Readings 20141228

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2014. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

FAMILY FEUD

“The Child’s father and mother were marveling.” —Luke 2:33
The holy families of today are walking through a mine field. One false step, and the family is blown up. Christian parents must be Josephs who know exactly when to leave and where to go. Parents must be divinely inspired and guided because today even more Herods are searching for their children to destroy them. Parents must know and live the Bible or they will be hopelessly confused, and their families will suffer. Family prayer has never been more necessary. Wives must be submissive and husbands must love their wives (Col 3:18-19). Now more than ever, children must obey their parents “in everything as the acceptable way in the Lord” (Col 3:20).

Today’s holy families need order, guidance, prayer, power, and protection. Families need God, His amazing grace, and daily, if not hourly, miracles. Holy families, don’t be discouraged. The Lord promises: “Those who oppose you I will oppose, and your sons [and daughters] I will save” (Is 49:25). “All your sons [and daughters] shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children” (Is 54:13). This Christmas, let these words become flesh in your family (Jn 1:14).

Prayer: Father, may parents be hopeful and confident about their families’ future and eternity because of Your saving love and almighty power. Promise: “The Child grew in size and strength, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him.” —Lk 2:40 Praise: In the Holy Family Mary pondered, Jesus submitted to, and Joseph accepted God’s will. (Make a New Year’s resolution to pray together as a family daily. Order our tape Family Prayer on audio AV 59-1 or video V-59.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2014 through January 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 30, 2014.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2014, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
Do you know the favor of the Lord? After Jesus’ birth, Mary fulfills the Jewish right of purification after childbirth. Since she could not afford the customary offering of a lamb, she gives instead two pigeons as an offering of the poor. This rite, along with circumcision and the redemption of the first-born point to the fact that children are gifts from God. Jesus was born in an ordinary home where there were no luxuries. Like all godly parents, Mary and Joseph raised their son in the fear and wisdom of God. He, in turn, was obedient to them and grew in wisdom and grace. The Lord’s favor is with those who listen to his word with trust and obedience. Do you know the joy of submission to God? And do you seek to pass on the faith and to help the young grow in wisdom and maturity?
The Holy Spirit reveals the presence of the Savior of the world
What is the significance of Simeon’s encounter with the baby Jesus and his mother in the temple? Simeon was a just and devout man who was very much in tune with the Holy Spirit. He believed that the Lord would return to his temple and renew his chosen people. The Holy Spirit also revealed to him that the Messiah and King of Israel would also bring salvation to the Gentile nations. When Joseph and Mary presented the baby Jesus in the temple, Simeon immediately recognized this humble child of Bethlehem as the fulfillment of all the messianic prophecies, hopes, and prayers. Inspired by the Holy Spirit he prophesied that Jesus was to be “a revealing light to the Gentiles”. The Holy Spirit reveals the presence of the Lord to those who are receptive and eager to receive him. Do you recognize the indwelling presence of the Lord with you?

The ‘new temple’ of God’s presence in the world
Jesus is the new temple (John 1:14; 2:19-22). In the Old Testament God manifested his presence in the “pillar of cloud” by day and the “pillar of fire” by night as he led them through the wilderness. God’s glory visibly came to dwell over the ark and the tabernacle (Exodus 40:34-38). When the first temple was built in Jerusalem God’s glory came to rest there (1 Kings 8). After the first temple was destroyed, Ezekiel saw God’s glory leave it (Ezekiel 10). But God promised one day to fill it with even greater glory (Haggai 2:1-9; Zechariah 8-9). That promise is fulfilled when the “King of Glory” himself comes to his temple (Psalm 24:7-10; Malachi 3:1). Through Jesus’ coming in the flesh and through his saving death, resurrection, and ascension we are made living temples of his Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). Ask the Lord to renew your faith in the indwelling presence of his Spirit within you. And give him thanks and praise for coming to make his home with you.

Mary receives both a crown of joy and a cross of sorrow
Simeon blessed Mary and Joseph and he prophesied to Mary about the destiny of this child and the suffering she would undergo for his sake. There is a certain paradox for those blessed by the Lord. Mary was given the blessedness of being the mother of the Son of God. That blessedness also would become a sword which pierced her heart as her Son died upon the cross. She received both a crown of joy and a cross of sorrow. But her joy was not diminished by her sorrow because it was fueled by her faith, hope, and trust in God and his promises. Jesus promised his disciples that “no one will take your joy from you” (John 16:22). The Lord gives us a supernatural joy which enables us to bear any sorrow or pain and which neither life nor death can take way. Do you know the peace and joy of a life surrendered to God with faith and trust?

