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Advent through Christmas -- 2007
Various ^ | 2007 | Various

Posted on 12/02/2007 4:46:11 PM PST by Salvation

Advent through Christmas -- 2007

What to do on this thread.

Sunday, December 2, First Week in Advent

Each 24 hour day has 1,440 minutes.

You are asked to give four to six of those 1,440 minutes each day to read this thread. Thus, giving you an opportunity to pray every day during Advent and Christmas

* * * * * *

People who pray regularly will tell you that it works best if you do it at a set time every day. The main thing is to make it part of your schedule, not something you try to squeeze in whenever. It can vary at times, but you need a basic pattern. You can’t simply say, “I’ll do it when I get a chance.

The first posts for each day will vary in topics. The second post for each day will ask you to reflect on a passage from Scripture.

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, so begin your scheduling of the four to six minutes a day!


TOPICS: Catholic; General Discusssion; Prayer; Worship
KEYWORDS: advent; catholic; catholiclist; christmas
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For your information and prayer.
1 posted on 12/02/2007 4:46:12 PM PST by Salvation
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To: All

2 posted on 12/02/2007 4:50:16 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Advent through Christmas -- 2007

Advent through Christmas plans

Sunday, December 2, First Week in Advent

Spend today’s four to six minutes with the Lord sketching some ideas out on how you can spend these 23 days of Advent with your family, or if you are single, by yourself. Your plans can include items that are spiritual (deciding where and when you will pray each day)…or practical (your gift list)…or personal (sending a Christmas card to someone you’ve not been on good terms with)…or charitable (doing something for the poor)…

Before you write anything, spend a few quiet moments with the Lord and ask for His guidance

* * * * * *

Today the Church lights the first of four candles on the Advent wreath. Perhaps you will want to light a candle, too.


3 posted on 12/02/2007 5:14:46 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Advent through Christmas -- 2007

‘Radical Perseverance’

Sunday, December 2, First Week in Advent

In today’s reading, Jesus talks about the coming of the Son of God, the end of the world, and the great judgment.

The whole point of Advent is to help nudge us out of a kind of apathy as we go about our day to day things, while forgetting that life is going to end for us individually.

Sometimes we forget that the whole point of everything we do is to lead the world toward the kingdom of God.

The kingdom may be millions of years away – who knows? It seems so distant that there would be a world at long last transformed where there is no war, no sickness, no tears, no fights, and no arguments – a perfect world.

It’s a long haul.

That’s why I need what some call a “radical perseverance”. It’s hard to have. To persevere and try to build peace in the world and know that when I die, there will still be war. To persevere and try to build love in society and know that it is a seed planted, but one I’ll never see the harvest of in a lifetime. To persevere in trying to shape myself into the kind of person I know God made me to be…and to realize that I will never be that person until some day God wonderfully transforms me through death.

That kind of radical perseverance – sustaining a conscious effort and hope even though I’m not going to reach the goal in my lifetime – that’s the kind of perseverance I need to have.

Tomorrow we will start reading from the weekly readings from the four Gospels.


4 posted on 12/02/2007 5:18:39 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: nickcarraway; sandyeggo; Lady In Blue; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; Catholicguy; RobbyS; ...
Catholic Prayer Ping!

Please notify me via FReepmail if you would like to be added to or taken off the Catholic Prayer Ping List.

5 posted on 12/02/2007 5:20:35 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Advent through Christmas -- 2007

Immaculate Conception Novena -- starts November 30th [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]

Advent 2007 -- Day by Day

Making Advent a Reality (the seasons are out of whack)

The Advent Workshop -- lots of information and activities

Jesse Trees (genealogy of Jesus activity for families)

Advent Wreath & Candles (Prayers for the Family)

Advent Overview

Reclaiming the Mystery of Advent, Part One: The Meaning of Advent

Celebrating Christ’s Advent [Archbishop Raymond Burke]

Praying through Advent -- 2006

The Paradox of Advent

Experience the Joy of Advent

Advent: the Reason for the Season

The Advent Wreath

Advent Activity - The Jesse Tree

That incredible shrinking Advent-Christmas season (Christmas should start, not end, Dec. 25)

Advent Thoughts: Some of the Church Fathers on the Divinity of Christ

The Relationship Between Advent and the Change in the Seasons (Dom Guéranger)

6 posted on 12/02/2007 5:40:06 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Thank-you and God Bless. :)


7 posted on 12/02/2007 6:20:41 PM PST by Biggirl (A biggirl with a big heart for God's animal creation, with 4 cats in my life as proof. =^..^=)
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To: Biggirl; Salvation
The Advent threads are such a blessing. May the light from the Advent candles light our souls.
8 posted on 12/02/2007 7:39:36 PM PST by Ciexyz
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To: Biggirl; Ciexyz

My pleasure. Keep tuned.


