Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Experiencing Relationship

December 30, 2014
The Sixth Day of Christmas

I am writing to you, [believers], because you know him who is from the beginning.

God’s gift to me is relationship. I can experience relationship with God any time I want, just by interacting with him.

It is an “inter” action, a two-way exchange.

I am never alone. Never isolated. I can speak to God. And I know he listens.

Knowing that is the gift of faith. It is a gift, not an achievement. Those have it who were “born of water and the Holy Spirit”; that is, “not of blood (by natural reproduction), nor of the will of the flesh (through any human desire) nor of the will of man (by any human decision), but of God” (see John 1:13; 3:5).

“Grace” is the “favor” of sharing in the divine life of God. Those who to have it live with the assurance that their interaction with God is real. That is an experience of real relationship.

We can ask God for help and know he will give it. Knowing that is the divine gift of hope.

This hope is based, among other things, on Jesus’ words: “If you then… know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!... On that day you will ask nothing of me. Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you (Matthew 7:11; John 16:23).

In believing what Jesus says, we experience the gift of faith that gives hope. But we don’t experience it unless we exercise it.

Hope is a gift, an action of God himself in our hearts. Paul wrote (Romans 5:5): “Hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”

Because we have the gifts of faith and hope, we can interact with Jesus whenever we want and know it is a real interaction. We know he is there, listening, responding. We may not know exactly what he is saying or doing in response, but we know something is taking place. We know we are in a real relationship with him.

And that is a “mystical experience.” On ground level.

Pray frequently: “Lord, be with me!”

Practice: Interact with Jesus all day long.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Being Aware

December 29, 2014
The Fifth Day of Christmas
 Click here for the complete text of today’s readings.

Simeon took the child into his arms and blessed God, saying:
“Lord, now let your servant go in peace."

I can’t take Jesus physically into my arms. But I can be in touch—in conscious relationship—with him present in my heart. Whenever I want.

And so can you. That is something we have in common as part of our “communion in the Holy Spirit.” Christians who are aware of this can hold Jesus together. It is a communal “mystical experience” that is ours for the asking. If we choose to do it.

To experience relationship with Jesus, or with others “in him,” all we have to do is believe consciously and be conscious of what we are believing.

Remember, believing is a gift. We can’t just choose to believe Jesus is in our hearts. We have to know he is by the divine gift of faith. Jesus said, “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven… No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father.”

When we are conscious of knowing by faith that Jesus is in our hearts, it is a mystical experience—like the one granted to Simeon when he took Jesus into his arms and knew he was the Messiah:

“Lord… your word has been fulfilled:
my own eyes have seen the salvation which you prepared…
a light… the glory of your people Israel.”

This gift is ours. But more often than not we ignore it: like an unwrapped Christmas present lying under the tree.

Pick it up. Take it into your arms. Be aware of what God has revealed to you. Rejoice in it.

Go in peace. Your eyes have seen the salvation, the light, the glory that God has revealed in the sight of all to whom it has been given to believe.

Father, thank you. The eyes of my heart have seen.”

Frequently during the day, be conscious of Jesus in your heart. Just be conscious of what you are conscious of.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

In the Name… of the Father

December 28, 2014
Feast of the Holy Family
Click here for the complete text of today’s readings.

Glory in his holy name; rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!

When Jesus was walking around Galilee, his disciples related to him as teacher and Messiah. When I was younger, I related to him as Savior. The relationship was more professional than personal: I wanted Jesus to save and protect me. I had no real relationship with the Father; not as Father.

I didn’t interact with God as father. The Father was not a father to me. He was Creator, Lawgiver, Judge, Punisher; someone to be obeyed and feared. But for anything I needed—including things one would normally look to a parent for—I went to Jesus. Or to Mary.

Until one day I asked myself, “Who was the Father for Jesus?” It was like scales falling from my eyes. I realized Jesus had no fear of the Father. The Father was not a threat to him. The Father was his support; the only one, really, who understood him (although Mary came close). Jesus looked to the Father for all his needs. And Jesus lived to serve the Father. Love for the Father filled his life. It was like a cloud he walked around in.

Then I noticed how much he spoke about the Father to his disciples. I wondered if they did.

