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January 8, 2019 – Tuesday after Epiphany

The Feeding of the Five Thousand Mark 6:34-44 The feeding of the five thousand immediately follows the return of the Twelve from mission. They are asking Jesus for quiet time with him to rest, reflect, discuss, and process all that has happened on their journey, but ministry to the people comes first. Jesus knows the crowds are hungry, physically and spiritually, and must be fed. Prayer: Lord, you show me often that the interruptions are the work you call me to. Help me to let go of my agenda and put my needs aside in order to do your will and to serve others.

January 7, 2019 – Monday after Epiphany

The Beginning of the Galilean Ministry/Ministering to a Great Multitude Matthew 4: 12-17, 23-25 Jesus begins his public ministry. Matthew has him preaching in a similar way to John the Baptist: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” In the second half of today’s gospel, Jesus’ activities are summarized. It can be said that all of this is preparing the reader for the greatest teaching given by the master, the Sermon on the Mount. Prayer: Master, Teacher, inspire all who devote their lives to preaching and teaching. Strengthen and increase the gifts of your Spirit in them.

January 6, 2019 – The Epiphany of the Lord

The Visit of the Magi Matthew 2:1-12 This story relates the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles. The openness and desire to seek the truth on the part of the Magi stands in contrast to the closed-mindedness and fear of King Herod and the Jewish leaders. Their actions speak volumes about their faith. Herod lies and attempts to deceive. The Magi find the King, pay him homage, and return home. Prayer: I pray for those whose hearts are hard and whose minds are closed. I pray that they find the way that leads to you.

January 5, 2019 – Memorial of Saint John Neumann, Bishop

The First Disciples, cont’d John 1:43-51 Phillip invites Nathanael, who is skeptical about Jesus, to come see for himself. He does and is surprised to find Jesus knows him already and speaks highly of his character. Jesus’ words touch Nathanael. His skepticism is overpowered by belief. Prayer: You know me better than I know myself. Your love for me has the power to break down the walls of doubt and fear.

January 4, 2019 – Memorial of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious

The First Disciples John 1:35-42 Two of John the Baptist’s disciples hear John testify aloud that Jesus is the Lamb of God. They follow Jesus and engage in conversation. Jesus remains with them. One of the disciples, Andrew, tells his brother Simon that they have found the Messiah. He follows, too, and is given the name Peter. Prayer: “Follow me.” With those two words you invite me on an adventure. There are highs and lows, but I can count on you being with me every step of the way.

January 3, 2019 – Christmas Weekday

John the Baptist’s Testimony to Jesus John 1:29-34 Jesus is the one John has been talking about, the one for whom he has been preparing the people. He calls him a sacrificial lamb. By offering himself, he will make reparation for sins. John goes on to testify that he saw the Spirit of God come down upon Jesus and remain in him. He is the Son of God, and this is the dawn of a new creation. Prayer: John prepared the way for you. We have been called to do the same, but it seems such a daunting task in the world today. St. John, pray for us.

January 2, 2019 – Memorials of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church

John the Baptist’s Testimony to Himself John 1:19-28 John knows his place and points the way to the truth for all to see. He tells the priests and Levites that he is not the true teacher but, like the prophets, a witness to the Messiah. Prayer: I am reminded that, in anything I do for you, I must do so knowing that I am merely a messenger. You are the message.

January 1, 2019 – Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God

The Visit of the Shepherds/The Circumcision and Naming of Jesus Luke 2:16-21 The shepherds are a lowly group of people considered ignorant in the society of the time. And yet it is they who understand that the news from the heavenly host is from God. Mary quietly and humbly reflects on all that is taking place. On the eighth day her son is given the name, Jesus, the name given her by the angel. Prayer: Dearest Mother, I wonder what you were thinking. I imagine your thoughts did not revolve around a “to do” list but rather the glory of God.

December 31, 2018 – The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas

Prologue John 1:1-18 In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus’ origin is in history, humanly conceived by God’s Spirit. John leads the reader to a deeper understanding of Jesus’ identity. Christ’s origin is in eternity, divinely pre-existing. He is the Word of God. Prayer: The gospel passage today opens my mind and heart to the depth and breadth of who you are. Though you are infinite and eternal, you became flesh and dwelt with us. One day I pray to dwell with you, in your infinite love for all eternity.

December 30, 2018 – Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

The Boy Jesus in the Temple Luke 2:41-52 This is the only glimpse we have into Jesus’ childhood. Though it is an experience for Mary and Joseph that any parent would dread, it is for the Holy Family a sign of what is to come. Jesus returns to his Father’s house. The first time in Jerusalem, Simeon offered insight into Jesus’ mission. On this visit, though only twelve, Jesus proclaims the meaning of his life. Prayer: We pray for all parents who are mindful of their role in preparing their children for the world. We pray especially for parents at the moment they face the inevitable “letting go.”