Monday, December 27, 2010

The One Jesus Loves

Feast of Saint John the Apostle

Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and he believed.

Interestingly, two days after Christmas the Church has us shift our focus from the birth of Jesus to His death and resurrection.  The shadow of the cross is cast over Jesus right from His birth. His beautiful life was the price He came to pay.  But it didn't stop there; the linen cloths were lying on the ground, the tomb was empty...

Today's Gospel focuses on Saint John the Apostle.  Imagine being recorded in Holy Scripture as "the other disciple, the one Jesus loved." And yet this is my name, I am the one Jesus loves. This has always been the case and always will be.  I am the one Jesus loves.  How do I know this?  The Cross shouts it to the world.  Knowing I am unconditionally, eternally, unreservedly loved by Jesus makes all the difference in the world.  No matter what the world throws against me today I can stand up and lift my head.  I am infinitely lovable and infinitely loved.

Thank you for saving me, what can I say?
You are my everything, I will sing your praise.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hail Mary, Full of Grace

"Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled."

Today's Gospel continues the Church's focus on Mary in this fourth week of Advent.  Mary arrives at Elizabeth's and Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit and in rapture makes her beautiful prophesy over Mary. It's on Elizabeth's prophesy that the Rosary is based: 
"Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb." Lk.1:42

We Catholics make a big deal about Mary, not for her sake but because of her closeness to Jesus.  She is the Mother of God.  She didn't preempt God by existing before Him.  She gave birth to Jesus, who was God. She is totally worthy of our honor; totally worthy of my honor.

Today I honor Mary, who by her "believing that what was spoken to (her) by the Lord would be fulfilled." Lk.1:45 brought my Lord and Savior Jesus to me.

Hail Mary, full of grace.  The Lord is with thee.  Blessed are though among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.

Little Flower, please pray for me.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Remnant

But I will leave as a remnant in your midst a people humble and lowly, Who shall take refuge in the name of the LORD; the remnant of Israel. They shall do no wrong and speak no lies; Nor shall there be found in their mouths a deceitful tongue; They shall pasture and couch their flocks with none to disturb them.
Zephaniah 3:12,13

 Zephania's prophesy in today's first reading could be describing modern-day New Zealand: "Woe to the city, rebellious and polluted... She hears no voice, accepts no correction; In the LORD she has not trusted," The Godless lead our nation and so Godless laws are passed and enacted.  The Church is sidelined as a curious freak show with nothing relevant to say. But, there is the remnant...

I attended morning Mass at Saint Mary of the Angels in Wellington last week.  There were the faithful remnant.   The devotion of the small group of Mass attenders was moving.  I was reminded this is repeated up and down the country at weekday Masses, the faithful remnant worshiping and praying.  It's the remnant who carry the promises of God on to the next generation.  All is not lost.

Today I live as one of the remnant, going against flow full of joy and hope.

Lord Jesus, have mercy on our nation.  Let Your hand of protection rest over Your faithful remnant.  Let none disturb them.
Little Flower, please pray for us.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Turn Your Heart

Elijah! Has anyone reason to boast as you have? Taken up in the whirlwind of fire, in a chariot with fiery horses; designated in the prophecies of doom to allay God’s wrath before the fury breaks, to turn the hearts of fathers towards their children, and to restore the tribes of Jacob.
Sirach 48:4-10

The book of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) shows veneration to the great figures of the Old Testament, including Elijah.  He is identified as the one whose intercession allayed God's wrath and restored the chosen people.  The restoration is portrayed in that beautiful expression; "turn the hearts of fathers towards their children".  Imagine how families would be restored if every father turned his heart off himself and on to his children. 

Jesus, in today's Gospel tells that Elijah has returned as prophesied, as John the Baptist.  John the Baptist's clarion call was simple; repent and turn back to God.  This is the call that will "turn the hearts of fathers towards their children, and to restore the tribes of Jacob".   This is my call today, half way through Advent.

Lord Jesus, today I confess my brokenness and turn back to You. You are my way, my truth, my life.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Small is Great is never the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.

Jesus has just made His great cry in defense of children; "whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me." Mt.18:5.  In this He includes all the weak and lowly and indeed identifies this as the preferred attitude of all who wish to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  In today's Gospel Jesus underscores this by telling the parable of the lost sheep, stressing it is never God's will that a child of His should be lost.

Once again, I am hearing the "Law of Upside Down": The last shall be first, the lowly will be lifted up.  Humility is my preferred place to be today.  When I am a "little one" I shall never be lost.

Lord Jesus, You on a cross is the greatest act of humility the world has ever seen, yet from that lowest of places You were lifted up into glory.  I dare to ask You to help me learn to be humble, only because I know Your great love for me will never leave me lost.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Stronghold of my Life

The LORD is my light and my salvation -whom shall I fear?  The LORD is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid?
Ps. 27:1

In today's first reading the prophet Isaiah foretells of the day when Jesus will walk the land causing the deaf to hear and the blind to see.  The Gospel of Matthew records one of the may instances where Jesus does this; healing the two blind men.  Psalm 27 is a beautiful response to this truth about our God who is Emmanuel, God with us.

There is something more that comforting about knowing Jesus as Emmanuel.  There is a power and strength in this knowledge.  No matter where, what or how I mind my self, Jesus is with me.  With my God for me, who can be against me?  I walk into today with confidence - of whom shall I be afraid?

Lord Jesus.  Thank you that You are with me today; my Emmanuel. You are the stronghold of my lilfe - today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.