Thursday, December 12, 2019

 

FRIDAY, 2ND Week in Advent

December 13, 2019 – FRIDAY, 2ND Week in Advent
St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr
Memorial. Red..

Is 48: 17 – 19 / Mt 11: 16 – 19

St. Lucy (d.. 304) was martyred in Syracuse. She is the patroness of those with afflictions of the eyes.

FROM THE 1ST READING: Is 48: 17 – 18
Thus says Yahweh, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I, Yahweh, your God, teach you what is best for you; I lead you in the way that you must go. Had you paid attention to my commandments, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

GOSPEL READING: Mt 11: 16 – 19
Jesus said, "Now, to what can I compare the people of this day? They are like children sitting in the marketplace, about whom their companions complain" 'We played the flute for you but you would not dance. We sang a funeral song and you would not cry!'

"For John came fasting and people said: 'He is possessed.' Then the Son of Man came, he ate and he drank, and people said: 'Look at this man! A glutton and drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet the outcome will prove Wisdom to be right."

REFLECTION
In the first reading from the Prophet Isaiah God assures that, if we follow and are obedient to his commands, we would be blessed with his peace.

In the Gospel reading Jesus chastises the Pharisees and his other critics. They are like children who do not know what to do: they would not dance to joyful music nor would they weep at a funeral song. John the Baptist came fasting and in penance and they said he was "possessed by a demon." Jesus ate and drank with whoever, including sinners and tax collectors and they said he was "a glutton and a drunkard." All the critics of Jesus knew was to find fault: they would not listen and evaluate his message nor would they see the meaning of the great signs and cures he performed because their eyes and ears were closed.

If we had a society which followed God's command and guidance, we would see less broken families, less crime and less abandoned children on our streets, less hate and more love.

And if any of us failed and wandered away from God, in his mercy, as a good shepherd, he would seek out the lost.

Let us pray for wisdom to see and hear God in our lives. Let us pray for the grace and strength to remain obedient and faithful to his urgings and commands.

FINALLY, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.

Have a good day!

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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

 

THURSDAY, 2ND WEEK IN ADVENT

December 12, 2019 – THURSDAY, 2ND WEEK IN ADVENT
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Philippines
Memorial. White.

Zec 2: 14 – 17 / Lk 1: 26 - 38

The image of Our Lady on the tilma (or cloak) of St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin  (1474  –  1548)  is  miraculously  preserved  at  the  Basilica  of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. Our Lady of Guadalupe is Patroness of the Americas and the Philippines.

1st Reading: Zec 2: 14 – 17
"Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for I am about to come, I shall dwell among you," says Yahweh.

"On that day, many nations will join Yahweh and be my people, but my dwelling is among you. The people of Judah will be for Yahweh as his portion in his holy land. He will choose Jerusalem again.

"Keep still in Yahweh's presence, for he comes, having risen from his holy dwelling."

FROM THE GOSPEL READING: Lk 1: 26 – 35, 38
In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth. He was sent to a young virgin who was betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the family of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

The angel came to her and said, "Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you." Mary was troubled at these words, wondering what this greeting could mean.

But the angel said, "Do not fear, Mary; for God has looked kindly on you. You shall conceive and bear a son and you shall call him Jesus.. He will be great and shall rightly be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the kingdom of David, his ancestor; he will rule over the people of Jacob forever and his reign shall have no end."

Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be if I am a virgin? And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the holy child to be born shall be called Son of God." . . .

Then Mary said, "I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said." And the angel left her.

REFLECTION
Our Lady appeared to St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, a simple Mexican farmer, asking that a church be built in her honor. The unbelieving bishop was convinced when Juan Diego brought to him roses in full bloom during the winter season which our Lady had provided to him. She also left an image of herself, preserved to this day, on Juan Diego's tilma. Mary appears on the tilma as a native princess, with stars and the crescent moon, symbols of the ancient Aztec religion. In a few years after her apparitions to Juan Diego, six million Aztecs were converted to Christianity.

Pope St. John Paul II praised Juan Diego for his simple faith and humility, "a nobody, a small rope, a tiny ladder, the tail end of a leaf," but the chosen emissary of our powerful God.

FINALLY, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.

Have a good day!

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Sunday, December 08, 2019

 

TUESDAY, 2nd Week of Advent

DECEMBER 10, 2019 – TUESDAY, 2nd Week of Advent
(Manila: Dedication of Metropolitan Cathedral, 1958)
Violet.

