How focused are you on being a Holy Family

If someone would ask you to describe the model Christian family, how would you start, what would you  focus on?

– How many children?
– How they dress or the car they drive?
– The about of money or time that they donate to the Church?

It is easy to put a show on for a few hours each Sunday, what do they look like the rest of the week; do they put God as their focus in everything they do?

We have a perfect example of the model Christian family in Mary and Joseph; spend time reflecting on how much your live is align with their values and standards.

What changes do we need to make?

flight- holy family

Today’s Gospel – Luke 2:22-40

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
They took him up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
He took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in sight of all the peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
—and you yourself a sword will pierce—
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
There was also a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee,
to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.

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What message do you give?

December 27th 2014 Feast of Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist

Today is the feast day of Saint John the Apostle who went with Peter to the tomb of the Risen Christ; in the last three days we went from Christ being born into the world as a gift to the world, to St. Stephen giving up his life in this world as he proclaimed the Gospel and now to St. John seeing the Gospel being fulfilled and giving his testimony to the world.
Why do we progress so quickly … to give us Hope.
St. John was one of Christ’s original twelve apostles and is thought to be the only one to live into old age and not be killed for his faith. He preach the message of Christ and was blessed with living to an old age.
Do you preach the message of Christ?
Today’s Readings
1 JN 1:1-4
Beloved, what was from the beginning, what we have heard,
what we have seen with our eyes,
what we looked upon
and touched with our hands
concerns the Word of life —
for the life was made visible;
we have seen it and testify to it
and proclaim to you the eternal life
that was with the Father and was made visible to us—
what we have seen and heard
we proclaim now to you,
so that you too may have fellowship with us;
for our fellowship is with the Father
and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
We are writing this so that our joy may be complete.

Gospel JN 20:1A AND 2-8

On the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we do not know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.

Are you Worthy of Stoning?

Despite its name, Boxing Day, which is celebrated on December 26 has nothing to do with the sport of Boxing or it a day for people to return unwanted Christmas presents. While the exact origins of the holiday are obscure, it is likely that Boxing Day began in England during the middle ages.

Some historians say the holiday developed because servants were required to work on Christmas Day, but took the following day off. As servants prepared to leave to visit their families, their employers would present them with gift boxes.

Another theory is that the boxes placed in churches where parishioners deposited coins for the poor were opened and the contents distributed on December 26, which is also the Feast of St. Stephen.

As time went by, Boxing Day gift giving expanded to include those who had rendered a service during the previous year. This tradition survives today as people give presents to tradesmen, mail carriers, doormen, porters, and others who have helped them.

The Feast of St. Stephen also takes place on December 26. St. Stephen was one of the seven original deacons of the Christian Church who were ordained by the Apostles to care for widows and the poor. For the success of his preaching and his devotion to Christ, St. Stephen was stoned to death by a mob. As he died, he begged God not to punish his killers.Garzi_(attr)_Stoning_of_Saint_Stephen

So here is the challenge …. we should continue the tradition of St Stephen and celebrate our evangelizing and devotion to Christ on December 26th.

Use this day to look back on our efforts in the past year to reflect on them to see if they are “worthy” of stoning.

Did you play it safe or did you go to the point of being uncomfortable?

What action did you take this year that would bring Christ’s light into the darkness?

Prayer to St. Stephen the Protomartyr

O Great St. Stephen, the scriptures tell us that your face was like an angel’s as you witnessed to the truth of Christ.

Please ask the Most Holy Trinity to fill my soul and the souls of all my brothers and sisters throughout the world with a deep hunger for the truth that comes from the Heart of Jesus, and also with the loving courage to embrace and profess the truth even amid difficulties, confusion, and persecution. 

May the serenity and peace which were yours at the hour of your stoning be ours as well as we wait in hope for the coming of the Lord Jesus who lives and reigns forever and ever.

Amen.

The best gift ever given….

What is the point of celebrating Christmas each year?

