JESUS IN SCRIPTURE PUBLIC LIFE MIRACLE WORKER

 

JOHN 2:1-11 THE WEDDING AT CANA
There was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it. And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from (although the servers who had drawn the water knew).
The headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.

REFLECTION:
Mary, Jesus, and his disciples were invited to this wedding banquet. Must have been a pretty big affair to run out of wine…wedding celebrations lasted days back then and preparations were made…Could it be that it was not an accident but Divine Providence…Jesus addresses his mother as Women. Is He insulting her of course not! Could it be the title Women represented all mankind in need….Seek and you will find…Mary had no doubt her request would be answered; she told the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.”.Mary did not know what her Son would do, but she trusted Him. Do we trust Jesus to answer our prayers…

My hour has not yet come“…God’s time is not our time…Jesus had not yet begun his public ministry…but then who can turn down a mother’s request….Jesus discerned this as a sign from his Father that it was time to let the rest of us in on the Good News..Jesus performed this first of His signs and revealed His glory… and so the disciples began to believe in Him…the kingdom of heaven is at hand…what are our expectations,,..what are the signs of Jesus’ intervention in my life…look closely… give thanks…

 

SILENT PRAYER


MARK 4:35-41 JESUS REBUKES THE SEA

On that day, as evening drew on, he said to them, “Let us cross to the other side of the lake.”

Leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him. A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.

They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!”

The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”

They were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”

REFLECTION:

Jesus was crossing the Sea of Galilee with his disciple…He was exhausted from all the teaching He had done to the multitudes, worn out emotionally too with the needs of the people and demands placed on him for healing…. Jesus fell asleep in the back of the creaky old fisherman boat. Afierce storm came up that terrified his disciples. Jesus must have really been tired since it didn’t awaken him or else He wasn’t worried by nature’s unpredictability.

So often storms come into our lives…We feel all alone…frightened…how long do I thrash about in the storm by myself…am I able to make the storm go away by myself…do I invite Jesus into the eye of the storm…He is my refuge, my only refuge…his disciples (fishermen) were afraid in the boat and woke Jesus..Jesus saw and heard their fear…He rebuked the wind and told the sea to Be still…the wind ceased and the sea became calm…Why child are you so terrified…I am with you…Be still and know that I am God….can we respond Yes, Lord, I trust you!

SILENT PRAYER

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FEAST OF THE MOST HOLY FAMILY

FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY SUNDAY DECEMBER 31, 2017

Today’s Catholic Blog honors the Holy Family and in so doing I hope gives support to all parents and children who are making their way home to their heavenly home and the “wedding feast of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:9)

REFLECTION
WHERE DOES THE HOLY FAMILY BEGIN
As I look at the picture of the Holy Family, many themes come to mind for this Catholic Blog. Love and faithfulness stand out… Mary’s words of obedience to God’s messenger, the angel, Gabriel, “Be it done to me according to thy word,” at the Annunciation comes as a strong flashback of where it began. Before there was a Holy Family there was Mary, God’s choice to become the Mother of His Son.

This young teenage maiden submitted to God’s will without fully understanding the consequences of her “yes.” This says so much about trust in a benevolent God who only wishes us well! Do we have that kind of trust??? Well, do we? When in situation with choices, do we run it by God with a quick prayer, Do we listen!

HOW WILL THE WORD OF GOD BECOME INCARNATE (TAKE ON HUMAN NATURE)
The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.” Luke 1:35 Just as in the Testament of Old where God’s presence was noted in a cloud, “the glory of God appeared in a cloud.” Exodus 16:10, now a cloud overshadows Mary, the New Ark of the Covenant.