I have come in my Father’s name… It is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven… Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother… If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me…

No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son…  If you know me, you will know my Father also… Whoever has seen me has seen the Father… Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?...

For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven… The word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me… No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father…

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower… Those who love me will be loved by my Father… They will keep my word, and my Father will love them… As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love… I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father…

He threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me… Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?... I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom... I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God… I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever… The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you… As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

That is just a sample. Jesus lived and breathed the Father. And we should also, by living and breathing Jesus. Jesus has drawn us into the relationship—that is, the eternal, divine interaction—of the Father, Son and Spirit. Jesus prayed that we might “all be one: as you, Father, are in me and I am in you”—in the oneness of the Trinity, sharing one and the same divine life, distinguished from each other as persons by the relationships we have with each other through the multiple ways of interacting conferred by the “charisms” or “gifts” of the Holy Spirit (see 1Corinthians, chapter 12).

Something to think about until we explain it more.

“Jesus! Thank you for my family.”

Feel secure in your family relationship with God and all who know him.

Saturday, December 27, 2014


December 27, 2014
Feast of Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist
Click here for the complete text of today’s readings.

What we have seen and heard
we proclaim now to you,
so that you too may have fellowship with us;
for our fellowship is with the Father
and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
We are writing this so that our joy may be complete (1John 1:3).

In the second book of the Bible “the LORD God said, “It is not good that a human should be alone” (Genesis 2:18).

The simplest explanation of this is to go to source of all existence. God is Father, Son and Spirit. In God the Three Persons are one in nature, and differ only in their relationship (interaction) with one another. So, for God, to be is to be in relationship, in an eternal act of relating to other Persons. Relationship is intrinsic to the existence of God. Humans are made in the image of God. Therefore, to live an authentic human life is to live in relationship.

And everybody can.

No one ever has to be lonely. A monk (Brother David Steindl-Rast, O.S.B.) said, “The difference between loneliness and solitude is relationship.” A hermit living alone on a mountain top is kept from loneliness by a deep awareness and acceptance of relationship—first with God, then with all the members of the human race.

Christians have a special sense of relationship with all who, by the divine gift of enlivened faith, experience the koinonia, the “fellowship” or “communion in the Holy Spirit,” that is a recurring theme in the Scriptures. It is also proclaimed in the “Greeting” that introduces every Mass: “May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of the Father, and communion in the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (See Acts 2:42; 1Corinthians 1:9; 2Corinthians 6:14; Galatians 2:9; 1John 1:3, 6. 7).

To be honest, the way we celebrate Mass today can hardly be called “celebrating.” And there is very little experience of “communion in the Holy Spirit”—although it is there for those who know how to look for it. For many it is only an experience of adherence to the same beliefs and to a common code of morality.

The truth is, everyone there knows God to some degree, and has accepted Jesus Christ as Savior of the world. Knowing this does give some support to Christians trying to live in contradiction to the prevailing spirit of “the world” embodied in their culture. It just doesn’t give the support it ought to give: the deep, peaceful and exciting awareness of “fellowship—koinonia, ‘communion in the Holy Spirit’—with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”

For that, people have to be in touch with, and express, their experience of personal relationship—that is, personal interaction—with the Father and the Son, in the Spirit.

Let’s begin looking into that. See the next thrilling installment of Christmas Means Christ. What Does Christ Mean To You?

“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Make the “Sign of the Cross” frequently throughout the day, asking yourself what it means.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Ongoing Forgiveness

December 26, 2014
Feast of Saint Stephen, First Martyr
Click here for the complete text of today’s readings.

Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety.

Jesus accepts me. That is the foundation of my relationship with him.

But acceptance implies forgiveness. In fact, constant forgiveness. Nobody’s perfect. So if true personal relationship depends on people accepting me as I am, I have to feel assured of their constant, ongoing forgiveness.

I can count on that from Jesus. He has promised it. He has shown it.

It isn't just forgiveness of sins. It’s forgiveness of what I am. Forgiveness for the way I think; for the things I desire, and for the things I should desire but don’t. Forgiveness for the way I feel.