9 posted on 12/02/2007 8:59:18 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Blessed Advent. Looking forward to next reflection.


10 posted on 12/03/2007 6:31:09 PM PST by Gerish (Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death.)
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To: Gerish

Hopefully I will get the one for tomorrow posted sooner in the day.


11 posted on 12/03/2007 11:38:12 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Advent through Christmas -- 2007

Sunday Gospels

Monday, December 3, First Week in Advent

The Scriptures read as Sunday Mass are not arbitrarily chosen by the pastor or parishioners. The Church has a three-year cycle of set readings.

In this cycle, Year A centers on Matthew’s Gospel, Year B on Mark, and Year C on Luke. (Passages from John are interspersed in the sequence of Gospels every year.

Weekday Gospels

The weekday Gospels, however, are usually the same every year. Since there are many more weekdays than Sundays, they cover a greater part of all four Gospels.

Generally speaking the weekday Gospels use passages that are never read on Sundays.

* * * * * *

This year, these readings will use the Gospel passages assigned for the weekday Masses. This will give many people a chance to reflect on and pray passages of the Gospels that they have seldom heard proclaimed or preached about during the Liturgy of the Word.

The chapter and verse references for the Gospel passages in the second post for each day cite the entire passage assigned for the Mass each day, not simply the excerpt at the top of the daily post.

12 posted on 12/03/2007 11:41:28 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Advent through Christmas -- 2007

Monday, December 3, First Week in Advent

When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.” He said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” Matthew 8:5-11

As the above passage continues, Jesus will marvel at the faith of the Gentile centurion. He will then send the centurion home with the assurance that his servant is healed. Matthew will note: “And the servant was healed at that very moment.”

The centurion had no doubt that Jesus could heal from a distance. It was only a question of whether Jesus would choose to heal the servant at all. When Jesus says to him, “Go. Let it be done for you according to your faith,” the centurion fully believes that the servant is indeed healed.

It might be worthwhile to think about the level of my faith. When I pray and ask God to do something, and it doesn’t happen, what kinds of thoughts cross my mind?

• Do I wonder if God could really do it.

• Do I believe that God could, and wonder why God wouldn’t, and decide that it’s more or less because of my own sinfulness?

• Do I believe that God could, and trust that God didn’t because there’s more to it than I can see?

Don’t answer too quickly.

Talk to the Lord about it.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.


13 posted on 12/03/2007 11:45:46 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Comment #14 Removed by Moderator

Comment #15 Removed by Moderator

To: Salvation

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/1933753/posts?page=14#14

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/1933753/posts?page=15#15

Oops, those should have been for Tuesday, December 4.


16 posted on 12/04/2007 8:08:23 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Oops. Now I see what I did. Reposts!


17 posted on 12/04/2007 8:09:54 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Advent through Christmas -- 2007

St. John of Damascus

”Joachim and Anne, how blessed a couple! All creation is indebted to you. For at your hands the Creator was offered a gift excelling all other gifts: a chaste mother, who alone was worthy of him.” ~St. John Damascene

Tuesday, December 4, First Week in Advent

Today is the optional memorial of St. John Damascene.

Born about 676 in Damascus, Syria, John’s Christian education for a captured Italian monk was supplemented by Muslim schools.

He became chief counselor for the caliph, but when the new caliph became hostile to Christians, John left Damascus to become a monk at St. Sabas Monastery, southwest of Jerusalem.

After ordination, John lived a quiet life of prayer and writing. He wrote commentaries on St. Paul, adapted choral music for liturgy and composed hymns. He also successfully defended the use of icons (painted or mosaic religious art) against critics who felt venerating icons was akin to worshipping idols.

John died in 749, and was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1890.


18 posted on 12/04/2007 8:15:52 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Advent through Christmas -- 2007

Tuesday, December 4, First Week in Advent

Jesus said, “All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him” Luke 10:21-24

This small section of Luke’s Gospel has what would be called a “very high theology” which emphasizes the divinity of Jesus.

In the story of Jesus’ birth, the angel Gabriel said to Mary: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you…Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.”

Make no mistake about it. The child born in Bethlehem is not simply a great prophet…not simply a miracle-worker…not simply someone specially chosen by God. The child born in Bethlehem is the Son of God.

In our relationship with Jesus, we always have to balance intimacy and reverence. Jesus did not come for us simply to look at him from a distance. He came so that we could join intimately with him and share in his own relationship with the Father.

On the other hand, we need to be reverent. We need to be aware of who it is we are relating to so closely…whom we are joining with in the Eucharistic prayer…whom we are receiving when we take the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ at Communion.