The Holy Spirit renews our hope in the promise of God
Simeon was not alone in recognizing the Lord’s presence in the temple. Anna, too, was filled with the Holy Spirit. She was found daily in the temple, attending to the Lord in prayer and speaking prophetically to others about God’s promise to send a redeemer. Supernatural hope grows with prayer and age! Anna was pre-eminently a woman of great hope and expectation that God would fulfill all his promises. She is a model of godliness to all believers as we advance in age.
Advancing age and the disappointments of life can easily make us cynical and hopeless if we do not have our hope rightly placed. Anna’s hope in God and his promises grew with age. She never ceased to worship God in faith and to pray with hope. Her hope and faith in God’s promises fueled her indomitable zeal and fervor in prayer and service of God’s people.
Our hope is anchored in God’s everlasting kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy
What do you hope for? The hope which God places in our heart is the desire for the kingdom of heaven and everlasting life and happiness with our heavenly Father. The Lord Jesus has won for us a kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). The Holy Spirit gives hope to all who place their trust in the promises of God. God never fails because his promises are true and he is faithful. The hope which God places within us through the gift of the Spirit enables us to persevere with confident trust in God even in the face of trails, setbacks, and challenges that may come our way.
Is there anything holding you back from giving God your unqualified trust and submission to his will for your life? Allow the Lord Jesus to flood your heart with his peace, joy, and love. And offer to God everything you have and desire – your life, family, friends, health, honor, wealth, and future. If you seek his kingdom first he will give you everything you need to know, love, and serve him now and enjoy him forever.

“Lord Jesus, you are my hope and my life. May I never cease to place all my trust in you. Fill me with the joy and strength of the Holy Spirit that I may boldly point others to your saving presence and words of eternal life.”

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Saint of the day 20141228

In other years: The Holy Innocents, Martyrs
The Holy Innocents are the children who were slaughtered at the orders of King Herod, in the hope that by killing every boy born in Bethlehem at the same time as Jesus, he would succeed in killing the new-born King of the Jews.
There was nothing about those baby boys that made them deserve death. Look at any one of them, and you can see that he had no chance to do anything, or be anyone, or become anyone. He had done nothing. He had done nothing bad, he had done nothing good. He was born, and then he died, and that was all there was to him. So passive are these babies that some people find it hard to understand how they can share the title of “martyr” with people like St Stephen (the day before yesterday), who insisted on preaching the truth until his hearers stoned him for it, or St Thomas Becket (tomorrow), who insisted on living the truth until his king had him killed because of it. These children did not insist on anything except their mothers’ milk; and unlike Stephen and Thomas, there was no voluntary act of theirs that we can see as making the difference between being martyred and not being martyred.
So in our rational human terms these children are a puzzle, and that is one reason why God has inspired the Church to celebrate this very feast – to show us how inadequate our seemingly rational, worldly-wise thoughts are. As he reminds us again and again throughout salvation history, his thoughts are not our thoughts. Babies may not rank high on the scale as far as our human calculus is concerned; but then neither do sparrows, and yet God has told us that God sees and counts every one of those.
The Holy Innocents can stand, therefore, for the “unimportant” and “unnecessary” pawns, child and adult alike, that permeate the whole of human history, the ones who can be sacrificed for some greater cause because they “don’t really matter”; the eggs that were broken to make an omelette… or even broken to make nothing at all. There are plenty of them, one way or another. The feast of the Holy Innocents reminds us that in God’s eyes (that is, according to the true value of things), no-one is unimportant, no-one is unnecessary, no-one “doesn’t really matter.” However meaningless their lives and deaths may seem to us, they shine glorious in heaven.
On a more personal level, the honour given to the Holy Innocents reminds us that if we suffer or even die for God’s sake, it has value even if we have little or no say in it ourselves. Honouring them effectively honours also the martyrdom of the people these children could have become, and their children’s children as well; and at the same time we can remember the contemporary and continuing massacre of those who die before birth for the convenience of those who have them killed.
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The official Grail translation of the Psalms.
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Readings 20141227

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2014, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net