Mary conceives a Son by the Power of the Holy Spirit….the Son Mary conceived was no ordinary Son but the Son of God…Mary will bring God to the world… the Word Incarnate…God will dwell once again among His people…What was lost by Eve’s disobedience is now gained by Mary’s obedience…The Garden is refreshed….Do not be afraid…

THE HOLY FAMILY NEEDS AN EARTHLY FATHER
Joseph, Jesus’ foster father had his own qualms to deal with when his wife to be became pregnant and not by him. Joseph was already a righteous man in relationship with God and did not want to do anything to embarrass or jeopardize Mary so he planned to separate quietly… “Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,* yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.” Matthew 1:19

Then God intervened, “behold, the angel of the Lord* appeared to him 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.” Matthew 1:20

THE HOLY FAMILY EMBRACES THE WORLD 

Because of the love of Mary and Joseph, the Christ child in the picture is able to hold out his arms and embrace the whole world in blessing. A child lives what he experiences. Be careful your children are listening and watching!

A loving family that images the relationships in the Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is the core of God’s plan for salvation. Attached to God our Creator, we spread that love and embrace of God the Father to others. Embrace your family! Spread that love! There is always one special pray-er in the family, praying for all the members. Maybe it is you!

At one point, Jesus got separated from Mary and Joseph. When found teaching in the temple, he willingly left His Father’s house and went back to his earthly home in Nazareth. “He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced [in] wisdom and age and favor before God and man” (Luke 2:49-51) Jesus honored His Father’s will in obeying his earthly parents….how am I honoring God in my daily duties….

Do we ponder, like Mary, God’s activity in our family, maybe catch in hindsight that some past event had more meaning than you thought at the time or some good really did come out of that stressful situation…

Mary and Joseph would have provided for their family in traditional roles of feeding and caring for their child. In his human nature Jesus would be learning and not taking any “divine” short cuts as he assisted his earthly foster father, Joseph, in his carpentry trade.

We do know the Holy Family were all devout practicing Jews honoring and worshiping God according to Jewish practices, especially holy days like Passover, Feast of Tabernacles, Pentecost and the like.

Is this something we do as a family, pray together, worship together, teach the little ones the stories of Jesus like our parents did…certainly our children’s eternal home is more important than this temporary one and we don’t want them to be strangers when they meet God..

PRAYER FOR OUR FAMILIES
We bless your name, O Lord
for sending us your own Incarnate Son to become part of a family
so that as He lived its life, He would experience its worries and its joys.

Lord, protect our family so that in the strength of Your grace,
we may possess the priceless gift of Your peace

and as the Church alive in this home,
may we bear witness in this world to Your glory.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen

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CATHOLIC FEAST DAYS THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

O COME, O COME, EMMANUEL!

 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be.

In time the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you… Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God… Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High

THE GREATEST EXCHANGE OF GIFTS

At Bethlehem, humanity sees not only God-Made flesh but also receives an invitation to become God-like. God offers to make men and women by grace what Jesus Christ is by nature, namely, a beloved child of our heavenly Father. In Christ, God took on human attributes, in Christ humans can now take on the divine qualities of mercy, love, insight, and immortality.

In exchange for the humanity He takes, the Incarnate Word gives us a share in his divinity. God is born in time so we can be reborn in eternity. The Son of God becomes the Son of Man so men and women can become children of the one same Father in heaven.

BEHOLD A GREAT LIGHT SHATTERS THE DARKNESS!

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Upon those who lived in a land of gloom…a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing.” (Isaiah 9:1-2)

“The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.” (Matthew 4:16)

“Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Jesus is the Word made flesh…the Word Incarnate….Through Him comes Life….And this Life is the Light of the World ….darkness cannot keep out the Light….those who choose Light….become children of the Light….and testify to the Light…do I hide my light under a bushel or do I let it shine everywhere even where inconvenient in the public square…are there things hidden in my own life that needs the light of Christ…

Is this the Advent that lights up my soul to receive Jesus as Mary and Joseph did….The night the Christ Child was born, there was no room in the Inn….Is there room in my heart for the Christ Child…shepherds came and saw, then worshiped and spread the Good News…do I spread the Good News…Mary pondered all these mysteries in her heart…do I ponder the birth of Jesus in my heart…what other mysteries in my life do I ponder…

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PRAYING THE PSALMS FROM THE HEART

LORD TEACH US TO PRAY!