Feelings are not free choices; we are never guilty for what we feel. But feelings come from somewhere, often from something deep inside of us. For Jesus to accept me, he has to accept me with whatever it is in me that makes me feel as I do. And sometimes act as I do.

I think I've lost a lot of friends that way.

But not Jesus. He never rejects me and never will. He forgives the way I feel, the way I think, the way I talk, the way I act. Over and over again. He accepts me the way I am and doesn’t get disgusted with me.

It makes a lot of difference in life to have a friend like that.
Pray: “Jesus!”

Practice: Feel secure in what Jesus gives ahead of time: fore-giveness.

Thursday, December 25, 2014



December 25, 2014
Christmas Vigil Mass

You shall be called by a new name… “My Delight” for the LORD delights in you.

I have a hard time believing Jesus calls me “My Delight.” But I have experienced that he accepts me. And that is the basis of my relationship with him.

I mean my personal relationship. It may be more fundamentally important to me that he “saves” me. That is what the name “Jesus” means, and I would attach myself to him for that alone if there were nothing else. But it is only because Jesus accepts me that I feel close to him.

And knowing I am accepted is the foundation for every other close relationship I have.

I have lots of “professional” relationships—with people who do things for me or I for them. Some of these are also “social” relationships—people I hang out with. But even in these I don’t always feel accepted. Not as a person; not as what I really, deeply am. Social acceptance isn't very deep; it can be just tolerance. And, honestly, I think a lot of my friends just tolerate me—although they wouldn't use the word—because I don’t annoy them too much, or I add something to the group, or just because I got included somehow and they continue to take me or granted as part of their social circle without thinking about it.

I suppose that is the way I grew up relating to Jesus. My parents had me baptized into the Church. I basically kept the rules and didn't do anything bad enough to be thrown out. Or if I did, there was a process called “Confession” through which a priest would automatically let you back in. So I was included in the ones Jesus had saved by dying on the cross.

And while I was grateful, I didn't feel he did it particularly for me as a person. I was just part of the human race he wanted to rescue. Jesus showed great, even incomprehensible love for “humanity,” and I was sure he had great personal love for some of them—like his mother, or saints like Francis of Assisi or Teresa of Avila—but I didn't think he particularly noticed or cared about me. I was just in the net with the rest of the fishes when it was dragged into the boat, and he hadn't thrown me out. I was “accepted’’ in the sense that no one was taking the trouble to reject me. But I didn't really “feel accepted.” Not by name. Not as a person.

Christmas is what changed that for me. It was after my first year of college. I was making a retreat and contemplating the manger scene, standing outside the stable in my imagination, just looking.  And I had a weird thought: “If I had known Mary as a young girl, would I have asked her for a date?”

My instant, overwhelming reaction was, “No way!” Mary wouldn't have let me get close enough to her to touch her with a barge pole!

The scene was very vivid to me. I was wearing the grey suit I used to go on dates in. And I saw myself in it as I thought Mary and Joseph, and the shepherds gathered around the manger, would have seen me. Seen me as I was.

I felt totally, horribly out of place. I wasn't like these people. I was “worldly,” shallow, caught up in superficial things. They were deep, pure, focused on God and his values. They would not have had a thing to do with me, had I lived in their time.

And then, without a word, without a gesture or movement, I had the overwhelming realization that they accepted me. As I was. They didn't reject me. I was accepted.

By the time I stopped crying, I had entered into a new relationship with Jesus. And with his mother. And with all the “in crowd” of the saints. Except I realized there was no “in crowd.” I was in. Everyone was “in” who wanted to be.

I can’t say Jesus calls me “My Delight.” I am not even sure that I feel, in any clear, affective way, that he “loves” me. But I know he accepts me. As a person. As I am.

That is the foundation of my relationship with him.

Pray: “Jesus!”

Practice: Accept his acceptance.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

December 25 Thursday the Fourth Week
ISAIAH 52:7-10; HEBREWS 1:1-6; JOHN 1:1-18
Click here for the complete text of today’s readings.

What have you found at Christmas?

Isaiah says it is the “good news,” something “beautiful”; something to “sing for joy” about. “All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” What is “salvation”?

Hebrews says it is knowledge: “God has spoken to us by a Son,” who is “the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being.”