Intimacy and reverence. I could work on both right now as I spend some time with the Lord.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.


19 posted on 12/04/2007 8:22:20 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Advent through Christmas -- 2007

The Mysterious Requiem

Wednesday, December 5, First Week in Advent

On this day in 1791 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died, leaving unfinished one of his most famous and most “mysterious” works, the haunting “Requiem Mass in D Minor.”

The composition fueled speculation and mystery for two centuries after it was anonymously commissioned as a funeral Mass.

Mozart died before he could complete more than half of the composition, but his widow, Constanze, directed Mozart’s pupil, Franz Xavier Sussmayer, to finish the work.

Scholars have since ascribed mythological qualities to the “Requiem” and Mozart himself is said to have viewed the piece’s peculiar genesis as a foreshadowing of his own death.

Mozart died at age 35 of rheumatic fever. Some academics theorize that Mozart was destined to never finish the work.

* * * * * *

Baptized Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfganus Theophilus Mozart, Mozart often signed his name Amadeus, which is the Latin equivalent of Theophilus.

The eight day Jewish feast o Hanukkah begins today.


20 posted on 12/06/2007 4:27:05 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Advent through Christmas -- 2007

Wednesday, December 5, First Week in Advent

Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, went up on the mountain, and sat down there. Great crowds came to him, having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute, and many others. The crowds were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the deformed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind able to see, and they glorified the God of Israel. Matthew 15:29-37

Jesus came to reshape human society and create a new order in the world – the reign of God. These miraculous healings are signs of what Jesus came to accomplish.

Jesus isn’t showing off his power. Nor is he scrambling to go around and heal every sick person in the world. He is preaching through signs that show what the reign of God is like. He is showing us the future and calling us to be part of bringing it about.

Even though we can’t perform miracles, we can join in the Lord’s work through acts of kindness, forgiveness, peace. These signs change the world (and us) for the better, and help reveal the reign of God..

Christmas is less than three weeks away. There is a spirit of friendship in the air that actually makes it easier to reach out to others. No one would think us strange if out of the blue we “miraculously” touched another person’s life with a simple note, a Christmas card, a phone call, a visit, a kind gift, a word asking forgiveness…a word giving forgiveness.

It’s in the air, there for the asking.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.


21 posted on 12/06/2007 4:29:44 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Advent through Christmas -- 2007

Joyce Kilmer

Thursday, December 6, First Week in Advent

Bork in New Jersey on this date in 1886, Joyce Kilmer graduated from Columbia University. A writer and editor, he worked as an editor on Funk and Wagnall’s Dictionary, was literary editor of the Anglican newspaper, The Churchmen, and a feature writer at The New York Times.

In 1913, Kilmer converted to Catholicism and today is considered a major Catholic poet. His deep religious beliefs can be seen in his poem, "Prayer of a Soldier in France.” Perhaps his best known work is his poem, “Trees” (“I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree…”)

In 1917, the United States declared war on Germany. As a married man with children, Kilmer did not have to enlist…but he did. With the assistance of legendary chaplain, Fr. Francis Duffy, Kilmer transferred to the 165th Infantry (Once called the Fighting 69th, a primarily Catholic regiment from New York City.)

As a member of the intelligence staff, Kilmer was protected from the front lines, but the young man would not be kept out of action.

On July 30, 1918, the 31 year old Kilmer was killed by a sniper’s bullet. He is buried in France

* * * * * *

Actor Jeffrey Lynn portrayer Kilmer in the 1940 film, “The Fighting 69th. in which veteran actor Pat O’Brien played Father Duffy.

Today is the Memorial of St. Nicholas


22 posted on 12/09/2007 5:24:59 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Advent through Christmas -- 2007

Thursday, December 6, First Week in Advent

Jesus said, “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted his house. But it did not collapse. It had been set solidly on rock. Matthew 7:21, 24-27

Jesus says that if we take to heart his words and make them the basis of our actions, our lives are built on a rock solid foundation.

This raises some questions. First have I built a set of convictions that I try to live by? (These would be comparable to the house in the parable above.) Or, do I more or less operate of a vague desire to do right?

If I do have convictions, then another questions is this: What are they based on? The “rock” of God’s word? Or the sifting sands of what seems generally acceptable to our society.

When the rain and floods and winds come into my life – and they do – I need solid footings. As a disciple of the Lord, I commit myself to more than following the Gospel whenever possible, regardless of the convenience to me.

Just for starters…Do I forgive when I feel like it, or do I have a conviction based on the “solid rock” of what Jesus taught about forgiveness? Or, prayer. Do I pray, “when I get a chance,” or do I have a rock solid pattern of prayer?

I need to spend some time taking stock of the foundations on which I have built my life.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.


