Peace A Gift and a Task
This 3rd week of Advent begins with Gaudete Sunday.. This is the week of the rose-colored candle on the Advent wreath. Gaudete means rejoice, and rejoice means to feel or show great joy, We are getting closer and closer to the celebration of the birth of our Savior, truly a cause of great joy. When the angel first appeared to the shepherds in fields outside of Bethlehem, the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” As we light the rose colored candle this week, let us remember not to be afraid, because we have the good new to rejoice about! As the old introit goes: Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico Gaudete… that is: Rejoice in the Lord always I say again Rejoice!
The majority of the details about the nativity all come from the Gospel of Luke, but before St Luke tells us anything about Jesus, he tells us about John The Baptist. In a way, I often think of John the Baptist as the patron of Advent...
Adorable Heart of Jesus, glowing with love for us and inflamed with zeal for our salvation. O Heart that understands the misery to which our sins have brought us, infinitely rich in mercy to heal the wounds of our souls, behold me humbly kneeling before You to express the sorrow that fills my heart for the coldness and indifference with which I have so long returned the numberless benefits which You have bestowed upon me.
With a deep sense of the outrages that have been heaped upon You by my sins and the sins of others, I wish to make reparation to Your most Sacred Majesty. It was our sins that filled Your Heart with bitterness; it was the weight of our guilt that pressed down Your face to the earth in the Garden of Olives and caused you to die in agony on the Cross. But now, repentant and sorrowful, I implore Your forgiveness.
Adorable Heart of Jesus, Source of true consolation and ever merciful to the penitent sinner, impart to our hearts the spirit of penance that we may be sincerely sorry for our sins. Pardon them, O Lord, in Your mercy, and let all who have sinned against You in the Sacrament of Your love be converted and return to You. Deliver us from our sins. And in order to repair the sins of ingratitude by which we have grieved Your most tender and loving Heart, may we love and honor You in the most adorable Sacrament of the Altar, where You are present to hear and grant our petitions and to be the food and life of our souls.
Merciful Jesus, be our Mediator with Your heavenly Father, whom we have so grievously offended. Help us to amend our ways. As Your Sacred Heart is our refuge and our hope when we have sinned, so let it be the strength and support of our repentance, and nothing in life or death shall ever separate us from You. Amen.
It maybe December, but it’s NOT the Christmas season yet. Even if the department stores starting Advertising Christmas immediately after Halloween, it is still several weeks away. We are really just beginning Advent.
7 Minute Holy Week Daily Reflection
Mary my mother,
you were the first to live the Way of the Cross...
Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
Many Christians are familiar with the story where the Pharisees bring a woman caught in adultery to Jesus and try to test him for charges against the Law’s of Moses. Jesus had been showing all sorts of mercy that was unusual to them, eating with sinners and tax collectors, driving demons out of gentiles, and even curing people on the sabbath, they thought they could trap him, but Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground,we can assume he was writing out their sins. He then said “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her. And in response, they went away one by one. Jesus then says, "Has no one condemned you?”..."then neither do I condemn you..." But Jesus continues “ Go and sin no more” it is fine for us to meet people where they are at with mercy, but we can’t leave them there, we must help them come to a place free of sin in their lives.
The Devil’s third temptation for Jesus in the Wilderness is Doubt. He leads Jesus to Jerusalem the city where he will soon be rejected and crucified. There he made him stand on the edge of the temple roof, and said to Him “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here “ then flipping the script he tries to trap Jesus with some scripture quoting of his own” for it is written: He will command his angels to guard you, With their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone. But again Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy knowing he’s trying to make him doubt God’s care and rebukes him by saying,“It also says, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.’” Jesus is referring back to the times the Israelites where tempted in Exodus. Lent is like a mini exodus leading us to the victory of Easter. We must always keep God as our refuge and fortress in whom we trust to see us to victory.
Obedience is the 2nd Temptation of the Devil for Jesus in the Wilderness. The evil one showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant. Then he said to Jesus , “I shall give to you all this power and their glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish. ...All this will be yours, if you worship me.” but Jesus again quotes from Deuteronomy and says” ‘You shall worship the Lord, your God,and him alone shall you serve. Unlike the Israelites who gave into the false worship of The Golden Calf when they grew impatience of Moses up on Mt Sinai, Jesus says firm and loyal to the 1 st commandment of the law to not worship false gods or Idols and to remain obedient to God his Father alone. Let us reflect on any false gods, idols, or priorities in our lives during this week of Lent.
During the 40 Days that Jesus spent fasting in the desert, The first temptation he experienced from the devil was that of hunger. The Devil said ““If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” Jesus responds by quoting from the book of Deuteronomy. ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God” ---“God let the Israelites be afflicted with hunger in the desert, but then fed them with manna a food unknown to them, that prefigured the Eucharist, so that they might know that it is not by bread alone that people live, but faith. If we put our faith first, God will provide for our needs. Keep this in mind as we fast and abstain each Friday this Lent. If you already give up Meat on Fridays, give up something else to bring you a little hungur. For fasting purifies the soul, it shifts our prioritizes to God, and lets Him proved for us.
The 40 days of Lent remind us of when Jesus himself fasted and was tempted in the desert. In the bible 40 symbolizes a time of struggle, purification, and rebirth 40 weeks is the time it take a child to be develop in a mothers womb. Noah in the Ark watched it rain for 40 days and 40 nights and then the people of God were reborn after the flood, Moses went up Mt Sinai for 40 days to receive the Commandments and the and they were reborn in to a covenant and the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years to find the promised land...
Why is it that on Ash Wednesday, we always hear from the Gospel of Matthew about" not performing deeds of righteousness in order that people see them", we then proceed to have the priest make a cross of ashes on our forehead as we then go out into our workplaces, schools, and the public square? Doesn't this seem a paradox? While the gospel is a good reminder not to flaunt our good deeds nor to think we are better than others because we went to mass on a weekday, the truth is we don't wear the ashes as a sign of righteousness but rather as a recognition of our humble nothingness, owing everything to God, The priest usually says"remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return" ... biblically a sign on your forehead is a symbol of ownership, that we belong to God. As we begin this Lenten season of fasting and penance, Let us remember that we can do nothing without God and that He will give us the strength to endure everything.