Monday of the Second Week of Advent

Reading I Is 35:1-10

    The desert and the parched land will exult;
        the steppe will rejoice and bloom.
    They will bloom with abundant flowers,
        and rejoice with joyful song.
    The glory of Lebanon will be given to them,
        the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
    They will see the glory of the LORD,
        the splendor of our God.
    Strengthen the hands that are feeble,
        make firm the knees that are weak,
    Say to those whose hearts are frightened:
        Be strong, fear not!
    Here is your God,
        he comes with vindication;
    With divine recompense
        he comes to save you.
    Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,
        the ears of the deaf be cleared;
    Then will the lame leap like a stag,
        then the tongue of the mute will sing.

    Streams will burst forth in the desert,
        and rivers in the steppe.
    The burning sands will become pools,
        and the thirsty ground, springs of water;
    The abode where jackals lurk
        will be a marsh for the reed and papyrus.
    A highway will be there,
        called the holy way;
    No one unclean may pass over it,
        nor fools go astray on it.
    No lion will be there,
        nor beast of prey go up to be met upon it.
    It is for those with a journey to make,
        and on it the redeemed will walk.
    Those whom the LORD has ransomed will return
        and enter Zion singing,
        crowned with everlasting joy;
    They will meet with joy and gladness,
        sorrow and mourning will flee.

Responsorial Psalm 85:9ab and 10, 11-12, 13-14

R.    (Isaiah 35:4f)  Our God will come to save us!
I will hear what God proclaims;
    the LORD –for he proclaims peace to his people.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
    glory dwelling in our land.
R.    Our God will come to save us!
Kindness and truth shall meet;
    justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
    and justice shall look down from heaven.
R.    Our God will come to save us!
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
    our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
    and salvation, along the way of his steps.
R.    Our God will come to save us!

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Behold the king will come, the Lord of the earth,
and he himself will lift the yoke of our captivity.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 5:17-26

One day as Jesus was teaching,
Pharisees and teachers of the law,
who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem,
were sitting there,
and the power of the Lord was with him for healing. 
And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed;
they were trying to bring him in and set him in his presence. 
But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd,
they went up on the roof
and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles
into the middle in front of Jesus. 
When Jesus saw their faith, he said,
“As for you, your sins are forgiven.” 

Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves,
“Who is this who speaks blasphemies? 
Who but God alone can forgive sins?” 
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply,
“What are you thinking in your hearts? 
Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–
he said to the one who was paralyzed,
“I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” 

He stood up immediately before them,
picked up what he had been lying on,
and went home, glorifying God. 
Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God,
and, struck with awe, they said,
“We have seen incredible things today.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Here is Your God Who Comes to Save You / Aquí Está tu Dios que Viene a Salvarte

It’s funny the things you remember from your childhood. Like the images from movies, lines from a quirky joke or the faces your siblings used to make. But when it comes to Advent, one song in particular comes to mind. It’s not melodious like Silent Night or nostalgic like O Little Town of Bethlehem, but rather almost like the beat of a march.

“The King of Glory comes, the nation rejoices, open the gates before Him, lift up your voices. Who is the King of Glory? How shall we call him? He is Emmanuel, the promised of ages…”

I’m pretty sure a bit of interior grumbling went on when the organist began the intro because I really didn’t like the tune one bit (and I still don’t). I wanted something upbeat or beautiful during this time of preparation. But perhaps it is this song that fits the season best. 

What are we preparing for? For the King of Glory to Come. And Who is He? The One who has been promised to us from ages past, Emmanuel. And what are we to do in preparation for his coming? Pull up our bootstraps, get our orders from on High and march to the beat of His drum.  Isn’t that what it’s really all about? Leaving our own ways behind to follow His ways?

That is what he came to this world to do, to show us the way. The word “Emmanuel”, brings another song to mind, perhaps a more secular one, by Amy Grant. She sings “Emmanuel, God with us. Emmanuel…” and then goes on to speak of typical seasonal ambiance. Yet she hits the nail on the head with these few words. What truly matters here is that God is with us. He came from heaven to earth to be with us and continues to abide with us in our hearts and in the Sacraments. 

Today’s First Reading from Isaiah is one of my favorites because it is filled with so much hope. “The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom. They will bloom with abundant flowers, and rejoice with joyful song. The glory of Lebanon will be given to them,  the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; They will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God. Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak, say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication;     With divine recompense he comes to save you.”