23 posted on 12/09/2007 5:29:24 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Advent through Christmas -- 2007

Day of the Candles

Friday, December 7, First Week in Advent

In Columbia, South America, Dia de las Velitas (the Day of the Candles) is celebrated today, on the eve of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

The festivities date back to the mid-1850s when Pope Pius IX declared the Immaculate Conception to be a dogma of the Catholic Church.

To show their support, the people lit candles and paper lanterns and placed them in their windows. balconies and public squares, etc.

The day also officially begins Columbia’s Christmas season.

* * * * * *

In Columbia, the feast of the Immaculate Conception is a public holiday.

Today is the Memorial of St. Ambrose, the first Doctor of the Catholic Church.


24 posted on 12/09/2007 5:40:10 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Advent through Christmas -- 2007

Immaculate Conception

Saturday, December 8, First Week in Advent

Today is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, often mistakenly thought to refer of the way Mary conceived Jesus in her womb. But immaculate conception means that what a person receives at Baptism, Mary had from her conception. From the moment of her conception, she was free from sin – immaculate.

* * * * * *

Thirteenth century Franciscan theologian and philosopher Blessed John Duns (usually known as John Duns Scotus because he was born in Scotland) is sometimes referred to as a “Marian Doctor.” That’s because he is credited with establishing the theological foundation for the then controversial doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.

* * * * * *

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception was celebrated in England as early as the 12th century and in the 18th century was made a feast of the whole Church. In 1846, the Sixth Provincial Council of Baltimore made this the patronal Feast of the Church in the United States. In 1854, after consultation with the bishops of the world and with theologians, Pope Pius IX declared the Immaculate Conception to be a dogma of the Church.

Today is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Both the Gloria and the Creed are said or sung during a Mass of Solemnity.


25 posted on 12/09/2007 5:58:02 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Advent through Christmas -- 2007

Saturday, December 8, First Week in Advent

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. Luke:1:26-38

Do you think Mary, just before the Annunciation, had a sense that she was specially blessed by God?

It is our teaching that Mary was free from sin from the very moment of her conception. We also teach that she was “full of grace” and that she was perfectly sinless.

Do you think Mary knew this or had a sense of this?

There are legends about Mary that would have us believe that she must have known.

And what about me? Do I have a sense that God has been especially at work within me, blessing me with special gifts from my early years?

After all, I was baptized and confirmed. God cleansed me of sin, poured the Holy Spirit into my inmost soul. Jesus called me by name to be his disciple. I have received Jesus himself time and time again in the Eucharist. I have joined with him in going to the Father and giving myself completely to God.

There are very unusual special works of God in me. I have been specially blessed by God, but I don’t always think of it that way. Perhaps I have a hard time believing it.

Believe it and live it!

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.


26 posted on 12/09/2007 6:01:50 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
Keep the candles burning on this thread, please!
27 posted on 12/09/2007 8:37:27 PM PST by Ciexyz
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Advent through Christmas -- 2007

”God of power and mercy, open our hearts in welcome. Remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy, so that we may share his wisdom and become one with him.” ~Opening Prayer at Mass today.

Sunday, December 9, Second Week in Advent

The annual Retirement Fund collection for Religious is taken up this weekend.


28 posted on 12/10/2007 7:22:44 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Sunday, December 9, Second Week in Advent

What Does the Lord Ask?

We all want to “re-form” ourselves from time to time.

New Year’s Resolutions are an example of our desire to change. Advent is also a time when we thing about reform – it’s the beginning of a new Church year, and we’re coming upon the end of another calendar year.

We usually try to reform ourselves by using our own resources…like a self-help program.

In a way, John the Baptist preached that kind of reform. He spoke forcefully about the need for reform…and then people had to figure out how to do it.

But the reform Jesus talks about is never based on our own initiative or our own resources. We turn to Jesus – not to our own self-help plan.

For starters, I need to turn to the Lord to find out what I should reform. My own list can be a fairly stock one, and fairly superficial: lose weight, stop smoking, cut down on my drinking, etc. Maybe I should do those things, but maybe that isn’t where I should start.

What would happen if I turned to the Lord first and asked, “Lord what is it you want me to change in my life? It might be something I haven’t thought about.

I don’t know what the Lord would say, but I do know that I ought to give the Lord a chance to say it.

Advent isn’t a self-help program. It’s a time when we try to open ourselves more fully to the Lord.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.


29 posted on 12/10/2007 7:26:12 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Advent through Christmas -- 2007

Monday, December 10, Second Week in Advent

Adeste Fidelis

Although occasionally attributed to St. Bonacenture, the popular Christmas hymn, “Adeste Fidelis” (“O, Come, All Ye Faithful”) was actually written by a Catholic layman who lived in England.

