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December 15, 2017 – Friday of the Second Week of Advent

Jesus’ Testimony to John Matthew 11:16-19 John was rejected for his austerity and Jesus for his generous and inclusive ways. Jesus compares “this generation” to fickle and pouty children. In the end divine Wisdom will uphold the mission of both John and Jesus despite their rejection. Prayer: What will it take for this generation to listen to you? I want to rail against them but hear you say, “patience, perseverance, and prayer.”

December 14, 2017 – Memorial of Saint John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor of the Church

Jesus’ Testimony to John Matthew 11:11-15 Jesus gives a stern warning to those who reject John the Baptist. John is the fulfillment of the prophets of old and the one who prepares the way for the greatest prophet. Opposition to the preaching of John and of Jesus is opposition to the kingdom of God. Prayer: Sadly, things have not changed. There are and will always be those who reject you, Lord, and reject those who believe in you. I want to be, like John, one who never gives up leading people to you and to the kingdom.

December 13, 2017 – Memorial of Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr

The Gentle Mastery of Christ Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus invites the people to be his disciples. He offers comfort and consolation. His mission, the fulfillment of God’s law, is not burdensome. He will accompany them on their journey, providing rest in the love and mercy of the Father. Prayer: Lord, when I find burdensome the work you call me to, it is because I have lost sight of the meaning, lost sight of you. Saint Lucy, pray for me, that I focus only on the light of Christ.

December 12, 2017 – Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Announcement of the Birth of Jesus Luke 1:26-38 or Luke 1:39-47 There are two alternative gospels on this feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. At the beginning of Luke’s gospel there is the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary with the announcement of the birth of Jesus. She receives this news with great humility. Following this encounter, Mary goes to visit her relative Elizabeth, and as they greet one another, Elizabeth praises Mary for being the mother of the Lord. Mary responds with great humility, praising God for all that he has done for her. Prayer: Mary, you opened yourself to God’s grace. Pray for me that I may learn to do the same.

December 11, 2017 – Monday of the Second Week of Advent

The Healing of the Paralytic Luke 5:17-26 The friends of the man who is paralyzed go to great lengths to get him through the crowds to Jesus. Jesus acknowledges their faith, forgives their sins, and heals their friend. It is Jesus’ statement of forgiveness that causes the religious leaders to question his authority. Prayer: I see with my eyes incredible things every day. It is when I see with the eyes of my soul that I am overwhelmed by your love.

December 10, 2017 – Second Sunday of Advent

The Preaching of John the Baptist Mark 1:1-8 Mark’s Gospel opens with a powerful statement about Jesus. He is the Son of God. In a sense Mark begins with the end in mind since few will recognize Jesus during his ministry. Unlike Matthew and Luke, he bypasses the infancy narratives and takes the reader to Jesus’ adult life through John the Baptist. Prayer: Help me to help others see that “preparing the way” for you has far greater implications than our human and limited celebration of your Incarnation. Through your glorious return, we will celebrate for all eternity.

December 9, 2017 – Saturday of the First Week of Advent

The Compassion of Jesus/The Mission of the Twelve/The Commissioning of the Twelve Matthew 9:35-10:1, 5A, 6-8 While continuing to heal the people, Jesus is deeply moved by their innermost needs. They are like sheep without a shepherd or a harvest without workers to bring in the crops. It is time to send the disciples on his Father’s mission. Jesus commissions them and sends them out to minister to the needs of the people. Prayer: Just as you called and sent the disciples, you call and send me. I am excited to be part of your missionary work, Lord. Give me all I need to do your will.

December 8, 2017 – Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Announcement of the Birth of Jesus Luke 1:26-38 Mary is our model of Christian discipleship. With great humility she says yes physically and spiritually. “At the message of the angel, the Virgin Mary received the word of God in her heart and in her body, and gave life to the world.” (Constitution on the Church, 53) Prayer: Lord, I pray for humility and the willingness to go where you say I must go.

December 7, 2017 – Memorial of Saint Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

The True Disciple/The Two Foundations Matthew 7:21, 24-27 Today’s gospel begins with how action must follow words. Jesus tells his disciples that it is not enough just to know who he is. It is their relationship with him that spurs them to action. Both word and deed are necessary to lay the firm foundation for gaining entry to the kingdom. Prayer: I am thankful that you showed me it is not enough to know about you. It is in knowing you that I find the desire to invite others to do the same.

December 6, 2017 – Wednesday of the First Week of Advent

The Healing of Many People/The Feeding of the Four Thousand Matthew 15:29-37 In both miracle accounts—the healing of those with a variety of maladies and the multiplying of the loaves and fish for the hungry crowd—Jesus provides for the physical needs of the people gathered. People are drawn to him because of what they have heard and seen. He reveals the divine but not without compassion and care for his flock. Prayer: Lord, you are thoughtful, kind, and compassionate. You care about my every need and attend to it even before I ask for your help and healing.