Monday, December 6, 2010

Our God Will Come To Save Us!

Monday of the Second Week of Advent
Reading I
Isaiah 35:1-10
The desert and the parched land will exult;
the steppe will rejoice and bloom.
They will bloom with abundant flowers,
and rejoice with joyful song.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to them,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
They will see the glory of the LORD,
the splendor of our God.
Strengthen the hands that are feeble,
make firm the knees that are weak,
Say to those whose hearts are frightened:
Be strong, fear not!
Here is your God,
he comes with vindication;
With divine recompense
he comes to save you.
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,
the ears of the deaf be cleared;
Then will the lame leap like a stag,
then the tongue of the mute will sing.

Streams will burst forth in the desert,
and rivers in the steppe.
The burning sands will become pools,
and the thirsty ground, springs of water;
The abode where jackals lurk
will be a marsh for the reed and papyrus.
A highway will be there,
called the holy way;
No one unclean may pass over it,
nor fools go astray on it.
No lion will be there,
nor beast of prey go up to be met upon it.
It is for those with a journey to make,
and on it the redeemed will walk.
Those whom the LORD has ransomed
will return and enter Zion singing,
crowned with everlasting joy;
They will meet with joy and gladness,
sorrow and mourning will flee.
+++    +++    +++    +++
Psalm 85
R. Our God will come to save us!
I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD – for he proclaims peace to his people.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
R. Our God will come to save us!
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. Our God will come to save us!
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and salvation, along the way of his steps.
R. Our God will come to save us!
+++    +++    +++    +++
Luke 5:17-26
One day as Jesus was teaching,
Pharisees and teachers of the law,
who had come from every village
of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem,
were sitting there,
and the power of the Lord
was with him for healing.
And some men brought on a stretcher
a man who was paralyzed;
they were trying to bring him in
and set him in his presence.
But not finding a way to bring him in
because of the crowd,
they went up on the roof
and lowered him on the stretcher
through the tiles
into the middle in front of Jesus.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said,
“As for you, your sins are forgiven.”

Then the scribes and Pharisees
began to ask themselves,
“Who is this who speaks blasphemies?
Who but God alone can forgive sins?”
Jesus knew their thoughts
and said to them in reply,
“What are you thinking in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say,
‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?
But that you may know
that the Son of Man
has authority on earth to forgive sins” –
he said to the one who was paralyzed,
“I say to you, rise,
pick up your stretcher, and go home.”

He stood up immediately before them,
picked up what he had been lying on,
and went home, glorifying God.
Then astonishment seized them all
and they glorified God,
and, struck with awe, they said,
“We have seen incredible things today.”
St. Nicholas
(d. 350?)

The absence of the “hard facts” of history is not necessarily an obstacle to the popularity of saints, as the devotion to St. Nicholas shows. Both the Eastern and Western Churches honor him, and it is claimed that, after the Blessed Virgin, he is the saint most pictured by Christian artists. And yet, historically, we can pinpoint only the fact that Nicholas was the fourth-century bishop of Myra, a city in Lycia, a province of Asia Minor.

As with many of the saints, however, we are able to capture the relationship which Nicholas had with God through the admiration which Christians have had for him — an admiration expressed in the colorful stories which have been told and retold through the centuries.

Perhaps the best-known story about Nicholas concerns his charity toward a poor man who was unable to provide dowries for his three daughters of marriageable age. Rather than see them forced into prostitution, Nicholas secretly tossed a bag of gold through the poor man’s window on three separate occasions, thus enabling the daughters to be married. Over the centuries, this particular legend evolved into the custom of gift-giving on the saint’s feast. In the English-speaking countries, St. Nicholas became, by a twist of the tongue, Santa Claus—further expanding the example of generosity portrayed by this holy bishop.


The critical eye of modern history makes us take a deeper look at the legends surrounding St. Nicholas. But perhaps we can utilize the lesson taught by his legendary charity, look deeper at our approach to material goods in the Christmas season and seek ways to extend our sharing to those in real need.


“In order to be able to consult more suitably the welfare of the faithful according to the condition of each one, a bishop should strive to become duly acquainted with their needs in the social circumstances in which they live.... He should manifest his concern for all, no matter what their age, condition, or nationality, be they natives, strangers, or foreigners” (Decree on the Bishops' Pastoral Office, 16).

Patron Saint of:


Saint of the Day


Sarah in the tent said...

I once looked up the city of Myra on internet. Apparently, it was named for the myrrh trade. It's strange how St Nicholas, who is so linked with gifts, comes from a town named after one of the Three Kings' gifts!

Fr. John L. Sullivan said...

Sarah, remember that "there are no coincidences in God's plan". If you look ahead just two days, from December 6 to December 8, you will find that the Gospel of the Immaculate Conception is that of the Annunciation. It would seem that the Holy Spirit is a witty punster.