John Francis Wade (c.1711-1780) was a musician who made his living copying and teaching music. At age 32, he composed the music and words for “Adeste Fidelis.”

When Catholics were persecuted during the Jacobean rebellion, Wade fled to France were he died at age 75.

* * * * * *

This hymn was often used at Benediction and at Christmas time in France and England.


30 posted on 12/15/2007 7:34:23 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Advent through Christmas -- 2007

Monday, December 10, Second Week in Advent

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 he saw their faith he said, “As for you, your sins are forgiven.” Luke 5:17-26

You know the rest of the story. The scribes and Pharisees think that, when Jesus says “your sins are forgiven,” he is committing blasphemy. After all, only God can forgive sins.

Jesus asks them, “Which is easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven” or to say, “Rise and walk?”

Think about it. Which is easier? Don’t answer too quickly.

It’s easier to say, “your sins are forgiven,” because no one can tell if they are forgiven. The harder thing to say is, “rise and walk,” because the result (or lack of result) is easily seen.

So, as a sign that he “has power on earth to forgive sins,” Jesus says to the paralytic: “Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”

Which is exactly what the paralytic does.

Jesus can forgive sins. Case closed.

But will he forgive my sins?

Ask him.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.


31 posted on 12/15/2007 7:36:44 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Devotional study bump.


32 posted on 12/16/2007 5:09:49 PM PST by Ciexyz
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Advent through Christmas -- 2007

Tuesday, December 11, Second Week in Advent

The Wassail Bowl

The word “wassail” comes from Old Norse “vas heil” – a toast meaning “good health.”

The wassail bowl was a wooden bowl into which people dipped their cups for a beverage in preparation for a toast on ceremonial occasions.

At Christmas, the poor in England would “go wassailing,” which meant dancing and singing in the neighborhood streets, hoping that householders would give them a warm drink from their wassail bowl


33 posted on 12/16/2007 6:51:14 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Advent through Christmas -- 2007

Tuesday, December 11, Second Week in Advent

Jesus said to his disciples, “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the 99 in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it…he rejoices more over it than over the 99 that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost. Matthew 18:12-14-26

Luke’s version of theis parable is better known because it is read on Sundays. We call it the “parable of the lost sheep.”

But Matthew uses the word “stray” instead of “lost” (“stray” appears three times in this passage.) Getting “lost” often means accidentally losing the way. To “stray” can imply deliberately roving from the course we know is right.

When we sin, we probably see ourselves more in the “stray” category – deliberately leaving the right path. We can identify with the words ascribed to St. Paul

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am the foremost. But for that reason I was mercifully treated, so that in me, as the foremost, Christ Jesus might display all his patientce. (1Tim 1:15-18)

We have to be sure to take in the whole first sentence of the quote: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” The first thing the Lord says to a sinner isn’t “Why did you stray?” The first thing he says is simply, “I came into the world for you.”

Our celebration of Christmas isn’t simply that Christ came into the world. It’s that he came into the world…for sinners.

For me.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.


34 posted on 12/16/2007 6:56:21 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Advent through Christmas -- 2007

Wednesday, December 12, Second Week in Advent

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

On December 9, 1511 (10 years after the Spanish conquests), Mary appeared to a native Aztec name Juan Diego along a country trail near present day Mexico City. The striking thing was that Mary’s features and clothing were Aztec, and she spoke to him in that language. Mary instructed Juan to tell the bishop to build a church on that site to replace a pagan shrine.

Juan’s efforts to convince the bishop failed. Finally, in her third appearance to Juan, Mary told him to take nearby roses (unusual at that time of year) as a sign. Juan put some in his cloak. When he came to the bishop and unfolded the cloak, imprinted on it was the painting of Mary that has since become famous.

Juan Diego’s cloak now hangs in the huge church of Our Lady of Guadalupe built on that site. After nearly 500 years, the picture on the cloak shows no sign of deterioration and artists have been unable to duplicate the combination of materials used in the paint.

* * * * * *

The feast of St. Juan Diego is celebrated on December 9.


35 posted on 12/16/2007 8:44:29 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Advent through Christmas -- 2007

Wednesday, December 12, Second Week in Advent

And coming to her, Gabriel said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But Mary was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Luke 1:26-38

There are lots of different ways to pray. One way is to try to put yourself inside the person who is part of your prayer. We try to picture many of the things that aren’t described in the Gospel passage.

Mary Lived up in Nazareth, a three days walk north of Jerusalem. Nazareth back then was a small town up on a hill. Maybe 120 people lived there. They didn’t have any big buildings; they didn’t have any rich industry.

There came a day when Mary (like good Jewish people would do) went with her mother and father on a big trip to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. There, Mary saw great big buildings and the temple. People were dressed so well. And the food and clothes and stores and riches!