May the promised coming of the King of Glory, Emmanuel, the one who makes deserts bloom and gives strength to frightened hearts, be the foremost thought in your minds today as you continue to prepare the way of the Lord.

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Es gracioso las cosas que recuerdas de tu infancia. Como las imágenes de las películas, las líneas de un chiste peculiar o las caras que solían hacer tus hermanos. Pero cuando se trata de Adviento, me viene a la mente una canción en particular. No es melodiosa como Noche de Paz o nostálgica como Portal de Belén, sino casi como el ritmo de una marcha.

“Viene el Rey de la Gloria, la nación se regocija, ábrenle las puertas, alcen sus voces. ¿Quién es el Rey de Gloria? ¿Cómo lo llamaremos? Es Emmanuel, el prometido de los siglos…”

Estoy bastante seguro de que hubo algunas quejas internas cuando la organista comenzó la introducción porque realmente no me gustaba la melodía para nada (y todavía no me gusta). Quería algo alegre o hermoso durante este tiempo de preparación. Pero tal vez sea esta canción la más apropiada para la temporada.

¿Para qué nos estamos preparando? Para el Rey de Gloria por venir. ¿Y quién es? Aquel que nos ha sido prometido desde tiempos pasados, Emmanuel. ¿Y qué debemos hacer en preparación para su venida? Levantarnos, recibir nuestras órdenes de lo alto y marchar al ritmo de Su tambor. ¿No es eso de lo que realmente se trata? ¿Dejar atrás nuestros propios caminos para seguir Sus caminos?

Para eso vino a este mundo, para mostrarnos el camino. La palabra “Emmanuel”, trae a la mente otra canción, quizás más secular, de Amy Grant. Ella canta “Emmanuel, God with us (Dios está con nosotros)” y luego pasa a hablar de un ambiente típico de la temporada. Sin embargo, ella da en el clavo con estas pocas palabras. Lo que realmente importa aquí es que Dios está con nosotros. Vino del cielo a la tierra para estar con nosotros y continúa habitando con nosotros en nuestros corazones y en los Sacramentos.

La Primera Lectura de hoy de Isaías es una de mis favoritas porque está llena de mucha esperanza. “Regocíjate, yermo sediento. Que se alegre el desierto y se cubra de flores, que florezca como un campo de lirios, que se alegre y dé gritos de júbilo, porque le será dada la gloria del Líbano, el esplendor del Carmelo y del Sarón. Ellos verán la gloria del Señor, el esplendor de nuestro Dios. Fortalezcan las manos cansadas, afiancen las rodillas vacilantes. Digan a los de corazón apocado: ‘¡Ánimo! No teman. He aquí que su Dios, vengador y justiciero, viene ya para salvarlos’.”

Que la venida prometida del Rey de la Gloria, Emmanuel, el que hace florecer los desiertos y da fuerza a los corazones atemorizados, sea el pensamiento principal en sus mentes hoy mientras sigan preparando el camino del Señor.

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Feature Image Credit: Victor Gonzalez, cathopic.com/photo/11336-jesus-en-el-pesebre


Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling projects, finding fun ways to keep her little ones occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at for Christian Healthcare Centers, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for over 20 years.

Daily Prayer for December 5

Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him. Daniel 7:27, NIV

Lord our God, dear Father, you have made yourself known on earth so that we may love you and be loved by you. Give us your Spirit, we pray. Give us your Spirit to strengthen us in the life and work you offer us. Watch over us on all our ways. Wherever your children are sighing and calling for you, protect and guide them with your mighty hand. Let your kingdom spread over the whole world, over all people, over all races and nations, that we may become united as servants of Jesus Christ to your honor. Amen.

 

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Second Sunday of Advent

Reading 1 Is 11:1-10

On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him:
a spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
a spirit of counsel and of strength,
a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.
Not by appearance shall he judge,
nor by hearsay shall he decide,
but he shall judge the poor with justice,
and decide aright for the land’s afflicted.
He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
Justice shall be the band around his waist,
and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.
Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
the calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,
together their young shall rest;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the cobra’s den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,
as water covers the sea.
On that day, the root of Jesse,
set up as a signal for the nations,
the Gentiles shall seek out,
for his dwelling shall be glorious.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17

R. (cf. 7)  Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
he shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
May his name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun his name shall remain.
In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed;
all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.

