What was it like to live with Jesus as he “grew in size and strength, filled with wisdom and grace?” We don’t know much about how the Holy Family lived, and yet the Church encourages us to live as they did. It would be easy to say, “I’m not able to be Jesus, or Mary, or Joseph.” The truth is: we are able to be like Jesus. We are baptized and we share the life of Jesus by grace. If we remember each day who we are by our baptism and ask God for the grace we need for the day and accept it, then we can live like the Holy Family.
We have just heard the most important message we can ever hear. In the familiar story of the birth of Jesus, our God is telling us how much he loves us. It’s easy to get caught up in the scene we heard Luke paint for us. We wonder: God’s own Son has chosen to come among us as a tiny infant. We see his Mother binding him up in swaddling clothes and putting him in an animal-feeding trough.
Isn't it sad that Ahaz refused to accept Isaiah’s invitation to ask God for a sign that he would fulfill his promise to save Jerusalem from an advancing enemy. But a fearful leader will not thwart God’s love for his people. Isaiah gives Ahaz a sign anyway: "The virgin will bear a son and name him Emmanuel."
We have just heard Jesus tell John that he is the One whom God is sending to save his people. The evidence can be seen in the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy: the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, the mute speak.
We have just heard Isaiah announce to us that God will raise up a Messiah from the remnants of Jesse’s clan.
God's great plan is to bring all creation to unity and perfection in His love. Advent is a time for us to get in touch with the history of His plan so that we can celebrate the coming of God among us in Jesus and renew ourselves as we work to bring God's plan to completion.
Kingship is off-putting in our democratic culture. And, authority has so often become such a soiled garment in our times that the idea of ultimate authority can seem strange. We need to interpret what this feast of Christ the king means.
About forty years after Jesus’ death and resurrection, a cataclysmic event occurred. The Roman Empire’s leaders became fed up with the Jews:
Questions played an important role in Jewish theological, religious, political and cultural life. The so-called “Rabbinical method” presumed that the best way to come to know the truth was to learn to raise the right questions.
Today’s reading from the Book of Wisdom is a profound poem that invites us to meditate on the nature of our God.
Today’s Gospel parable reminds us that we are justified only by the grace of God. God’s gift of grace can take root in us only when we have the humility to acknowledge our need because of our sins.
You and I are the Church because of our baptism.
Lepers were outcasts of society because of their disease. These ten must have heard about Jesus because they risk approaching him asking for a cure. Jesus tells them to go and show themselves to the priests so they could be certified as healthy. Then they could return to their families and friends. We’re told that on the way they were cured.
Today’s Scripture readings ask us to look a little deeper into our faith. We just heard the disciples ask Jesus to increase their faith. He tells them that even a little faith has great power, because faith is ultimately a gift of God.