What was it like for those who encountered the only begotten Son of God in human form? John, the beloved disciple of Jesus, wrote his gospel as an eye-witness of the Word of God who became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:1,14), and who died and rose for our salvation. John was the first apostle to reach the tomb of Jesus on Easter Sunday morning. Like the other disciples, he was not ready to see an empty tomb and to hear the angel’s message, Why do you seek the living among the dead (Luke 24:5)?
What did John see in the tomb that led him to believe in the resurrection of Jesus? It was certainly not a dead body. The dead body of Jesus would have dis-proven the resurrection and made his death a tragic conclusion to a glorious career as a great teacher and miracle worker. When John saw the empty tomb he must have recalled Jesus’ prophecy that he would rise again after three days. Through the gift of faith John realized that no tomb on earth could contain the Lord and giver of life.

John in his first epistle testifies: What we have seen, heard, and touched we proclaim as the word of life which existed “from the beginning” (1 John 1:1-4). John bears witness to what has existed from all eternity. This “Word of Life” is Jesus the Word Incarnate, but also Jesus as the word announced by the prophets and Jesus the word now preached throughout the Christian churches for all ages to come. One thing is certain, if Jesus had not risen from the dead and appeared to his disciples, we would never have heard of him. Nothing else could have changed sad and despairing men and women into people radiant with joy and courage. The reality of the resurrection is the central fact of the Christian faith. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Lord gives us “eyes of faith” to know him and the power of his resurrection. The greatest joy we can have is to encounter the living Jesus Christ and to know him personally as our Savior and Lord.

“Lord Jesus Christ, you have triumphed over the grave and you have won new life for us. Give me the eyes of faith to see you in your glory. Help me to draw near to you and to grow in the knowledge of your great love and power.”

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2014. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com
LOVE SUPREME, INFINITE, AND DIVINE

“On the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away, so she ran off to Simon Peter and the other disciple (the one Jesus loved) and told them…” —John 20:1-2
St. John has been traditionally identified with “the beloved disciple” (Jn 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7). However, the Church has also interpreted John 19:26 to mean that the beloved disciple may not be specifically named to show that he represents all of Jesus’ disciples for all times. All of Jesus’ disciples are beloved. All of His disciples can have a miraculous, mysterious relationship with Him in the Eucharist (see Jn 13:23). All of Jesus’ disciples must stand at the foot of the cross (Jn 19:26), deny themselves, and take up the cross each day (Lk 9:23). All of Jesus’ disciples can and must believe in the risen Lord (Jn 20:2) and exclaim publicly: “It is the Lord!” (Jn 21:7)

Christmas is the season when all the beloved disciples are especially invited to become more aware of being the beloved of Christ. Most of us know that Jesus loves us. However, no one knows how much He loves us. If we were to fully realize “one-millionth” of His infinite love for us, we would be so shocked we would die. Nevertheless, during this Christmas season, let us grasp as fully as we can with our human limitations “the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ’s love, and experience this love which surpasses all knowledge, so that [we] may attain to the fullness of God Himself” (Eph 3:18-19).

Prayer: Father, at the Masses of this Christ-mas season, reveal more deeply in Your word Your Son’s love for me. Promise: “This is what we proclaim to you: what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked upon and our hands have touched — we speak of the Word of life.” —1 Jn 1:1 Praise: St. John’s exhortation in his old age was: “Little children, love one another” (see 1 Jn 4:7).
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2014 through January 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 30, 2014.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

Saint of the day 20141227

27 December

SAINT JOHN
Apostle and Evangelist
(† c. 100)
Feast

St. John, the youngest of the apostles in age, was son of Zebedee. He was called to follow Christ on the banks of the Jordan during the first days of Our Lord’s ministry. He was one of the privileged few present at the Transfiguration (with Peter and James) and the Agony in the garden.

At the Last Supper his head rested on the bosom of Jesus, and in the hours of the Passion, when others fled or denied their Master, St. John kept his place by the side of Jesus, and at the last stood by the cross with Mary. From the cross the dying Saviour bequeathed his Mother to the care of the faithful apostle, who “from that hour took her to his own;” thus fitly, as St. Austin says, “to a virgin was the Virgin intrusted.”

After the Ascension, St. John lived first at Jerusalem, and then at Ephesus. He was thrown by Domitian into a caldron of boiling oil, and is thus reckoned a martyr, though miraculously preserved from hurt.