Reading 2 Rom 15:4-9

Brothers and sisters:
Whatever was written previously was written for our instruction,
that by endurance and by the encouragement of the Scriptures
we might have hope.
May the God of endurance and encouragement
grant you to think in harmony with one another,
in keeping with Christ Jesus,
that with one accord you may with one voice
glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you,
for the glory of God.
For I say that Christ became a minister of the circumcised
to show God’s truthfulness,
to confirm the promises to the patriarchs,
but so that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.
As it is written:
Therefore, I will praise you among the Gentiles
and sing praises to your name.

Alleluia Lk 3:4, 6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths:
all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 3:1-12

John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea
and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said:
A voice of one crying out in the desert,
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.

John wore clothing made of camel’s hair
and had a leather belt around his waist.
His food was locusts and wild honey.
At that time Jerusalem, all Judea,
and the whole region around the Jordan
were going out to him
and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River
as they acknowledged their sins.

When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees
coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers!
Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.
And do not presume to say to yourselves,
‘We have Abraham as our father.’
For I tell you,
God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees.
Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit
will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
I am baptizing you with water, for repentance,
but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I.
I am not worthy to carry his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand.
He will clear his threshing floor
and gather his wheat into his barn,
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Waiting / Esperar

Many years ago, on a bright and perfect Michigan morning, my husband and father-in-law decided to take our 14 foot daysailer out on a channel that led to Lake Michigan. Since the boat was too small for Lake Michigan, they had only planned to go to the end of the pier head, but the day was so perfect and the lake was so beautiful, they decided to go out into Lake Michigan. No sooner had they crossed the end of the pier when the winds picked up and the waves grew. We could see the boat starting to get tossed as the waves grew to the point where we were only able to see the itt when it was at the top of the swells. As someone ran to the Coast Guard station for help, we saw the boat capsize and get righted; once, twice. On shore, all we could do was ask for help and then wait. Would help come? Would it be in time? 

I sometimes think of that time of fearful waiting during Advent. Advent is also a time of waiting. I prefer to think of it as a peaceful time, more like waiting in a prepared nursery for the arrival of a baby but the reality is more like waiting with a capsized boat, hoping for help. All around us swirls a cultural storm with winds that push for a season of wanting and shopping and buying things that will supposedly bring happiness.

Our Mother, the Church, as always, knows just what we need and it isn’t that. The Church offers us shelter from the storm of the frenzied culture all around us. The Church is the safe haven where we can get help, the only help that matters. 

“There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD, as water covers the sea. On that day, the root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations, the Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious.”

As I stood on the beach that day and watched the Coast Guard go to rescue my husband and father-in-law, I offered fevered prayers. “Please just bring them home, let us be together again.”

Our safe haven is there, within sight. We can take 10-15 minutes to stop into a quiet Church to pray. We can start our day by offering all we have and are to God. Preparing for and going to reconciliation can help us break our ties to the world and allow God room to pour his grace into our lives. It is up to us to decide what we will cling to during Advent. Do we try to please both God and the world? Or do we choose only that which can save us in the long run and focus on holding onto what is true and real? 

May your Advent waiting help you to draw ever closer to the Lord. 

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Hace muchos años, en una brillante y perfecta mañana de Michigan, mi esposo y mi suegro decidieron llevar nuestro velero de 14 pies por un canal que conducía hacia el Lago de Michigan. Como el barco era demasiado pequeño para el Lago de Michigan, solo habían planeado ir hasta el final del muelle, pero el día era tan perfecto y el lago tan hermoso que decidieron adentrarse al lago. Apenas habían cruzado el final del muelle cuando los vientos se levantaron y las olas crecieron. Pudimos ver que el bote comenzaba a sacudirse a medida que las olas crecían hasta el punto en que solo podíamos ver el bote cuando estaba en la parte superior de las olas. Cuando alguien corrió a la estación de la Guardia Costera en busca de ayuda, vimos que el bote volcó y se enderezó dos veces. En tierra, todo lo que podíamos hacer era pedir ayuda y esperar. ¿Llegaría ayuda? ¿Sería a tiempo?

