Sunday, December 4, 2016

Reflection for the 2nd Week in Advent, Part 1

Monday – Through the Roof

No obstacle would hold them back. Not crowds. Not even a building. These men were so sure that Jesus could help their paralyzed friend that they were willing to go to any lengths to make that happened. Even if it meant going through the roof.

The men climbed up on the roof of the house where Jesus was, lifted up their friend's stretcher, removed the roof tiles, and lowered the paralyzed man right down in front of Jesus.

Now that's love. That's dedication. That's creativity.

And it worked! The paralyzed man walked out of the house under his own power and, even more importantly, spiritually clean with all his sins forgiven. He had met Jesus, experienced His healing love, and came away a new person.

There's a lesson for us here. We need to do everything in our power to place our loved ones before Jesus. Prayer is key, of course. We must persevere in lifting up our friends and relatives in prayer. No matter how hopeless situations may seem, we can trust that our Lord always hears and answers our prayers, even if He doesn't always do so in quite the way we want.

Further, we must do our best to lead our loved ones to Jesus through our words and our example. We must speak the truth (even when people don't want to hear it) and live what we believe. Then our Lord will shine His light through us that it may fall on everyone around us.

The friends of the paralyzed man must have been thrilled to witness the healing that their efforts helped bring about. We can experience similar joy if we, too, refuse to give up on carrying our loved ones to Jesus no matter what obstacles seem to stand in our way.

Tuesday – Prepare

“A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!” Fill in the valleys, the voice continues; bring down the mountains and the hills. Make everything smooth and level. Get ready, for God is coming.

This is the critical message of Advent. We are to prepare our lives for our Lord's coming, at Christmas certainly but also in the Holy Eucharist and finally on that day when death carries us into His presence and we stand face to face with Him.

We are called to get rid of anything that could stand in the way of God's arrival. The crooked paths of sin and vice have to be replaced with the straight road of virtue. The valleys of fear must be filled in with trust and courage. The mountains and hills of pride and selfishness have to be cut down to size by humility and repentance. Our hearts and minds and souls should be smooth and level in faith and hope and love.

Our God is coming! Let us run to meet Him with hearts prepared and arms outstretched.

Wednesday – Bless the Lord

“Bless the Lord, O my soul.”

I bless You, Lord, for the love with which You surround me always.
I bless You, Lord, for answering all my prayers in the best possible way.
I bless You, Lord, for filling my heart with hope even in the darkest hours.

“Bless the Lord, O my soul.”

I bless You, Lord, for the depth and richness of Your Word in Sacred Scripture.
I bless You, Lord, for the beauty and wonder of Sacred Tradition.
I bless You, Lord, for the guidance and teaching of the Church's Magisterium.

“Bless the Lord, O my soul.”

I bless You, Lord, for Your perfect plan of salvation.
I bless You, Lord, for the covenants through which You make us Your family.
I bless You, Lord, for coming among us to die for our sins and open the way to Heaven.

“Bless the Lord, O my soul.”

I bless You, Lord, for the sacraments that fill us with Your grace.
I bless You, Lord, for the saints who show us the way home.
I bless You, Lord, for all Your marvelous gifts of love.

“Bless the Lord, O my soul.”


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