That’s when Mary realized she was from a small town. She wasn’t one of the important people in the world. That’s when she realized she had an accent, Mary learned that.

On the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we remember when Mary appeared to Juan Diego. She spoke with his accent, she spoke in his language. She dressed in his native clothing, and she looked like Juan Diego and his people.

Not only does Mary care about me as one of her own, but Jesus grew up that way. He knows what it’s like sometimes to feel small.

He understands.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.


36 posted on 12/16/2007 8:48:55 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Advent through Christmas -- 2007

Thursday, December 13, Second Week in Advent

“High Flight”

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earh
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings.

John Gillespie Magee was born in 1922 in Shanghai. His father was a U. S. citizen and his mother was British. They were serving as missionaries in China.

In 1939, John won a scholarship to Yale. However, after completing his freshman year there, he wanted to do his part to resist the Nazi threat. In 1940, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, was trained as a pilot, and in 1941 was sent for combat duty in England.

During a flight one day in late summer, he scribbled “High Flight” on the back of an envelope, and later sent a copy to his parents.

On December 11, 1941, his Spitfire collided with another plane and the 19-year old pilot crashed to his death. He was buried two days later.

“And while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.”

We are approaching the halfway mark of Advent. Take an internal look at your Advent and Christmas plans. How are you progressing?


37 posted on 12/17/2007 5:41:01 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Advent through Christmas -- 2007

Thursday, December 13, Second Week in Advent

Jesus said. “Among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Matthew 11:11-15

Jesus talks about John the Baptist. But John isn’t there to hear him because, at the moment he is in Herod’s prison.

John’s crime was to criticize Herod for marrying his brother’s wife. John will pay the full price for this when, late one night, an executioner is sent from Herod’s birthday banquet to cut off John’s head.

There have been many prophets in Israel’s history. Jesus says that John is the greatest of all because he was privileged to see the fulfillment of what the prophets had proclaimed – the Kingdom of God present in a new way in Jesus.

We live in the time after Jesus – the final stages of God’s plan. It may be a long stage (perhaps millions of years,) but it is the final stage. We need to remind ourselves of how different creation is because Jesus is now part of it.

All that remains is for the human race gradually to live the way we were created to live – in peace, love, forgiveness. That’s how the kingdom of God comes about. (That’s also why it might take a few million years.)

So…because of the coming of Christ, the reign of God is present in a new way, and I am to help make it more present. That has some implications for the way I live my life today.

What are those implications for me?

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.


38 posted on 12/17/2007 5:45:22 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Since I don’t have a scanner, I am typing these in html. Takes ahile. But I will persevere through the end of the Christmas Season. Thanks for your patience.


39 posted on 12/25/2007 10:16:02 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
Advent through Christmas -- 2007

Friday, December 14, Second Week in Advent

Christmas Cards

The custom of sending Christmas cards began in England in 1843 when Sir Henry Cole sent some cards to friends at Christmastime. These were not like today’s cards with Christmas or winter scenes. They depicted good deeds such as giving food and clothing to those in need.

* * * * * *

The first American cards were made in 1875 by Louis Prang, a German-born painter. These were more along the lines of the kind in use today. He helped popularize cards by holding contests each year for the best designs.

* * * * * *

Which is more important – the picture on the card, or the text inside? According to Hallmark, it isn’t even a close call. It’s the text by a mile.

* * * * * *

Speaking of miles, in the United States, over 2 billion Christmas cards are sent each year. To put in perspective…if average-sized cards were place side by side, they would stretch around the world six times.

We are approaching the halfway mark of Advent. Take an internal look at your Advent and Christmas plans. How are you progressing?


40 posted on 12/25/2007 10:18:21 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Advent through Christmas -- 2007

Friday, December 14, Second Week in Advent

Jesus said. “To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another, ’We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” Matthew 11:16-19

The homespun parable of the little children playing in the marketplace describes two groups of youngsters who can’t agree on whether to “play wedding’ or “play funeral.”

For centuries, scholars have tried to clarify its exact meaning and application, but parables are sometimes hard to nail down that way.

Many would apply it in this way: The groups of children inviting the others to play wedding or funeral represent John and Jesus. The group of children who pout and refuse to join in represent the people who wouldn’t accept either John’s ascetic style or Jesus’ joyful style. These people refuse to be satisfied with either style because they’ve made up their mind not to accept John or Jesus.

Being part of a group requires a certain amount of flexibility, adaptability. The bond among parishioners is not ultimately ethnicity, political preference, economic status, or like-mindedness.

It is the Lord.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.