A veces pienso en ese tiempo de espera temerosa durante el Adviento como también es  tiempo de espera. Prefiero pensar en ello como un momento de paz, más como esperar en un hospital preparado la llegada de un bebé, pero la realidad es más como esperar con un bote volcado, esperando ayuda. A nuestro alrededor se arremolina una tormenta cultural con vientos que impulsan una temporada de querer y comprar cosas que supuestamente traerán felicidad.

Nuestra Madre, la Iglesia, como siempre, sabe exactamente lo que necesitamos y no es eso. La Iglesia nos ofrece refugio de la tormenta de la cultura frenética que nos rodea. La Iglesia es el refugio seguro donde podemos obtener ayuda, la única ayuda que importa.

“No harán daño ni estrago por todo mi monte santo, porque así como las aguas colman el mar,

así está lleno el país de la ciencia del Señor. Aquel día la raíz de Jesé se alzará como bandera de los pueblos, la buscarán todas las naciones y será gloriosa su morada.”

Mientras estaba de pie en la playa ese día y observaba a la Guardia Costera ir a rescatar a mi esposo y mi suegro, ofrecí oraciones febriles. “Por favor, tráelos a casa, para volver a estar juntos”.

Nuestro refugio está ahí, a la vista. Podemos tomar de 10 a 15 minutos para detenernos en una iglesia tranquila para orar. Podemos comenzar nuestro día ofreciendo todo lo que tenemos y somos a Dios. Prepararnos para la reconciliación y confesarnos puede ayudarnos a romper nuestros lazos con el mundo y permitir que Dios derrame su gracia en nuestras vidas. Depende de nosotros decidir a qué nos aferraremos durante el Adviento. ¿Tratamos de agradar tanto a Dios como al mundo? ¿O elegimos solo lo que puede salvarnos a largo plazo y nos enfocamos en aferrarnos a lo que es verdadero y real?

Que su espera de Adviento les ayude a acercarse cada vez más al Señor.

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Sheryl is happy to be the number 1 cheerleader and supporter for her husband, Tom who is a candidate for the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of Kalamazoo. They are so grateful for the opportunity to grow together in this process. Sheryl’s day job is serving her community as the principal for St. Therese Catholic School in Wayland, Michigan. Since every time she thinks she gets life all figured out, she realizes just how far she has to go, St. Rita of Cascia is her go-to Saint for intercession and help. Home includes Carlyn, a very, very goofy Golden Retriever and Lucy, our not-so-little rescue puppy. 

Feature Image Credit: Ümit Bulut, unsplash.com/photos/qbTC7ZwJB64

Daily Prayer for December 4

Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Revelation 3:10–11, NIV

Lord our God, strengthen our hearts today through your Word. You are our Father and we are your children, and we want to trust you in every aspect of our lives. Protect us on all our ways, and grant that we may always watch and wait for the coming of your kingdom, for the future of our Lord Jesus Christ. Keep us from becoming confused by present-day events. Help us to remain free, that we may serve you and not be led astray, no matter what happens in the world. Grant us your Holy Spirit in everything, for without your Spirit we can do nothing. Help us, and accept our praise for the many ways you have given us help. Amen.

 

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Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, Priest

Reading 1 IS 30:19-21, 23-26

Thus says the Lord GOD,
the Holy One of Israel:
O people of Zion, who dwell in Jerusalem,
no more will you weep;
He will be gracious to you when you cry out,
as soon as he hears he will answer you.
The Lord will give you the bread you need
and the water for which you thirst.
No longer will your Teacher hide himself,
but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher,
While from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears:
“This is the way; walk in it,”
when you would turn to the right or to the left.

He will give rain for the seed
that you sow in the ground,
And the wheat that the soil produces
will be rich and abundant.
On that day your flock will be given pasture
and the lamb will graze in spacious meadows;
The oxen and the asses that till the ground
will eat silage tossed to them
with shovel and pitchfork.
Upon every high mountain and lofty hill
there will be streams of running water.
On the day of the great slaughter,
when the towers fall,
The light of the moon will be like that of the sun
and the light of the sun will be seven times greater
like the light of seven days.
On the day the LORD binds up the wounds of his people,
he will heal the bruises left by his blows.

Responsorial Psalm PS 147:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. (see Isaiah 30:18d)  Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.
Praise the LORD, for he is good;
sing praise to our God, for he is gracious;
it is fitting to praise him.
The LORD rebuilds Jerusalem;
the dispersed of Israel he gathers. 
R. Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
He tells the number of the stars;
he calls each by name.
R. Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.
Great is our LORD and mighty in power:
to his wisdom there is no limit.
The LORD sustains the lowly;
the wicked he casts to the ground.
R. Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.