Afterwards he was banished to the isle of Patmos, where he received the heavenly visions described in tine Apocalypse. He is the author of the Fourth Gospel, the Apocalypse, and three Epistles.

He died at a great age, in peace, at Ephesus, about the year 100.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]

St John the Evangelist
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were nicknamed by Jesus “the sons of thunder.” John is involved in many of the central events of Jesus’ life, including the Transfiguration, the Crucifixion, and the discovery of the Resurrection. He is “the disciple whom Jesus loved” and the one to whom he confided the care of his mother Mary.
He is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles; later he was exiled to the island of Patmos. He is said to have died at Ephesus.
He wrote a Gospel, three Epistles, and the Apocalypse. See the article in the Catholic Encyclopaedia.
You will see these texts in a more readable format and with a better layout (especially for verse) if you use the free Catholic Calendar app from Universalis.

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The official Grail translation of the Psalms.
The readings at Mass are in both the Jerusalem Bible/Grail and the NAB translations.
The “Mass Today” page contains the exact liturgy for today all in one place, both the Order of Mass and the prayers, antiphons and readings.
A perpetual liturgical calendar covering all years.
Local liturgical calendars for over 20 countries and dioceses.
A choice of views: either scrolling like a web page or page-turning like an e-book.
Access to all texts for all dates, past, present and future.
Complete independence from the Internet. Everything is stored within the application itself.
AppStore link

Universalis costs £9.99 / $13.99 / €12.99 from the App Store.

Alternatively you can pay nothing to start with and then subscribe for £0.69 / $0.99 / €0.89 per month. To do this, get the free Catholic Calendar app and press the “Try or buy” button in the calendar.

Readings 20141226

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2014, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net

What is the connection between Bethlehem and Calvary – the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ and his passion and death on a cross? The very reason the Son of God took on flesh and became a man for our sake was to redeem us from slavery to sin and death and to give us new life as the adopted children of God. The way to glory in the kingdom of God is through the cross. If we want to share in Jesus’ glory, then we, too, must take up our cross each day and follow in his footsteps.
Jesus never hesitated to tell his disciples what they might expect if they followed him. Here Jesus says to his disciples: This is my task for you at its grimmest and worst; do you accept it? This is not the world’s way of offering a job. After the defeat at Dunkirk during World War II, Churchill offered his country “blood, toil, sweat, and tears.” Suffering for the name of Christ is not the message we prefer to hear when the Lord commissions us in his service. Nonetheless, our privilege is to follow in the footsteps of the Master who laid down his life for us. The Lord gives us sufficient grace to follow him and to bear our cross with courage and hope. Do you know the joy and victory of the cross of Jesus Christ?

“Lord Jesus, your coming in the flesh to ransom us from slavery to sin gives us cause for great rejoicing even in the midst of trials and pain. Help me to patiently and joyfully accept the hardships, adversities, and persecution which come my way in serving you. Strengthen my faith and give me courage that I may not shrink back from doing your will”.

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2014. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com
WITNESS STAND

“You will be brought to trial before rulers and kings, to give witness before them.” —Matthew 10:18
Christmas is a special opportunity to witness for Jesus. Because St. Stephen was the first witness to give up His life for Jesus the faithful Witness (Rv 1:5), it is appropriate that he is the first of the Christmas saints. Witnessing is not just saying good things about Jesus. Witnessing is communicating a personal experience of Jesus. St. Stephen was a witness not just because he spoke about Jesus, but because he saw Jesus at the Father’s right hand and proclaimed this to the crowd (see Acts 7:56). Witnesses for Jesus share not just what they have received from other human beings in conversation or instruction. Rather, their witness is based on their personal experience of revelation from Christ (Gal 1:12).

Moreover, witnessing is not just communicating a personal experience of Jesus. Witnessing is in the context of a trial. This may not be a legal trial but any situation where people have decided to cross-examine Jesus again and to pronounce judgment on His followers. These courts are set up at work, in politics, social events, entertainment, mass media, and even church. When we proclaim our personal experience of Jesus in a legal court or in a “kangaroo court,” we are witnesses for Jesus in the true sense of the word. Then the Holy Spirit will put words in our mouths (Mt 10:20). We will be persecuted and possibly even martyred. Then Sauls will become Pauls, and Christmas will be truly the celebration of Jesus’ birth.