KING DAVID, SONG WRITER, SINGER, AUTHOR OF PSALMS

INTRODUCTION
As we continue to wait on the Lord in this Advent Season, it is important to increase our times of prayer to make ready to receive Jesus in our hearts. One group of prayers often overlooked in modern times is found in Book of Psalms in the Old Testament. You can easily find them on the internet, in your Bible, or at a Catholic bookstore. Psalms were the most common prayer of Jesus in the New Testament and loved singing them with his disciples. As they left the Last Supper they sang psalms on their way to Gethsemane. “Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” (Matthew 26:30)

BACKGROUND

The book of the Psalms is not a single book, in and of itself, but a collection of many poems and other similar works composed mostly by King David but include many other authors such as Moses and Solomon. In the Psalms, joy, suffering, the desire and fear of death are all interwoven and expressed. On Calvary, Jesus recalled Psalm 22:1, “And about three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:48

In general the Psalms fall into two areas, praise and petition. Petition is animated by the certainty that God will respond, and this opens up to praise and thanksgiving from the experience of salvation received. In petition, the one who prays describes his situation of distress or, as in the penitential psalms, he confesses guilt and sin, and asks to be forgiven. He lays bare his neediness before the Lord, in the confidence of being heard and answered.

CONCLUSION
The Psalms are given to us as the inspired word of God. Though God used human instruments, God is the true author of the Bible. Since they are the Word of God, the pray-er who prays the Psalms speaks to God with the very words that God has given to us. Thus, in praying the Psalms we learn to pray. They are a school of prayer.

By teaching us to pray, the Psalms teach us that, even in the midst of desolation, God’s presence remains and is the source of wonder and of consolation; we can cry, beg, intercede, lament, but we do so in the knowledge that we are walking toward the light. Each Psalm acquires a new light in Christ and the Psalter is able to shine in all its infinite richness.

From time to time I will post Psalms in my blog for inspiration and prayer. I will include a few examples from Psalms in this post. There are seven penitential Psalms, 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 142. Penitential psalms all recognize sin as the source of corruption and trouble.

PSALM 51: MISERERE (PENITENTIAL PSALM)
Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness. In your compassion blot out my offense. O wash me more and more from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin. My offenses truly I know them; my sin is always before me….

From my sins turn away your face and blot out all my guilt. A pure heart create for me, O God, put a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, nor deprive me of your holy spirit. Give me again the joy of your help; with a spirit of fervor sustain me that I may teach transgressors your ways and sinners may return to you….

PSALM 8 (PRAISE)
O LORD, our Lord, how awesome is your name through all the earth! You have set your majesty above the heavens!….What are humans that you are mindful of them, mere mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them little less than a god, crowned them with glory and honor. You have given them rule over the works of your hands, put all things at their feet: O LORD, our Lord, how awesome is your name through all the earth!….

PSALM 17 (PETITION)
Hear, LORD, my plea for justice; pay heed to my cry; Listen to my prayer spoken without guile. From you let my vindication come; your eyes see what is right. You have tested my heart, searched it in the night. You have tried me by fire, but find no malice in me….Show your wonderful love, keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings from the violence of the wicked….The generation to come will be told of the Lord, that they may proclaim to a people yet unborn the deliverance you have brought….
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JESUS ASKS WHO DO YOU SAY I AM

Last Sunday’s Gospel told the story at Caesarea Phillipi where Jesus asks his disciples “Who do people say I am? Then more directly asks his disciples who they say he is. Peter ultimately answered for all of them, “You are the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the Living God!”