 

 

Alleluia IS 33:22

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The LORD is our Judge, our Lawgiver, our King;
he it is who will save us.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 9:35–10:1, 5A, 6-8

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages,
teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness. 
At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them
because they were troubled and abandoned,
like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.” 

Then he summoned his Twelve disciples
and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out
and to cure every disease and every illness. 

Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus,
“Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 
As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 
Cure the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse lepers, drive out demons.
Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

An Interested God / Un Dios Interesado

God is often thought of or portrayed as a hands off CEO who created the world and then left it to figure everything out on its own. I have heard this used as a defense for why evil exists, because God doesn’t care what happens on earth. He only had to create us. He leaves the rest to us and we choose to sin. This apathetic God is often justified in people’s minds by phrases like, “Well I prayed once and it didn’t work so God doesn’t care” or “If God really cared he would not let evil happen.” Of course, we as Christians know that God not only cares, but he wants a personal relationship with each of us. It becomes our job then to show people who struggle with evil, the personal God of today’s First Reading and Gospel. 

In the First Reading the people of Israel are comforted by the words of the Lord. They are told that they will no longer weep, that they will be given food and security, and that their needs will be answered by the Lord. The Old Testament often gets a bad wrap where people think God is just vengeful and wants to smite everything, but here, God is wanting to help his people. I immediately think of what God said to Moses, “I have heard my people cry.” 

Fast forward to the Gospel today and we hear that Jesus was going around to every town and village, preaching the good news and curing every illness and disease. He witnesses sheep without a shepherd and so he commissions the Twelve with his very own power to go out and help his people. These examples don’t sound like God is uninterested. He is very interested. He is interested in you and me. 

I have often thought about the fact that because God is the ultimate Creator, he holds everything in existence. Through his power we are alive, and through his power we could cease to exist. This is the easiest way to answer the question of whether or not God cares for you personally. If you are still breathing, then God is actively thinking about you. He is holding you in existence. And what could be more loving than creating you for his love and holding you in existence so you can experience his personal love? 

We may have a marketing problem with God these days. If he is portrayed as an indifferent ruler who loves smiting his underlings and stays in heaven so he doesn’t have to interact with us, then we have to change the narrative. An evangelist is essentially an expert in marketing, but an expert in marketing a Person rather than a product. Imagine your life is a billboard showing people who God is. What does your life show about God? What does mine? Let’s pray during this Advent season that our lives will be a beacon that shows people Jesus was born on Christmas in order to love us personally, not that he created us and leaves us all on our own. 

From all of us here at Diocesan, God bless!

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A menudo se piensa o se representa a Dios como un director ejecutivo que creó el mundo y luego lo dejó resolver todo por su propia cuenta. He escuchado que esto se usa como una defensa de por qué existe el mal, porque a Dios no le importa lo que sucede en la tierra. Sólo tuvo que crearnos y nos deja el resto a nosotros y elegimos pecar. Este Dios apático a menudo se justifica en la mente de las personas con frases como: “Bueno, recé una vez y no funcionó, así que a Dios no le importa” o “Si a Dios realmente le importara, no dejaría que sucediera el mal”. Por supuesto, nosotros, como cristianos, sabemos que a Dios no solo le importa, sino que quiere una relación personal con cada uno de nosotros. Entonces se convierte en nuestro trabajo mostrar a las personas que luchan contra el mal, el Dios personal de la Primera Lectura y el Evangelio de hoy.

En la Primera Lectura las palabras del Señor consuelan al pueblo de Israel. Se les dice que ya no llorarán más, que se les dará alimento y seguridad, y que el Señor responderá a sus necesidades. El Antiguo Testamento a menudo tiene una mala envoltura donde la gente piensa que Dios es vengativo y quiere castigar todo, pero aquí, Dios quiere ayudar a su pueblo. Inmediatamente pienso en lo que Dios le dijo a Moisés: “He oído gemir a mi pueblo”.