Is that something to “sing for joy about” – to have living contact with the Source of all that exists? To actually hear the words and see the glory of God himself?

“This is eternal life, to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).

John says the Father, knowing himself, has been exclaiming from all eternity: “God!” That “Word” of God’s self-knowledge is God the Son. When we echo that word by the gift of faith, saying “Jesus!” we are sharing God’s experience of his own Light and Life.

In Jesus “the Word became flesh.” And we have “seen his glory,” which Scripture defines in two words: hesed and emet, translated as “grace and truth,” “kindness and fidelity,” or “steadfast love.”

God’s love, revealed in Jesus, is the light “shining in the darkness” of a world misguiding itself. That “true light, which enlightens everyone,” gives to those who believe the “power to become children of God.”

Merry Christmas!

Pray: “Jesus!”

Practice: Live love.

Who Can Be Saved?

December 24 Wednesday the Fourth Week
2SAMUEL 7:1-5, 8-12, 14, 16; LUKE 1:67-79
Click here for the complete text of today’s readings.

What are you waiting for?

Is it for a savior to “set you free?” From “enemies” and those who “hate” you?

The Gospel shifts us to a different perspective: the “prophet” sent to “prepare his way,” will do it by “giving his people knowledge” of a salvation that consists in “the forgiveness of their sins.”

The “enemy” is ourselves.

The “tender mercy” of God will “shine like the dawn” on those who “dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.” He will “guide their feet into the way of peace.”

His salvation will be invisible to those who believe they have sufficient light and life within themselves.

It will not affect those who say, “‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:4). Who have no concept and no desire for “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.” The peace that comes through union of “heart and mind in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

Our Savior doesn't force; he sets us free. We have to want to move. To change. To experience “more.”

Those who feel their enslavement can wait for a savior. And accept him when he comes. They can celebrate Christmas.

For the rest, there is nothing but “Happy holidays!”

So what are you waiting for? “Lift up your head and see; your redemption is near at hand!"

Pray constantly: 
Come, Lord Jesus!

See the dark. Seek the light.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Jesus Emmanuel

December 23 Tuesday the Fourth Week
MALACHY 3: 1-4, 23-24; LUKE 1:46-56.
Click here for the complete text of today’s readings.

What are you waiting for?   

The Jews were waiting for Elijah, the violent prophet (1Kings 18:40) who would “prepare the way” for the Messiah. Jesus said John was he (Matthew 17:10). But now “His name is John” – yohanan: “Yahweh is gracious.” Kind. Merciful.

John could be tough (Matthew 3:1). But he announced Jesus: the incarnate kindness of God: “God-with-us,” Emmanuel:

When the loving kindness of our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of [our] works of righteousness, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit (Titus 2:4).

Jesus saves by acceptance. Accepting us as we are, with all our sins. Accepting death at our hands and “loving back.” Accepting our inconsistent efforts to serve him. Accepting our doubting faith, our hesitant hope, our limited love. Accepting to be “with us” until the end of time. Emmanuel.

Jesus is always available. And accessible. To talk to in our hearts. To listen to in the Bible. To experience in other people. To encounter in the sacrament of Reconciliation. To unite ourselves to in Eucharist. Waiting for us.

“Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.”

So what are you waiting for? Jesus is near. Go to him.

Pray constantly: 
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. Show me your steadfast love”(see Psalm 143:8).

Go to Jesus in every need.

Monday, December 22, 2014

King of Hearts

December 22 Monday the Fourth Week
1SAMUEL 1:24-28; LUKE 1:46-56.
Click here for the complete text of today’s readings.

What are you waiting for?

The Jews were waiting for a Messiah-King who would make things right on earth. The Alleluia “O Antiphon” calls Jesus “O King and desire of all nations, the cornerstone of unity and peace.”

What do you expect of Jesus?

His contemporaries were disappointed, because his miracles misled them into assuming he would use divine power to stop all human suffering – (except their enemies’ suffering! We Christians still pray for that during wars!).

Jesus said, “The Kingdom is within you” (Luke: 17:21). He reigns in hearts. He brings unity and peace through hearts surrendered to him – if we let him act “with us, in us and through us.”

As he did through Mary, who said:

My spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
He has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant…
The Mighty One has done great things for me.

