Monday, December 30, 2013


God’s Joy Came Into The World

    "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"  Luke 2:14 (NKJV)

    “The Christ comes to bring peace and goodwill toward men, for He is the incarnate love of God, reconciling humanity to God and people to each other.”  Wallerstedt


I heard the bells on Christmas day

Their old familiar carols play,

And wild and sweet the words repeat

Of peace on earth, good will to men.


I thought how, as the day had come,

The belfries of all Christendom

Had rolled along th'unbroken song

Of peace on earth, good will to men.


And in despair I bowed my head:

'There is no peace on earth, ' I said

'For hate is strong, and mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good will to men.'


Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

'God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,

With peace on earth, good will to men.'


Till, ringing, singing on its way,

The world revolved from night to day

A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,

Of peace on earth, good will to men.


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


    Take up the song of the angels who appeared to the shepherds in Bethlehem on the night when Jesus was born. It is a song which unites heaven and earth, giving praise and glory to heaven, and the promise of peace to earth and all its people.  It is a song for every man or woman who keeps watch through the night, who hopes for a better world, who cares for others while humbly seeking to do his or her duty.

Glory to God!

    Jesus was born in Bethlehem.  Above all else, this is what the birth of the Son of God bids us to do.  Give glory to God, for He is good, He is faithful, He is merciful.  Hope that everyone will come to know the true face of God, the Father who has given us Jesus.  Hope that everyone will feel God’s closeness, live in His presence, love Him and adore Him.  May each of us give glory to God above all by our lives, by lives spent for love of Him and of all our brothers and sisters.

Peace to mankind

    Dear brothers and sisters, today, in this world, in this humanity, is born the Savior, who is Christ the Lord. True peace - we know this well - is not a balance of opposing forces. It is not sweeping conflicts and divisions under the rug. Peace calls for daily commitment, but making peace is an art, starting from God’s gift, from the grace which He has given us in Jesus Christ.

    “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33 (NLT)

    “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”  James 1:2-4 (NLT)

    Look at the Child in the manger! The Child of peace.  Our thoughts turn to those children who are the most vulnerable victims of wars, but we think too of the elderly, to battered women, to the sick… Wars shatter and hurt so many lives!

Christ lived compassion.

    “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
Matt 9:36 (NLT)

    Let us pause before the Child of Bethlehem. Let us allow our hearts to be touched, and let us not fear this. Let us not fear that our hearts be moved. We need this! Let us allow ourselves to be warmed by the tenderness of God. God’s caresses do not harm us. They give us peace and strength. We need His caresses. God is full of love: to Him be praise and glory forever! God is peace: let us ask Him to help us to be peacemakers each day, in our life, in our families, in our cities and nations, in the whole world. Let us allow ourselves to be moved by God’s goodness.

    “And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you.  For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”  As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father?”
Hebrews 12:5-7 (NLT)

                “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” Romans 2:4 (NLT)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mystery Of Death

Faith sheds light on mystery of death

Christian faith sheds light on the mystery of death and brings us the hope of Resurrection.

Paul says: "To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope's sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews. Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?" Acts 26:7-8 "For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death." 1 Cor 15:25-26

"But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone." Heb 2:9-18

"At least four reasons why the Son of God became human are implied in this passage. First, it was only right: It is consistent with what we know of God's character that he would accomplish salvation in this way (2:10). Second, Jesus had to become human to die (2:14). Third, high priests, as detailed in the OT law, had to come from among God's people (2:17). Fourth, Jesus became a sympathetic priest, experiencing the suffering and testing we know as humans (2:18)." —NLT Study Bible

Without belief in God and a vision of life as something greater than earthly existence, death can seem like a tragedy that we misunderstand, fear and deny. Without faith death can seem scandalous, especially when children suffer and die. But as we know when we lose a close friend or family member, our human hearts rebel against this false vision and we yearn for the infinite, the eternal, the knowledge that life does not end with death.

This yearning for life finds its answer in the Resurrection of Christ, which offers both the certainty of eternal life and shows us the true meaning of death. Furthermore, those who show mercy to others need never fear death, but instead prepare themselves for death through prayer, the Sacraments and the practice of charity

If we remain close to God in our lives, especially in solidarity with the poor and vulnerable we need not fear death but rather welcome it as the door to heaven and to the joy of eternal life.

"Absent from the body and present with the Lord."

Job asks: "If a man die, shall he live again?"

"But when people die, their strength is gone. They breathe their last, and then where are they? As water evaporates from a lake and a river disappears in drought, people are laid to rest and do not rise again. Until the heavens are no more, they will not wake up nor be roused from their sleep. I wish you would hide me in the grave and forget me there until your anger has passed. But mark your calendar to think of me again! Can the dead live again? If so, this would give me hope through all my years of struggle, and I would eagerly await the release of death. You would call and I would answer, and you would yearn for me, your handiwork. For then you would guard my steps, instead of watching for my sins. My sins would be sealed in a pouch, and you would cover my guilt. Job 14:10-17 (NLT)

We will all be transformed!

"What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever. But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: "Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" 1 Cor 15:50-55 (NLT)

"For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth--those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation." John 5:26-29

Monday, December 2, 2013

Trust the Lord

Trust the Lord even in extreme situations

Solomon said: "Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses." 1 Kings 8:56

1. The OT shows us faith in action.

"How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets.33 By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions,34 quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.35 Women received their loved ones back again from death. But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection.36 Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons.37 Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated.38 They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. 39 All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised.40 For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us." Heb 11:32-40 (NLT)

The Lord is everything, and they trusted in the Lord. They didn’t do so because of some radical force, but because they knew that the Lord is faithful. They trusted in that faith which is always there because the Lord cannot be unfaithful, cannot deny Himself.

2. Christians are called to trust in the Lord, even in the most extreme situations.

Choosing to be faithful to the Lord is equally important in the little things, and in the most difficult situations. The men, women, old and young people who every day choose to be faithful to the Lord, who live as martyrs, are an example to us. When we read in the newspapers about Christians who are persecuted in our own times we must take their lives as an encouragement to offer the Church everything we have, our whole livelihood.

In the Book of Daniel, the young Jewish men living as slaves of King Nebuchadnezzar remain faithful to the Lord, even at risk of their own lives.

In the Gospel of Luke, the destitute widow who puts two small coins into the offering box is praised by Jesus, who says: "Those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood."

But let us also think about the many mothers and fathers who make small choices of faith every day, with their families and with their children. Let us ask the Lord for the grace of courage, the courage to go on with our Christian lives, in everyday life and in the most extreme situations.

3. God Himself has acted.

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith." Romans 1:16-17

a) "The Son of God, by becoming flesh, summoned us to the revolution of tenderness".

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14

b) "Our infinite sadness can only be cured by an infinite love".

"For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him." John 1:17-18

c) "We achieve fulfillment when we break down walls and our heart is filled with faces and names!"

"And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'" Matt 25:40

"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13