Is 40: 1 – 11 / Mt 18: 12 – 14

FROM THE 1ST READING: Is 40: 3 – 5, 10 – 11
A voice cries: "In the wilderness prepare the way for Yahweh. Make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up; every mountain and hill will be laid low. The stumbling blocks shall become level and the rugged places smooth. The glory of Yahweh will be revealed, and all mortals together will see it: for the mouth of the Yahweh has spoken."
. . .

Here comes your God with might; his strong arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and here before him is his booty. Like a shepherd he tends his flock: he gathers the lambs in his arm; he carries them in his bosom, gently leading those that are with young.

GOSPEL READING: Mt 18: 12 – 14
Then Jesus said, "What do you think? If some one has a hundred sheep and one of them strays, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hillside, and go to look for the stray one? And I tell you, when he finally finds it, he is more pleased about it than about the ninety-nine that did not get lost. "It is the same with your Father in heaven: there they do not want even one of these little ones to be lost."

REFLECTION
In the first reading the prophet Isaiah speaks of Yahweh caring for and leading his people, "Like a shepherd he tends his flock: he gathers the lambs in his arm; he carries them in his bosom, gently leading those that are with young."

At the appointed time John the Baptist emerged from the desert to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah through his teaching and baptism as repentance for sins.

In the Gospel reading we see Jesus the Good Shepherd seeking for the lost sheep, even leaving the rest of the flock on the hillside while he sought to find the lost one. And Jesus the Good Shepherd rejoices at the recovery of the lost sheep.

In the same way  our heavenly Father,  as pictured in the Parable of     the Prodigal Son, watches over us, seeks for the lost one and rejoices and celebrates at the return of the lost one(s).

During the Advent season we prepare for the joyful celebration of the birth of God-made-Man. We also prepare for the Lord's glorious Second Coming at the end of time.

How do we celebrate Christ's birth as man? How do we prepare for his Second Coming as Judge and King? We do our best to live in accordance  to his commandments; we do our share in proclaiming the Good  News of  the Kingdom; we do our share in seeking, praying for and helping those who have strayed from God's path.

FINALLY, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.


Have a good day!

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Tuesday, December 03, 2019

 

WEDNESDAY, 1st Week of Advent

December 4, 2019 – WEDNESDAY, 1st Week of Advent
St. John of Damascus
Priest and Doctor of the Church
Violet.

Is 25: 6 – 10a / Mt 15: 29 – 37

St. John of Damascus (675 – 749), a defender of the use of images in religious worship, is considered the last Father of the Church.

FROM THE 1ST READING: Is 25: 6, 8b
On this mountain Yahweh Sabaoth will prepare for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, meat full of marrow, fine wine strained he
will take away the humiliation of his people all over the world.

FROM THE GOSPEL READING: Mt 15: 31 – 37
All were astonished when they saw the dumb speaking, the lame walking, the crippled healed and the blind able to see; so they glorified the God of Israel.

Jesus called his disciples and said to them, "I am filled with compassion for these people; they have already followed me for three days and now have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away fasting or they may faint on the way. His disciples said to him, "And where shall we find enough bread in this wilderness to feed such a crowd?" Jesus said to them, "How many loaves do you have?" They answered, "Seven, and a few small fish."

So Jesus ordered the people to sit on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the small fish, and gave thanks to God. He broke them and gave them to his disciples, who distributed them to the people.

They all ate and were satisfied and the leftover broken pieces filled seven wicker baskets. Four thousand men had eaten, besides women and children. Then Jesus sent away the crowd, got into the boat and went to Magdala.

REFLECTION
In the readings today the good God provides for his people. In the first reading Isaiah speaks of God providing "feasts of rich food and choice wines, meat full of marrow, fine wine strained" for his people.

In the Gospel reading we have a second version or another miraculous feeding of bread and fish by Jesus for the thousands of people who had come to listen to him. Interesting that Isaiah spoke of feeding people on the mountain while Matthew specifies that the feeding was done on the hills.

By feeding the people on the mountain Yahweh restores the broken fortunes of his people who had been sent into humiliating exile from Jerusalem. Jesus fed the multitudes, four thousand excluding women and children because he had compassion for them; "they have already followed me for three days and now have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away fasting or they may faint on the way."

God's feeding the people shows his concern for them and for us. This is how he takes care of us in our lives.

FINALLY, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.

FINALLY, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.


Have a good day!

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Sunday, December 01, 2019

 

TUESDAY, 1ST Week of Advent

December 3, 2019 – TUESDAY, 1ST Week of Advent
St. Francis Xavier
Priest and Principal Patron of All Missions
Feast. White.