And in me. And through me. And will do more if I let him.

Jesus uses divine power to do divine things through humans surrendered to him. In faith. In hope. In love.

So what are you waiting for? He will “help his servant, according to the promise he made to our ancestors,” to Mary, and to all who are “sons and daughters in her Son.”

Pray constantly: 
Lord, do this with me, in me, through me.”

Begin every change you want to make by changing yourself first. 
Believe. Trust. Love.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Jesus Dawns Daily

December 21 Sunday the Fourth Week
2SAMUEL 7:1-5, 8-12, 14, 16; ROMANS 16:25-27; LUKE 1:26-38.
Click here for the complete text of today’s readings.

What are you waiting for?

God promised David: “I will raise up your offspring after you… He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish his kingdom forever.” That was Solomon, who previewed the real “Son of David,” Jesus.

He will be called the Son of the Most High.
The Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David
and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

The Messiah has come. And is always coming. Like the sun dawning anew every day.

But he hasn’t come fully. Many still “dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death.” So in Advent we focus on expectation.

The (weekday) Alleluia calls Jesus “O Radiant Dawn.” The Eternal Light appearing differently every day.

Advent is acknowledged darkness that we enter into to appreciate the dawn. We look at what is wrong to arouse hope based on faith. And excite love.

I wait for the LORD, and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the dawn.
Hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love.

So what are you waiting for? Look at the darkness. Look toward the light. And hope.

Pray (all day): 
Lord, strengthen me by the proclamation of Jesus Christ!

Shine the light of the Gospel on anything that is wrong. 
See. Judge. Act.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Jesus is the Key

December 20 Saturday the Third Week
ISAIAH 7:10-14; LUKE 1:26-38.
Click here for the complete text of today’s readings.

What are you waiting for?

The angel of the Lord was sent to Mary – and to you: “Hail, highly favored one! The Lord is with you.”

We are all “highly favored.” All “blessed among men/women” by Baptism, the blessing of God’s life.

“Do not be afraid, for you have found favor with God.” You may not “conceive in your womb,” but you will give divine life to others. Paul called his converts, “My little children, for whom I am again in the pain of childbirth until Christ is formed in you” (Galatians 4:19). Through your ministry you will “bear sons and daughters,” and you “shall name them ‘Jesus,’” for they will be his body. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High. Therefore those born of your labor will be called holy, the sons and daughters of God.”

The Alleluia calls Jesus “O Key of David.” Jesus is the key to everything. If we know him we can make him known – and bring him to birth and “full stature” in others (Ephesians 4:13).

So what are you waiting for? You have “become Christ!” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 795).

Be Christ. Learn Christ. Express Christ. Give Christ. Establish his reign.

Pray (all day): 
Lord, do this with me, do this in me, do this through me!

Live and give the life of God. In Christ, as Christ, through Christ.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Jesus is Root and Fruit

December 19 Friday the Third Week
JUDGES 13:2-7, 24-25; LUKE 1:5-25.
Click here for the complete text of today’s readings.

What are you waiting for? Is it to do something great?

The reading promises, “Though you are barren, you will conceive.”

The Alleluia calls Jesus “O Root (or “Flower”) of Jesse’s stem” – the third “O Antiphon” that prepares us for Christmas.

Root and fruit. One invisible, one visible. Source of life, evidence of life. Life of Jesus at its source; life of Jesus in us. Root and flower, vine and branches.  “Source and summit” of God’s divine life on earth.

And both combined in Eucharist: the sacrament that makes the Body of Christ – members and head, vine and branches – really present in the act of offering and being offered in his life-giving death. Calvary, the root of all, continuing to bear fruit in us, a “living sacrifice,” his risen body, in every space and time.

No wonder the Church calls Eucharist the “source and summit of the Christian life.”

Like Samson and John, you were “consecrated to God from the womb” – the “second womb” of Baptism.

So what are you waiting for?

Go! “Turn hearts” toward God. “Prepare a people fit for the Lord.” Jesus said, “I chose you… to go and bear fruit” (John 15:16).  His life is in you. Go. Live it and give it.

Pray (all day):
My mouth shall be filled with your praise, and I will sing your glory!”

