The Word of God

Daily Reflections

  • Reflection – Lectionary: 177

    There is a very interesting bit of Christmas trivia that should be part of our collected batch of important points of reference as we move closer and closer to this Christmas and beyond. It has to do with the name of the ever-so-famous little town where our Savior was born: Bethlehem. The actual name in Hebrew sounds more like Betel-lehem, which are two different words basically combined to make the phrase “House of Bread.”

    “Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, gave thanks, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied.” This Christmas morsel is quite significant because of the nature of Jesus Himself, the Bread of Life for the world. Christmas can be a time when we can look to experience not only healing but also a moment of nourishment for our tired souls and the remedy for problems we might be experiencing here and now. Do you realize that God wants all of us to be happy? This is one of the deepest, most wonderful goals of the season to make things bright, both internally and externally. Open your heart to accepting this wonderful invitation to receive the Body of Christ and be filled with a divine love that knows no end. This is precisely why Christmas is merry.

    “Christ knew that by bread alone you cannot reanimate man. If there were no spiritual life, no ideal of Beauty, man would pine away, die, go mad, kill himself or give himself to pagan fantasies. And as Christ, the ideal of Beauty in Himself and his Word, he decided it was better to implant the ideal of Beauty in the soul. If it exists in the soul, each would be the brother of everyone else and then, of course, working for each other, all would also be rich.” Fyodor Dostoevsky

  • Reflection – Lectionary: 176

    For many adults during this time of waiting and watching, the profound images of Santa and his flying reindeer figure are a larger-than-life episode in warm, comforting, and beautiful Christmas memories. “How does that work?” we might have asked. All we knew was 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 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, forgiveness, and deep love for those whom the Lord has given us to love. That would be accomplished not by the light of deer but of other wonderfully inspired messengers and equally important for Christmas: “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.”

    We have probably heard it said that God never promised any of us an easy flight but certainly a safe landing. That is most definitely true. While adults watch children all around us appreciate their childhood again, bills, promises, and deadlines loom. 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: “For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

    “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: 175

    “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” Here in the first week of this great Season of Advent, we are greeted and challenged by this very familiar phrase from the Scriptures, which are recalled during the Sacrifice of the Mass right before the Body and Blood of Christ are to be received. The term “under my roof” refers primarily to the authority that one is called to acknowledge and respect when living or even visiting someone else’s home or abode. At the core of all courtesies known to us is the deference and dignity we show to those whose homes we enter, that is, while we are “under their roof.” What is at issue for us today is that of authority or, in other words, the power to achieve something great. When we enter under the Lord’s roof/kingdom, great things happen.

    “And Jesus said to the centurion, ‘You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you.’ And at that very hour his servant was healed.” We have, in fact, witnessed something great happen as the Gospel continues: a miracle! Perhaps we could say that the centurion told Jesus that He did not have to come under his own roof, but rather, the centurion had to submit, believe, and trust by living in the Kingdom, virtually, under God’s roof. When each of us lives our lives so completely in trust in the wonderful grace that God provides, with the ultimate assurance that all is well and all will be well, we, too, will have our own miracle right under our roof. This is a great Advent lesson, learning how to live truly in the Kingdom and still walk in the world. What is really important to me? Who is really important to me? These are all very important life questions that must be answered if we are to truly enter the mystery of Christmas.

    “God will always give us more than we deserve.” St. Padre Pio

  • Reflection – Lectionary: 2

    Brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus! We are here again at yet another installment of this adventure we call life, sandwiched between the two memory-seeking holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Although those super-technically astute would not agree, time is about to move faster and faster right about now. This we know from previous experiences of these days that are so filled with grace and opportunities for growth that there could be a time when time itself stands still. This is now the Advent Season, which has its own character and texture, and if we understand it and move forward with it, we stand to have an awesome Christmas and an amazing year and life ahead. What do the Scriptures beckon us to accomplish?