Zep 3: 9 -10, 14 – 20 / Mt 28: 16 – 20

St. Francis Xavier (1506 – 1552), a Spaniard, among the first companions of St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491 – 1556) at the University of Paris and one of the founding Fathers of the Society of Jesus, tirelessly labored as a missionary  in India, Japan and the East Indies for ten years before his death in a small island off China, longing to enter China.

FROM THE 1ST READING: Zep 3: 9 – 10, 19 – 20
At that time I will give truthful lips to the pagan nations that all of them may call on the name of Yahweh and serve him with the same zeal. From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia they will bring offerings to me. . . .

On that day I will face your oppressors; I will save the lame sheep and bring the lost back into the fold. I will give them renown and honor in all the lands, where humiliation was their lot.

On that day I will be good to you and gather you to make you famous and honorable among all the peoples of the earth, when I bring back the captives before your eyes – this is Yahweh's word.

FROM THE GOSPEL READING: Mt 28: 18 – 20
Then Jesus approached his disciples and said, "I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples from all nations. Baptize them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to fulfill all that I have commanded you. I am with you always until the end of this world."

REFLECTION

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Francis Xavier who selflessly and tirelessly preached the Good News in the East Indies and Japan. We are also called to participate in the preaching of the Good News. The Gospel reading today narrates Jesus, before he ascended to heaven, sending off his Apostles to preach the Good News and to baptize believers from all nations.

For the Apostles and the other followers of Christ this was not easy because they knew very well that they were weak and sinful; many also opposed them as they opposed Christ himself in his teaching. But what inspired them to enter into this universal mission given by the Lord? They all have had the common experience of living with Christ. They heard his teaching. They suffered his death and rejoiced in his resurrection from the dead. This inspired them to proclaim the risen Christ to all the world.

St. Francis Xavier had the same inspiration.

In the first reading from the prophet Zephaniah, Yahweh gives hope for a better future for Israel, in the midst of persecution, defeat and exile: "I will be good to you and gather you to make you famous and honorable among all the peoples of the earth."

Such unfailing hope is the key message of Advent and the Good News.

We have received the Good News with great joy, giving us hope in God's faithfulness. Like St. Francis Xavier, may we be inflamed to bring and share the Good News of Jesus Christ to all the earth, beginning with the little world we live and work in.

FINALLY, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.

Have a good day!

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Thursday, November 28, 2019

 

FRIDAY, 34th Week in Ordinary Time

November 29, 2019 – FRIDAY, 34th Week in Ordinary Time
Bl. Bernardo Francisco de Hoyos y de la Seña Priest
Green.

Dn 7: 2 – 14 / Lk 21: 29 – 33

Bl. Bernardo Francisco de Hoyos (1711 – 1735), a young Jesuit priest, was a main apostle of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Spain. He was beatified in Valladolid on 18 April 2010.

FROM THE 1ST READING: Dn 7: 13 – 14
I continued watching the nocturnal vision: One like a son of man came  on the clouds of heaven. He faced the One of Great Age and was brought into his presence. Dominion, honor and kingship were given him, and all the peoples and nations of every language served him. His dominion is eternal and shall never pass away; his kingdom will never be destroyed.

GOSPEL READING: Lk 21: 29 - 33
And Jesus added this comparison, "Look at the fig tree and all the trees.
As soon as their buds sprout, you know that summer is already near..

"In the same way, as soon as you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly, I tell you, this generation will not pass away, until all this has happened: heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away."

REFLECTION
Most people get scared when the topic of conversation is about the end of the world. They start to imagine terrible calamities and horrifying scenes of destruction. Yet for the Christian, the end of the world is the beginning of the definitive reign of God.

The prophet Daniel speaks about the coming of the Son of Man: "One like a son of man came on the clouds of heaven. He faced the One of Great Age and was brought into his presence. Dominion, honor and kingship were given him, and all the peoples and nations of every language served him. His dominion is eternal and shall never pass away: his kingdom will never be destroyed." (Dn 7: 13 – 14)

In the Gospel reading Jesus speaks of the coming of the kingdom of God, here now and yet to come. Jesus assures us that "heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away."

God is faithful to his words and promises: that God loves us (1 Jn 4: 19), that the Word came to give us life (Jn 10: 10), that God will always protect us (Nh 1: 7), that the Spirit of truth will be with us (Jn 15: 26 – 27) and that he awaits us in the heavenly kingdom (Jn 14: 1 – 3)

So what should we do when that Day comes? We must "stand erect, and lift up [our] heads, for [our] deliverance is drawing near." (Lk 21: 28) We must not let the cares of daily life consume our attention to the extent that we will be unprepared for the end of time.