Talk about Jesus.
Say what you know.

Learn more.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Jesus is Leader

December 18 Thursday the Third Week
JEREMIAH 23:5-8; MATTHEW 1:18-25.
Click here for the complete text of today’s readings.

What are you waiting for? What do you hope will  “save” your life on this earth? (And beyond).

Is it a leader? Someone everyone will follow? Who will “reign and govern wisely,” as Jeremiah promises?

The Alleluia calls Jesus “Leader” – the second of seven key titles (“O Antiphons”) the liturgy gives to Jesus as intensive preparation for Christmas.

The angel told Joseph “Mary will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” How does a leader do that?

A leader is only a leader if someone follows. With Jesus we can “dwell in security.” Safe from the destructiveness and distortion that are the causes and effects of sin. “Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.” But only if we follow him.

To “follow” means to look where Jesus is pointing and move in that direction. Not alone, but with him. And with others who give support. Then we all lead each other.

So what are you waiting for? You have “become Christ.” Lead. As a follower. Look at where Jesus is pointing. Move.

Read Scripture. Also read Pope Francis’ “Evangelii Gaudium” (Gospel Joy) http://w2.vatican.va/content/vatican/en.html. Francis is a leader who follows.

Pray (all day): 
Lord, lead me in your truth, and teach me. 
You are the God of my salvation (Psalm 25:5).

Read, reflect, respond.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Keep Your Eye on the Goal. Wisdom

December 17 Wednesday the Third Week
GENESIS 49:2, 8-10; MATTHEW 1:1-17.
Click here for the complete text of today’s readings.

What are you waiting for during Advent?

Is it for God to bring you – all of creation – to fulfillment?

Matthew’s Gospel presents Jesus as the promised “Son of David” who fulfills God’s promises (2Samuel 7:12).

He divides Jesus’ genealogy into three periods: Abraham up to David, David down to the Babylonian exile; up again to Jesus. Second peak. Second David. Messiah.

Jesus is the goal of Jewish – and human – history.

The Alleluia calls Jesus “Wisdom” – the first of seven  “O Antiphons,” key titles of Jesus offered as intensive preparation for Christmas.

“Wisdom” is the gift of “taste for spiritual things” and the habit of “seeing everything in the light of our last end.” God gives the gift; we form the habit. Jesus as goal is the key to both.

Wisdom is focusing on union with Jesus on earth and acting for union with God in heaven as goal. Wisdom brings about justice.

Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.”

Wisdom leads us into peace. Tasting God’s “ground level” human words and actions in Jesus arouses desire to taste more. That is Wisdom.

We find Wisdom by interacting on ground level with God made flesh in Jesus.

So what are you waiting for?

Pray (all day): 
Lord, do this with me, do this in me. do this through me.

Taste the human Jesus. Study the Gospels.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Listen Out of Need

December 16 Tuesday the Third Week
ZEPHANIA 3:1-2, 9-13; MATTHEW 21:28-32
Click here for the complete text of today’s readings.

What are you waiting for during Advent?

Is it for God to hear your prayers? The Responsorial Psalm says:

The Lord hears the cry of the poor.”

Are you “poor”?

“Poor” means you don’t have what you need – financially, physically, intellectually, spiritually, whatever. The “poor in spirit” are those who know they “haven’t got it made.” God hears their cry.

Why? Because they can hear God. They listen.

God calls Nineveh a “soiled, defiled, oppressing city!” Because “It has listened to no voice; accepted no correction. It has not trusted in the LORD or drawn near to its God.”

Those who think they “have it made” don’t think they need to listen to God.

Those who think keeping the rules makes them “good Catholics” don’t see any need to read the Bible. They already know all they have to do. They “accept no correction” from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew, chapters 5-7).

Those who pride themselves on their “doctrinal orthodoxy” don’t need to listen to the “prophets.” They know what they were taught in grade school. Anything more is suspect.

Like the second son Jesus talks about, they say “Yes” to the mysteries of Christianity without trying consciously to experience them in practice.

So what are you waiting for?

Pray (all day): 
Lord, my hope is in you. Hear my prayer.”

Admit you are poor. 
Open your mind. 
Seek. Read. Listen. Learn.