and simple question launched years of joy-giving traditions with this particular family that turned wish lists into giving lists, love packages of baked goods for lonely neighbors, and looking through special catalogs to purchase food and much-needed items for poor children all across the globe. Can you stop for a minute and imagine the kind of adult that little boy has become today? Yes, you can: “I give you praise, Father, Lord of Heaven and earthy, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.”

    This Advent time invites us all to accomplish many fine things. Among them, we can make a list of all the blessings we have received and not a list of all the things we want or even need. There is also the pull upon all our hearts to spend more time in silence and then listen intensely. We can share our faith in ways that we never thought possible. This would be the voice of hope and comfort for those around us whom we would never have imagined: “Behold, our Lord shall come with power; he will enlighten the eyes of his servants.”

    “The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of love and of generosity and of goodness. It illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than in things.” Thomas S. Monson

  • Reflection – Lectionary: 175

    There is something quite marvelous that has happened every Christmas Eve in Finland since the early 14th century: it is known as the “Declaration of Peace.” It accompanies various musical instruments, including drums, choral singing, and even symphonic strings. What is it? It is basically a highly anticipated announcement made in the old capital of Turku that attests and demands everyone to act with peace and love during the Christmas Season.

    Here is the actual text: “Tomorrow, God willing, is the graceful celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior; and thus is declared a peaceful Christmas time to all, by advising devotion and to behave otherwise quietly and peacefully, because he who breaks this peace and violates the peace of Christmas by any illegal or improper behavior shall under aggravating circumstances be guilty and punished according to what the law and statutes prescribe for each and every offense separately. Finally, a joyous Christmas feast is wished to all inhabitants of the city.”

    This Declaration helps us understand and work for the meanings found in our Readings today: “On that day, The branch of the LORD will be luster and glory, and the fruit of the earth will be honor and splendor for the survivors of Israel,” and in the Responsorial Psalm: “Because of my relatives and friends I will say, ‘Peace be within you!'” The great Season of Advent attempts the same as the Finnish declaration: we are called to be people of peace and comfort for each other, and we are to be people of faith and hope that call upon the name of Christ in every situation. “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.”

    “Peace on earth will come to stay when we live Christmas every day.” Helen Steiner Rice