CATHOLIC SCRIPTURE

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi* he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”They replied, “Some say John the Baptist,* others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

“Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.  I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.  Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Messiah.” Matthew 16:13-20

 CATHOLIC COMMENTARY

Soon the title “Christ” became Jesus’ second name. It is mentioned more than 500 times in the New Testament, almost always in the composite form “Jesus Christ” or “Our Lord Jesus Christ.”  To say “Christ” was not to call Jesus by his name, but to make an affirmation about him. Christ, we know, is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Mashiah, or Messiah, and both mean “anointed.” The term derives from the fact that in the Old Testament kings, prophets and priests were consecrated through an anointing with perfumed oil.

Increasingly in the Bible there clearly is talk of a special anointed or consecrated one who will come in the end times to fulfill God’s promises of salvation to his people. The promise of the coming of the Messiah is in Gen. 3:15 where it summarizes what the Messiah will accomplish: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He will bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”

In Isaiah 9:6, the birth of the Messiah and his attributes are described, “For to us a child is born, And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

The Messiah must be descended from King David, ‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘When I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a king who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In His days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. “Jeremiah 23:5-6 

The Messiah would be the Son of God, “He has said to Me, You are My Son; today I have begotten YouPs 2:7 The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, “But thou Bethlehem Ephratha, which art little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall One come forth unto Me that is to be Ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from old, from Ancient of Days.”

The Messiah would suffer.  While the Old Testament portrays the Messiah as a glorious King as well as both a human and divine figure, it also indicates that He will suffer and be put to death only to rise miraculously (resurrection from death.)  Isaiah 52:13-53:12

The whole early tradition of the Church is unanimous in proclaiming that Jesus of Nazareth is the awaited Messiah.  Jesus himself, according to Mark, will proclaim himself such before the Sanhedrin. To the question of the High Priest: “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” He replies: “I am” (Mark 14:61 ff.).

It is puzzling somewhat the way Sunday’s Scripture reading concludes. “And he commanded them energetically not to speak about him to any one.”  However, the motive is clear. Jesus accepts being identified with the awaited Messiah, but not with the idea that Judaism had made for itself of the Messiah.

In the prevailing opinion in Jesus’ day,  the Messiah was seen as a political and military leader who would liberate Israel from pagan dominion and establish the kingdom of God on earth by force.  Jesus had to profoundly correct this idea before allowing His disciples to talk of him as the Messiah. To this end he began to teach them that the “Son of Man must suffer many things.”

The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. He spoke this openly. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” Mark 8:30

The harsh words addressed to Peter, Get behind me, Satan!” seeking to dissuade Peter from such thoughts: “are identical with that addressed to the tempter (Satan) in the desert.  In both cases, in fact, it is about attempts to deflect Jesus from the path that the Father has indicated to him — that of the suffering servant of Yahweh –

Salvation will come from the sacrifice of himself, from “giving his life in ransom for many,” not from the elimination of the enemy. Jesus will not be fooled into following the wrong path.

Regrettably, we must state that Peter’s error has been repeated in history. Certain men of the Church, and even Successors of Peter, have behaved at certain times as if the Kingdom of God was of this world and should be affirmed with the victory (if necessary also with arms) over enemies, instead of doing so with suffering and martyrdom.

Even today, people have very diverse opinions on Jesus, is he :merely a prophet, a great teacher, a great personality, a good man etc. It has become fashionable to present Jesus in media and novels in the strangest ways. The “Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown is only the latest in a long series.

A leap of faith must be taken that does not come from the flesh or from blood, but is a gift of God which must be accepted through the humble obedience, an interior light from which faith is born. Every day there are men and women who take this leap.

One thing is certain: Those who have taken this leap will not go back for anything in the world to satisfy that hunger for the truth.   “My heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee,”.(St. Augustine)  Like St. Hillary of Poitiers, who converted when he was an adult, they are willing to exclaim: “Before knowing you, I did not exist.”

Jesus not only poses a question to his disciples, but he does to us today:

HOW DO WE ANSWER HIM????

AND WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE IT MAKES IN OUR LIFE OF DISCIPESHIP!

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