Prayer: Father, may my simple, persistent witness shake the social fabric in which I’m involved. Promise: “As Stephen was being stoned he could be heard praying, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ ” —Acts 7:59 Praise: St. Stephen witnessed to a young unbeliever about the lordship of Jesus, the resurrection, and forgiveness of enemies (see Acts 7:56, 59, 60). This unbeliever, Saul, was eventually converted and personally led many thousands of people to Jesus.
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2014 through January 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 30, 2014.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

Saint of the day 20141226

26 December

SAINT STEPHEN
The first martyr
Feast

Saint Stephen is one of the first deacons chosen by the early church in Acts of the Apostles.
Upon the death of Jesus, Stephen began to work hard to spread what was then called The Way. He preached the teachings of Jesus and participated in the conversion of Jews and Gentiles. Acts tells the story of how Stephen was tried by the Sanhedrin for blasphemy and was then stoned to death by an infuriated mob encouraged by Saul of Tarsus, the future Saint Paul. He died praying for those who killed him : “Lord, do not hold this sin against them”.

Saint Stephen’s name is simply derived from the Greek Stephanos, meaning “crown”, which translated into Aramaic as Kelil. Saint Stephen is traditionally invested with a crown of martyrdom for Christianity and is often depicted in art with three stones and the martyrs’ palm. In Eastern Christian iconography he is shown as a young beardless man with a tonsure, wearing deacon’s vestments, and often holding a miniature church building and censer.

*****************

Lord,
today we celebrate the entrance of Saint Stephen
into eternal glory.
He died praying for those who killed him.
Help us to imitate his goodness
and love our ennemies.

St Stephen, the first Martyr
Stephen is the first martyr. He was one of the deacons appointed by the Apostles to organize the distribution of food to the poor. He performed many miracles and confounded the Jews in disputation. They fabricated false charges against him. At his trial he preached the risen Christ to them, so they stoned him to death. He prayed for his persecutors as he was dying. One of them, Saul of Tarsus, who was looking after the cloaks of the stone-throwers, was later converted and became the great missionary St Paul.
See the articles in the Catholic Encyclopaedia and Wikipedia.
You will see these texts in a more readable format and with a better layout (especially for verse) if you use the free Catholic Calendar app from Universalis.

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Catholic Calendar is free.

You may also be interested in the full Universalis app.

The official Grail translation of the Psalms.
The readings at Mass are in both the Jerusalem Bible/Grail and the NAB translations.
The “Mass Today” page contains the exact liturgy for today all in one place, both the Order of Mass and the prayers, antiphons and readings.
A perpetual liturgical calendar covering all years.
Local liturgical calendars for over 20 countries and dioceses.
A choice of views: either scrolling like a web page or page-turning like an e-book.
Access to all texts for all dates, past, present and future.
Complete independence from the Internet. Everything is stored within the application itself.
AppStore link

Universalis costs £9.99 / $13.99 / €12.99 from the App Store.

Alternatively you can pay nothing to start with and then subscribe for £0.69 / $0.99 / €0.89 per month. To do this, get the free Catholic Calendar app and press the “Try or buy” button in the calendar.

Readings 20141225

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2014, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net

Have you read the news today – the “good news” of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and son of Mary who was born for us and for our salvation. The word gospel literally means good news! Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem fulfilled the prophecy that the Messiah would descend from David and be born in David’s city, Bethlehem (Isaiah 9:6-7, 11:1-2; Micah 5:2-4).
The first to hear the good news of the savior’s birth were not the rulers and religious leaders of Israel who were robed in riches and power. The angels first came to those who were humble and ready to receive the newborn king who was born in poverty and was now lying in a manger made for animals. Just as God had chosen and anointed David, a lowly shepherd of Bethlehem to become the shepherd king of Israel, so Jesus, likewise chose the path of humility and lowliness in coming to Israel as the good shepherd king who would lay down his life for their sake and salvation. After the angels had sung their hymn of glory in the presence of the shepherds, the shepherds made haste to adore the newborn king and sing their hymn of glory as well.