God our Father is in control: blessed be his Holy Name.

FINALLY, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.

Have a good day!

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Saturday, November 23, 2019

 

CHRIST THE KING

November 24, 2019 - CHRIST THE KING
[34th and Last Sunday in Ordinary Time]
Solemnity. White.

2 Sm 5: 1 – 3 / Col 1: 12 – 20 / Lk 23: 35 – 46

Originally instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 on the last Sunday of October, the Solemnity of Christ the King was transferred to the last Sunday of the liturgical year by St. Pope Paul VI in 1969.

1st Reading: 2 Sm 5: 1 - 3
All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, "We are your bone and flesh. In the past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led Israel. And Yahweh said to you, 'You shall be the shepherd of my people Israel and you shall be commander over Israel."

Before Yahweh, king David made an agreement with the elders of Israel who came to him at Hebron, and they anointed him king of Israel.

From the 2nd Reading: Col 1: 15 - 17
He is the image of the unseen God, and for all creation he is the firstborn, for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible: thrones, rulers, authorities, powers. All was made through him and for him. He is before all and all things hold together in him.

GOSPEL READING: Lk 23: 35 - 46
The people stood by, watching. As for the rulers, they jeered at him, saying to one another, "Let the man who saved others now save himself, for he is the Messiah, the chosen one of God!" The soldiers also mocked him and, when they drew near to offer him bitter wine, they said, "So you are the king of the Jews? Free yourself!" Above Jesus there was an inscription in Greek, Latin and Hebrew, which read, "This is the King of the Jews."

One of the criminals hanging with Jesus insulted him, "So you are the Messiah? Save yourself, and us as well!" But the other rebuked him, saying, "Have you no fear of God, you who received the same sentence as he did? For us it is just: this is payment for what we have done. But this man has done nothing wrong." And he said, "Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom." Jesus replied, "Truly, you will be with me today in paradise.."

It was about noon. The sun was hidden and darkness came over the whole land until mid-afternoon; and at that time the curtain of the Sanctuary was torn in two. Then Jesus gave a loud cry, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit." And saying that, he gave up his spirit.

REFLECTION
We have for our Gospel reading today the story of the crucifixion itself. It is rather strange that the scene of the crucifixion is the best access to an understanding of Jesus' kingship.

When Jesus stands shackled and beaten before the people, clad in a purple mantle, crowned with thorns and holding a mock scepter of reed, Pilate says: "Here is your king," and without being aware of it, Pilate speaks the truth. Jesus confirms this truth: "Yes, I am a king.. For this I was born and for this I came into the world."

Again without knowing it, all those who mock him give the right answer when they say: "He saved others." But when they add: "He cannot save himself," they are utterly mistaken, for Jesus does not have to save himself. In royal freedom he has declared his solidarity with all people who suffer, with all who are humiliated and beaten, with all who are marginalized. It is to save these people that he came and that he shows himself as the Son of God.

We know how Jesus' life ends but it would seem as if Jesus has taken the gamble and lost. The world rejects him. Of course, we know differently. We know that only some reject him and that even their rejection is turned to the advantage of the whole of humanity. If this great feast of Christ the King is a recapitulation of the fundamental beliefs about Jesus, we have, in the touching encounter between the man we call the good thief and Jesus, a beautiful expression of what we really want to say to him: "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." It is a simple phrase, but it has the ability to capture just what we want to express ourselves.

If we were to make no other prayer to Jesus, we could not do better than to make these words of the good thief our very own: "Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom." And in a message of hope, Jesus responds to the good thief: "Today you will be with me in paradise." In uttering these words, Jesus confirms his kingship. The kingship of Jesus consists in forgiving sin and in granting eternal life.

Jesus testifies that his kingship is not of this world. But it can begin in this world and it is capable of changing society to its very foundations. This kingdom begins wherever people begin to live according to the style of life of Jesus. As today's Preface says, it is a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace. All these we still badly need today.

It is no mistake that the Church chooses these words: "Today you will be with me in paradise" to be among the very last words of the Gospel on the very last Sunday of the year. These words which are the fulfillment of all we could ever want, all we could ever hope for, ring in our ears. And we want to cry out with the very same words of the people who welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem: "Hosanna in the highest, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest."

FINALLY, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.

Have a good day!

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These reflections are distributed free and are for personal use only. Feel free to send the Daily Prayer reflections to your friends, colleagues and relatives; however, if you do, please include the following:
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