    “Yet, O LORD, you are our father; we are the clay and you the potter: we are all the work of your hands.” Have you ever climbed anything really tall and overwhelming? Several aspects of such a feat are also applicable to our reflection. You’ve got to prepare, you must know the terrain, and you must decide that you are going to finish. During this spiritual season of Advent, our whole focus is on preparation, preparing to prepare, as it were. We are getting ready for yet another Christmas, but it cannot be the same old, same old. Our hearts must be open to wonderful moments of grace and beauty, and yes, joy as we await these beautiful celebrations.

    “He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Have you ever noticed how our lives can be divided into the two segments of our 24-hour existence daily? Light and darkness. The Scriptures are clearly referring to good deeds and evil deeds of which temptations constantly surround our day-to-day living. It appears we are going to have to make choices all day and all night long. It is precisely in these choices that we will find the recipe for deep happiness or disaster. And thank God we will have the Scriptures to guide us through these moments leading up to the great experience of Christmas.

    “Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.'” Carry on with our eyes wide open and ready for anything. In many ways, Advent is like a dress rehearsal for our last breath before seeing God face-to-face. Just think about the image for just a second. Christmas is the First Coming of Christ. The Second Coming will arrive when our time on this planet is finished. Will we be sad or worried? If we approach Christmas with the joy and love of a child’s heart, then we can hope to face our own death in the same way.

    “The problem is solved. Now go and utterly enjoy all remaining days. Not only is it “Always Advent,” but every day can now be Christmas because the one we thought we were just waiting for has come once and for all.” Richard Rohr

  • Reflection – Lectionary: 508

    “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy.” One of the hardest things we have to learn to do as human beings is waiting, and yet it is something that we do each and every day. We wait for the green light, we wait for the toast, we wait for lunch hour, and we wait to go home at the end of a long day. According to Taylor Forbush who is a traffic engineer in Utah, we spend about five months of our life waiting in traffic at the red light. That is certainly quite a bit, and yet we are called upon to wait for the Lord without becoming drowsy or listless.

    Here is the point: Waiting for the Lord is not idle laziness, nor is it an abandonment of effort. It means that waiting can and should be an active process; that is, we are actively looking forward to hearing and listening and following Jesus and making sure that the normal distractions of this life do not block or confuse that peaceful, active waiting period we call life. It is also very possible that we must let go of the life we have planned so as to accept the one that He has waiting for us. “Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”

    “Vigilance in oneself is very important. Vigilance means to be alert to what happens inside, so you can catch an old, collective habit pattern.” Eckhart Tolle

  • Reflection – Lectionary: 507

    “In a vision, I, Daniel, saw during the night, the four winds of heaven stirred up the great sea, from which emerged four immense beasts, each different from the others.” Here we are treated to Daniel’s vision of four world kingdoms replaced by the Kingdom God. The four beasts out of the sea prepare for the new kingdom led and ruled by “one like a son of man.” So amidst the clamor and uproar of the background scene, the hope of Jesus is shown through the chaos for all to welcome or fear, depending on the disposition and readiness.

    “Jesus told his disciples a parable. ‘Consider the fig tree and all the other trees. When their buds burst open, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near; in the same way, when you see these things happening, know that the Kingdom of God is near.'” In the Gospel of today, a different kind of imagery takes shape. This time, it is the fig tree, which is quite obvious in its appearance when it is ready to burst out with fruit for those patiently waiting.

    So you must see the pattern: amidst the chaos, there are those who patiently wait for fulfillment and are not disappointed. It all depends on which chaos you choose and how much patience you can muster. The time to prepare is now. Let us resolve to take stock in our lives and see what is important and what is not. Jesus is coming!

    “I have an idea that the only thing which makes it possible to regard this world we live in without disgust is the beauty which now and then men create out of the chaos. The pictures they paint, the music they compose, the books they write, and the lives they lead. Of all these the richest in beauty is the beautiful life. That is the perfect work of art.” W. Somerset Maugham

  • 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. “And how can people preach unless they are sent?”

    You’ve got to get up early. “At once they left their nets and followed him.” 

    You’ve got to be quiet. “The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul.” 

    You’ve got to wait. “Thus faith comes from what is heard…through the word of Christ.” 

    You’ve got to be determined. “The command of the LORD is clear enlightening the eye.”

    You’ve got to enjoy the process. “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!” 

    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, 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 to 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.