41 posted on 12/25/2007 10:22:53 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Advent through Christmas -- 2007

Saturday, December 15, Second Week in Advent

The Prophet Elijah

To understand the biblical meaning of “prophet,” one has to distinguish it from the popular notion that a prophet predicts the future. A person who claims to do that is more along the lines of an “oracle” – someone who is asked a question, consults the divinity, and gives a response.

The word “prophet” comes from a Greek word that means “one who speaks on behalf of another.” In the Judaeo-Christian tradition, the “another” is God. Thus, prophets are those who speak on behalf of God. They have the gift of seeing things from God’s perspective and their primary focus is on the present. Insofar as they talk about the consequencesof the present course of action, they also look to the future. It would be best to say “Prophets forewarn; they do not foretell.”

The prophet Elijah (mentioned in the Gospel passage in the next post) was one of the greatest prophets in Israel, even though he left no written words. He was a solitary figure, and lived in caves.

Elijah was noted for his emphasis on Yahweh as the one and only God. When King Ahab married Jezebel (a pagan,) she introduced rituals to the god Baal into the court. Elijah strongly objected and he had to flee for his life.

* * * * * *

In the three-year cycle of Sunday Scripture readings during Advent, the first reading always describes the words and/or actions of one of the prophets.


42 posted on 12/25/2007 10:30:34 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Advent through Christmas -- 2007

Saturday, December 15, Second Week in Advent

As they were coming down from the mountain, the disciples asked Jesus, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first? He said in reply, “Elijah will indeed come and restore all things, but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was speaking about John the Baptist. Matthew 17:9, -10-13

The Second Book of Kings describes Elijah, in his final days, talking with the prophet Elisha when…”a flaming chariot and flaming horses came between them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.” Thus it was believed that he did not taste death.

Some 500 years later in the book of Malachi, God says, “Lo, I will send you, Elijah, the prophet, before the day of the Lord comes.” Jewish theologians took this to mean that Elijah would return before the Messiah came.

So the disciples ask: If Elijah hasn’t returned, how could Jesus be the Messiah? Jesus gives the answer: John the Baptist is the Elijah figure prophesized by Malachi.

The Gospel writers do not give us a biography of Jesus, but answer the question: "Who is Jesus?”

All four Gospels answer: He is the Messiah. He is the Son of God. He has come to begin the final preparation for the kingdom of God.

Picture Jesus saying to you (as he once said to the disciples)” Who do you say that I am?

Give your answer – not in the abstract, but to him.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.


43 posted on 12/25/2007 10:33:53 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Advent through Christmas -- 2007

Sunday, December 16, Third Week in Advent

Why Am I Doing This?

She lived alone, as so many do. And she felt it especially at Christmas, as so many do.

Decorating her Christmas tree, she began to argue with herself, an argument she’d had several times before in these days before Christmas. “Why am I doing this? No one will see it, and I don’t need it.”

Then she heard herself say, “You have to do this. Not so that others will see it, but to remind yourself that the hope is real – not just words or a dream. It’s real. Jesus really did come. And so you really have a tree, and you decorate it, and you buy real gifts, and you go to Midnight Mass, and you have a real Christmas dinner.

“This is how you keep the hope alive and real.”

* * * * * *

In the three-year cycle of Sunday Scripture readings during Advent, the first reading always describes the words and/or actions of one of the prophets.

Today is traditionally called “Gaudete Sunday.” The Latin word “gaudete” means “rejoice.”

 

44 posted on 12/29/2007 9:21:11 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Advent through Christmas -- 2007

Sunday, December 16, Third Sunday in Advent

God’s Big Dream

John the Baptist did what God wanted him to do – he prepared the way for Jesus.

But John never lived to see the results. It wasn’t long after the incident in today’s Gospel that John was killed.

Now here’s a thought.

Am I willing to be part of something, invest myself in something that I’ll never live to see fully accomplished?

Some of those great cathedrals in Europe took over 100 years to build. People could work on one all their lives, knowing they’d never live to see it finished.

Well, God's plans for this world are far greater than our minds can grasp. God’s dream is a big dream. It includes all creation.

There will come a time when there is peace, and wholeness, and truth, and love. But I doubt any of us will live to see it.

So, do I throw up my hands and give up? Do I just try to get out of life what I can in the few years I’ve got?

That’s the question.

Am I willing to invest myself in a great work – God’s work – that I’ll never live to see finished?

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

 

45 posted on 12/29/2007 9:27:03 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Advent through Christmas -- 2007

Monday, December 17, Third Week in Advent

How Long Is Advent?

Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before December 25. It always has four Sundays, but the total number of days can vary. For example:

• If Christmas falls on a Monday, then Advent lasts three weeks and a day.

• If Christmas falls on a Sunday, Advent lasts four full weeks.