Office parties, gift exchanges, baking, decorating why do we go through this every year.

The focus always appears to be more about the festivities than the true meaning of Christmas.

We all know the saying that it is better to give than to receive. It is that message that has skewed the true meaning of Christmas.

The message needs to be to receive the gift of Christ that God has given us.

We need to use the Advent season to prepare a home for Christ in our hearts so the we can receive God’s greatest gift and then need to go out and give that same gift that is in our hearts to others.

We need to use Christmas as a way to recharge ourselves so that we can spread the Light of Christ throughout the year.

The Gospel message that was read on Christmas day this year tells us to accept and testify that Christ is the light for the world.

Christmas John 316

Gospel JN 1:1-18

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.
What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,and the darkness has not overcome it.
A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light, but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world,and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God.
And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.
John testified to him and cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said,
‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’”
From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.

Search Me, O God! An Examination of Conscience for Advent

MAN IN PRAYER

Have you ever noticed how good we can be at noticing other people’s weaknesses, while still having a blind spot for our own? Fortunately, God is familiar with this tendency.

He knows that we often need an outside perspec­tive to help us see ourselves clearly. That’s why he created us to live as a community and not as individuals. It’s also why he has given us guide­lines like the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount. They can help give us a glimpse into how we’re doing and what we may need to change. It’s also why there are so many prophets in the Scriptures. God called them to point out the peo­ple’s sins in the hope that they would repent and come back to him.

Even now, during this season of Advent, God is patiently calling out to us. He is gently probing our hearts and urging us to turn away from the sins that block our relationship with him.

How does God want you to respond to his call this Advent? You don’t need a personal prophet to help you prepare: You have the Holy Spirit, who knows your heart far more inti­mately than any spouse or advisor ever could.

So as you prepare for Confession this Advent, seek the Spirit’s perspec­tive. Don’t be afraid: He will offer the perfect balance of encouragement and correction. What’s more, as soon as you repent, he will remove the bur­den of your sins and fill you with a new freedom and joy.

“LORD, you have probed me, you know me.” (Psalm 139:1)

Open your heart to God. Allow him to search your thoughts with you. Are there times when you doubt his goodness and mercy? Struggle with your faith? Think that maybe the Lord can forgive others, but not you? Let him help you to believe more fully.

“Have no anxiety at all.” (Philippians 4:6)

Often we are anxious because we want to be in complete control and we don’t trust God’s plan for us. Are there areas of your life that you are reluctant to give to God? Do you believe that he loves you and wants only good for you? When difficulties arise, do you let worry consume you? Are you ready to release your anxi­ety, present your needs to God, and try to thank him in every circum­stance (1 Thessalonians 5:18)? It’s the only way to receive “the peace of God that surpasses all understand­ing” (Philippians 4:7).

“See … that no bitter root spring up and cause trouble.” (Hebrews 12:15)

What about your relationships? Do you honor and respect the people around you? Do you have a short temper? Do you hold onto resentment? Are you harboring bitter­ness or unforgiveness? Take it to the Lord, and let the Spirit fill you with compassion.

“From the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45)

Words are the overflow of our thoughts. Have you failed to speak with love and kindness? Do you indulge in persistent sarcasm? Do you use bad language when you don’t get your way? Do you criticize more than you uplift? Ask the Lord to change your heart and help you catch these words before they come out of your mouth.

“I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want.” (Romans 7:19)

Where do you most often find yourself falling short of the good you really want to do? Have you skipped Sunday Mass or neglected prayer? Have you neglected or cheated anyone? Are you using your resources as God wants? Have you given in to addictions or bad habits?

Nothing is beyond God’s grace and mercy. This season, go to Reconciliation with a humble, surren­dered heart. When you leave, hold on to the mercy that Jesus poured out. Remind yourself again and again: “I am forgiven, I am renewed, I am ready for Jesus to come.”

This post was taken from The Word Among Us