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Glory to God in the Highest

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“Do not be afraid; for behold I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” No, I’m not talking about a vaccine for the COVID virus, I am quoting from the gospel of Luke as to the pronouncement by the angel to the shepherds. The angel heralding the birth of Jesus. But the words are good ones to remember and live by.

The birth of Jesus is good news. It is THE good news and no matter what we are feeling, the recalling of God made one of us means that as we and the world are living through these times, so is Jesus. Knowing it was God’s choice to enter into the mess of humanity 2000 years ago, and still walks with us today, is the foundation of Advent and of joy.

It’s not too late to stop and enter into the mystery of Christmas. It’s not too late to find that joy which may have eluded you until the very moment you are reading this. Take this moment, right now, to ponder the reality of Jesus with us. What would it mean in your life and the life of your family if you lived each day, made each decision, knowing Jesus was at your side? Maybe, like the angel, you would become a herald of the Good News! Announcing the good news that God didn’t come to praise those high up, but to elevate the lowly, to bring comfort to those in sorrow, to quell fear to those distressed. God started life as a small vulnerable infant. Remember, as God cared for the Holy Family, you are cared for and protected.

This year may seem like one in which everything is askew, that nothing is what it was, and yet, on Christmas Day we celebrate a certainty. On Christmas Day, we celebrate that God loved us so much that He sent his only Son to be with us, and with that the world is changed forever. This year, we may need to draw this mystery out a little more. We may need to work harder at pondering the meaning of the birth of Jesus. We may have need to search deeper for joy, but it is there and it is waiting. It is not too late. Start with repeating, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Have a blessed Christmas season.

Woman of Worth

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Proverbs 31 is one of my favorite passages in scripture. In fact, it’s the only page I have dog-eared in my bible. There are a multitude of reasons I love this passage, but right now, when I have a tendency to busy myself with things, and then feel guilty about neglecting silent prayer, this passage gives me new light. This “Poem on the Woman of Worth” shows a woman who is uniquely prepared for Jesus’ coming, not only by working industriously to multiply the gifts God has given her, but also her humility in serving others.

This final week of Ordinary Time is preparing us for the end times, allowing us to assess our hearts’ readiness for Jesus’ second coming. Sometimes in this season we can feel inadequate. We think we are not ready to meet Him face to face. In fact, last week I asked our middle school Emmaus small group teens if they thought they would be ready if Jesus came today, and not a single one said yes. While this is a good reminder that we can always improve, sometimes I think we don’t give ourselves enough credit. Personally, I think these teens, and many of us adults, are ready. God has given us gifts to multiply and as long as we don’t bury them in the sand, but rather try our best to grow them for the sake of His kingdom, I believe He will be waiting for us with open arms when we reach the gates of heaven, exclaiming “Well done my good and faithful servant!”  

So I encourage you, instead of allowing this fear of the Lord’s second coming discourage you, allow it to inspire you to uncover those gifts that maybe you have buried, dust them off, and get creative with new ways to make them grow. Then you will be industrious in the ways of the Woman of Worth, knowing your deeds have sung your praise.

 

Love Like Jesus

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I learned a while back, through experiences with a counselor, that the adage that you hurt the ones you love the most is because you know that they will love you no matter what you do. When you love someone enough that they feel comfortable throwing every mean and nasty thing your direction, it plays out like a backwards compliment. That person feels safe with you. This is what it means to be Jesus. Love hurts. For as much as we love God/Jesus, we also are the source of tremendous hurt. Thank goodness God never stops loving us or caring for us in the way that we may stop loving or caring about those who hurt us. That is the power of God’s unconditional love and mercy. Love like Jesus.

And in your trials, praise the Lord, adore Him, praise Him, and if you are capable of praising Him in your trials, then He will solve your problems. This is the meaning of the Our Father: we are children and the Father does everything if we abandon ourselves to Him as little children. ~Fr. Tomislav Vlasic, spiritual counselor to the visionaries of Medjugorie

Tags: love, jesus, trust

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