* * * * * *

Regardless of when Advent begins, every year the same Scripture readings are used for weekdays from December 17-24. The Gospels on those days describe events leading up to the birth of Christ.

December 17: The genealogy of Jesus (Matthew)
December 18: The annunciation to Joseph (Matthew)
December 19: The annunciation to Zechariah (Luke)
December 20: The annunciation to Mary (Luke)
December 21: Mary’s visit to Elizabeth (Luke)
December 22: Mary’s “Magnificat” (Luke)
December 23: The birth of John the Baptist (Luke)
December 24: The “Benedictus” of Zechariah (Luke)

* * * * * *

When reading the Scripture passages in the second post for each day, read slowly. Let the Lord speak to you through these words.

 

46 posted on 12/29/2007 9:30:54 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Advent through Christmas -- 2007

Monday, December 17, Fourth Week in Advent

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham became the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers…Matthew 1:-17

These are the opening words of Matthew’s Gospel. He begins with the basics – the genealogy of Jesus. It will be a long list of 48 names stretching across 2,000 years.

Matthew wants to emphasize that Jesus is the Messiah, the long-awaited “Son of David” who would fulfill Old Testament prophecies. That’s why he works downward from Abraham through David, to Jesus. Luke in his genealogy starts with Jesus and works upward to Adam. He wants to emphasize that Jesus is the Son of God.

Both Matthew and Luke drew upon popular traditions (rather than written records,) and both adapted the data. They are trying to establish Jesus’ theological identity, not his DNA.

The list of names in Jesus’ genealogy includes a wide variety of people not all of them perfect by any means. Jesus’ family had some skeletons in the closet. Probably your family is no different. They’re still your family.

We are about a week away from Christmas. This would be a good time to mend some family ties.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

 

47 posted on 12/29/2007 9:36:27 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Advent through Christmas – 2007-2008

Tuesday, December 18, Fourth Week in Advent

Angels

Angels play a significant role in the Christmas story of both Matthew and Luke

Belief in angels is rooted in Jewish tradition, which regarded angels as manifestations of God’s presence.

Jewish belief in angels went beyond the Scriptures and spoke of choirs (i.e. groups) of angels (a concept not found in Scripture) and names of angels. In Scripture only three names are given – Michael, Gabriel, Raphael.

The Christian tradition has retained a strong belief in angels. The New Testament has more than twice as many references to angels as the Old Testament. However, in the Gospels, angels appear and speak only in the Infancy Narrative and at the empty tomb.

The Church has made few pronouncements about angels. It teaches that angels are created beings (not mini-gods)…that they are personal (not simply “forces”)…and that they do not have a material body (though when necessary they can appear in a human form.)

* * * * * *

The word “angel” is a Greek translation of a Hebrew word meaning “messenger.”

 

48 posted on 01/01/2008 5:12:53 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Advent through Christmas – 2007-2008

Tuesday, December 18, Third Week in Advent

The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save the people from their sins.…Matthew 1: -18-25

Dreams play an important part in Matthew’s account of the birth of Jesus. There are five of them – four to Joseph and one to the Magi. In Joseph’s first dream, the angel gives him some astounding news. His wife, Mary, has conceived a child by the power of God!

Dreams played an important part in the life of another Joseph centuries earlier. When he told his brothers about his dreams, they became jealous. Eventually they sold him to a caravan headed for Egypt. Joseph ended up as a servant of the Pharaoh. Later he won great favor by interpreting the Pharaoh’s dreams.

The story of these two Josephs is the story of God working through human beings. God still does that, and I am one of the human beings through whom God accomplishes his plans.

As routine and plain as my life may seem, God acts through me to accomplish great things. They may seem small, but in the eons of God’s plan, they’re like the mustard seed “which when full-grown is the largest of plants and puts forth large branches.

How did God work through me yesterday?

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

 

49 posted on 01/01/2008 5:18:12 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Advent through Christmas – 2007-2008

Wednesday, December 19, Third Week in Advent

The Father of John the Baptist

Zechariah was one of approximately 18,000 Jewish priests in Palestine at the time of Jesus.

They were divided into 24 groups of 750 each. Twice a year each group came to the Temple in Jerusalem to serve for a week. Their roles during the week of service were chosen by lot. Some of them, in a given week, weren’t chosen to do anything.

Each morning, four lots were cast to decide who would carry out the four tasks of the altar. Then in the afternoon, a fifth lot was cast to determine who would enter the Holy Place to offer the evening incense. This extraordinary privilege usually came only once in a lifetime.

In Luke’s account, when the afternoon lot was cast, Zechariah was chosen to enter the Holy Place and offer the evening incense. It was there that the angel appeared to him to announce the birth of John.

 

50 posted on 01/01/2008 7:22:59 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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