Avance rápido al Evangelio de hoy y escuchamos que Jesús iba por todos los pueblos y aldeas, predicando las buenas nuevas y curando cada enfermedad y dolencia. Ve ovejas sin pastor y por eso comisiona a los Doce con su propio poder para salir y ayudar a su pueblo. Estos ejemplos no suenan como si Dios no estuviera interesado. Está muy interesado. Está interesado en ti y en mí.

A menudo he pensado en el hecho de que debido a que Dios es el Creador Supremo, él mantiene todo en existencia. A través de su poder estamos vivos, y a través de su poder podemos dejar de existir. Esta es la forma más fácil de responder a la pregunta de si Dios se preocupa por ti personalmente o no. Si todavía estás respirando, entonces Dios está pensando activamente en ti. Te está sosteniendo en la existencia. ¿Y qué podría ser más amoroso que crearte para su amor y mantenerte en existencia para que puedas experimentar su amor personal?

Es posible que tengamos un problema de marketing con Dios hoy en día. Si se le presenta como un gobernante indiferente al que le encanta golpear a sus subordinados y se queda en el cielo para no tener que interactuar con nosotros, entonces tenemos que cambiar la narrativa. Un evangelista es esencialmente un experto en mercadeo, pero un experto en mercadear una Persona en lugar de un producto. Imagina que tu vida es una cartelera que muestra a la gente quién es Dios. ¿Qué muestra tu vida acerca de Dios? ¿Qué muestra el mío? Oremos durante esta temporada de Adviento para que nuestras vidas sean un faro que muestre a las personas que Jesús nació en la Navidad para amarnos personalmente, no que nos creó y nos dejó solos.

De parte de todos nosotros aquí en Diocesan, ¡Dios los bendiga!

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Tommy Shultz is a Business Development Representative for Diocesan. In this role he is committed to bringing the best software to dioceses and parishes while helping them evangelize on the digital continent. Tommy has worked in various diocese and parish roles since his graduation from Franciscan University with a Theology degree. He hopes to use his skills in evangelization, marketing, and communications, to serve the Church and bring the Good News to all. His favorite quote comes from St. John Paul II, who said, “A person is an entity of a sort to which the only proper and adequate way to relate is love.”

Feature Image Credit: Marionel Luciano, https://unsplash.com/photos/bHD5BaOkiIQ

Daily Prayer for December 3

And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace. Luke 1:76–79, NIV

Lord our God, we thank you that you let light shine out every day and every year. Thank you that we may always look to you, whose right hand will bring order into everything and set all things right, even in difficult times. May our hearts receive strength to persevere and go on praising you, for you remain, no matter what happens on earth. You are our God, you have sent us the Savior, and we can draw close to you. You have made us the firm promise that your day is coming when truth and justice will arise on earth to the glory of your name. May the hearts of many people turn to you so that they worship you and call to you for help, to the glory of our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

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Friday of the First Week of Advent

Reading 1 IS 29:17-24

Thus says the Lord GOD:
But a very little while,
and Lebanon shall be changed into an orchard,
and the orchard be regarded as a forest!
On that day the deaf shall hear
the words of a book;
And out of gloom and darkness,
the eyes of the blind shall see.
The lowly will ever find joy in the LORD,
and the poor rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
For the tyrant will be no more
and the arrogant will have gone;
All who are alert to do evil will be cut off,
those whose mere word condemns a man,
Who ensnare his defender at the gate,
and leave the just man with an empty claim.
Therefore thus says the LORD,
the God of the house of Jacob,
who redeemed Abraham:
Now Jacob shall have nothing to be ashamed of,
nor shall his face grow pale.
When his children see
the work of my hands in his midst,
They shall keep my name holy;
they shall reverence the Holy One of Jacob,
and be in awe of the God of Israel.
Those who err in spirit shall acquire understanding,
and those who find fault shall receive instruction.

Responsorial Psalm PS 27:1, 4, 13-14

R. (1a)  The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
 of whom should I be afraid?
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

 

 

Alleluia 

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Behold, our Lord shall come with power;
he will enlighten the eyes of his servants.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 9:27-31

As Jesus passed by, two blind men followed him, crying out,
“Son of David, have pity on us!” 
When he entered the house,
the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them,
“Do you believe that I can do this?” 
“Yes, Lord,” they said to him. 
Then he touched their eyes and said,
“Let it be done for you according to your faith.” 
And their eyes were opened. 
Jesus warned them sternly,
“See that no one knows about this.” 
But they went out and spread word of him through all that land.

– – –

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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