Many of the early church fathers have written hymns and homilies in praise of the Incarnation. John the Monk, an 8th century writer, in his Hymn of the Nativity, sings of the great exchange in the mystery and wonder of the Incarnation – God becoming man in order to bring man to heaven:

Heaven and earth are united today, for Christ is born! Today God has come upon earth, and humankind gone up to heaven. Today, for the sake of humankind, the invisible one is seen in the flesh. Therefore let us glorify him and cry aloud: glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace bestowed by your coming, Savior: glory to you! Today in Bethlehem, I hear the angels: glory to God in the highest! Glory to him whose good pleasure it was that there be peace on earth! The Virgin is now more spacious than the heavens. Light has shone on those in darkness, exalting the lowly who sing like the angels: Glory to God in the highest! Beholding him [Adam] who was in God’s image and likeness fallen through transgression, Jesus bowed the heavens and came down, without change taking up his dwelling in a virgin womb, that he might refashion Adam fallen in corruption, and crying out: glory to your epiphany, my Savior and my God! [Stichera (hymn) of the Nativity of the Lord]
Why was it necessary for the Word of God to become flesh? We needed a savior who could reconcile us with God. Throughout the ages Christians have professed the ancient Nicene Creed: “He became man for our sake and for the sake of our salvation.” The eternal Word became flesh for us so he could offer his life as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world through the shedding of his blood on the cross. The Word became flesh to show us the infinite love and tender mercy of God for us sinners.

In the feast of Christmas we celebrate present realities – Jesus Christ our redeemer who reigns in heaven and who also lives and reigns in our hearts through the gift and working of the Holy Spirit. And we commemorate past events – the birth of the newborn Messiah King and his manifestation to Israel and to the gentile nations. We thank and bless God for the way in which he has saved us from the power of sin and the curse of death and destruction by sending his son to ransom us and give us pardon and abundant life through the gift and working of the Holy Spirit. Today we celebrate the birthday of our King and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
God wants to fill our hearts anew with joy and gratitude for the greatest gift he could possibly give us – his beloved Son Jesus. What can we give thanks for in this great feast of the Incarnation? We can praise and thank God our Father for the fact that the Son of God freely and joyfully assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it. Jesus came to release the captives from slavery to sin and to open the gates of paradise once again. This day the Holy Spirit invites us to make haste – as the shepherds of Bethlehem did – to adore Jesus our King and Messiah. The Lord Jesus Christ is our eternal good shepherd who guides and cares for us unceasingly and who gives us abundant everlasting life and union with the triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
This day the whole community of heaven joins with all believers of good will on earth in a jubilant song of praise for the good news proclaimed by the angels on Christmas eve: Behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people, for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:10-11).

The joy of Christmas is not for a day or a season. It is an eternal joy, a joy that no one can take from us because it is the joy of Jesus Christ himself made present in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who dwells within us (see Romans 5:2-5). The Lord gives us a supernatural joy which no pain nor sorrow can diminish, and which neither life nor death can take away. Do you know the joy of your salvation in Jesus Christ?

“Lord our God, with the birth of your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, your glory breaks on the world. As we celebrate his first coming, give us a foretaste of the joy that you will grant us when the fulness of his glory has filled the earth.”

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2014. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com
LOVE-CHRISTMAS

“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” —John 1:14
At Christmas, we do not celebrate primarily that God became a human being but that God, a human Being, was born. At His birth, Jesus moved from the womb of Mary to the outside world. This made it possible for people to relate to Him in a personal way. Jesus was then able to be held, kissed, touched, seen, and heard. He was also able to be hit, hurt, rejected, and crucified. The change from being in the womb to living in the outside world is dangerous. That’s why we celebrate a birth. A dangerous transition has been made without any serious problems, although the danger of living in a fallen world still remains.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, we can still relate to Jesus in a personal way. We can be like Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men, Simeon, and Anna. We can lavish our love on Jesus — person to Person. However, we can also be like Herod by rejecting Jesus and refusing to make any room for Him in our lives and hearts (see Lk 2:7). Christmas reminds us that Jesus remains available to us on a person to Person basis.

On this first day of the Christmas season, obey the first commandment of all. Love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength (Lk 10:27).

Prayer: Jesus, on this Christmas Day, I decide to love You completely, unconditionally, and forever by Your grace. Promise: “Of His fullness we have all had a share — love following upon love.” —Jn 1:16 Praise: “Glory to God in high heaven, peace on earth to those on whom His favor rests” (Lk 2:14). (For a related teaching, order our tape on Developing A Deep Personal Relationship with Jesus on audio AV 52-1 or video V-52.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2014 through January 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 30, 2014.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements