Category Archives: Advent

Saint Thomas, Apostle

jesusthomasdoubt1The Righteous Will Live by Faith

Saint Thomas the Apostle is remembered as “Doubting Thomas.” That may be a little unfair. To be sure he was a skeptic concerning the resurrection of Jesus:

Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with the other disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”   (John 20:24-25)

On the other hand, Thomas was faithful as a disciple. He was willing to sacrifice for what he believed was the cause of Christ. As Jesus was speaking about going to Jerusalem which proved to be his last trip there, Thomas was aware of the danger involved:

Then Thomas said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”   (John 11:16)

Following Jesus is not easy. Many churches preach a grace that has little cost to it except for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. We must be prepared to make sacrifices if we are to live out the faith in our day. This is especially true in our nation today. Are we willing to go the distance? Thomas was willing.

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.For,

“In just a little while,
he who is coming will come
and will not delay.”

And,

“But my righteous one will live by faith.
And I take no pleasure
in the one who shrinks back.”   (Hebrews 10:35-38)

During times of test and trials are we will to stand our ground for the Lord? We will if we have a vision that God has given us to embrace. If we do not have a vision then we must ask God for one. It is in the difficult times that our vision is most clarified, provided that we seek God and His Word and provided that we are willing to wait on His response.

I will stand at my watchpost,and station myself on the rampart; I will keep watch to see what he will say to me,and what he will answer concerning my complaint. Then the LORD answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets , so that a runner may read it. For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay. Look at the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith.   (Habakkuk 2:1-4)

Living by faith is trusting in God without seeing around the next corner. Jesus has gone ahead of us and He is leading us. Are we willing to follow. Thomas was willing. When he realized that Jesus had risen from the dead he said: “My Lord and my God!” Is Jesus is our Lord and our God?

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Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year A

19th-century-mary-and-joseph-1024x559God Is with Us

Have we ever been in a situation where we desperately needed God’s help, yet were unwilling to acknowledge it? That was King Ahaz of Judah. Jerusalem was under attack and Ahaz’s only solution was a foreign alliance.  God sent him word through the Pyophet Isaiah that all Ahaz had to do was put his faith in God, but Ahaz would not listen.

God sent a second word to Ahaz to not only encourage him, but to make it clear that His protection was Ahaz’s only hope. God is always our best hope, but Ahaz had turned away from God, Nonetheless, God, in his mercy, was willing to go to great lengths for the sake of Judah. Through the prophet, he offered Ahaz this remarkable reassurance:

Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.   (Isaiah 7:10-11)

Ahaz was unwilling to listen to God. He covered up his stubbornness through a false piety. However, he did not and could not foresee the many obstacles that lay ahead. His view was very shortsighted. Our plans often fail but God’s plans do not, especially when we follow them. Only God sees the bigger picture. At best, we see through a glass darkly.

God had a plan for Judah which extended far beyond the problems that Ahaz faced. His plan was so far-reaching that it applies to us this very day. The Prophet Isaiah spoke these glorious words to Ahaz:

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall name him Emmanuel,”

which means, “God is with us.”

We may not reach out to God but God has reached out to us. Not only that, but he has joined. He has given us his greatest assurance by giving us his greatest gift. We are not alone. We do not have to depend only on our limited knowledge and skills. He is not limited. And he is Emmanuel – “God with us.” We are not alone!

Who can fathom the Incarnation? Our miracle of new life begins with God’s new life. Jesus is both God and man. And he is preparing us to follow in his steps. We are to become like him. We will never be the eternal begotten Son of God, but we will become joint heirs with him in the Kingdom of God. Are we ready?

Come Lord Jesus. Come into our hearts as we open them to you. Let us put our full trust in him. Amen.

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Saturday Luke 2:25-33

 

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.

And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law,

he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

“Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word;

for mine eyes have seen thy salvation

which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples,

a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel.”

And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him;

 

Father, give us the eyes of faith of Simeon, we pray, that we might see the light of your Son. Fill us with your Holy Spirit and grant us the grace to proclaim Jesus as Savior and Lord both by our words and action. Amen.

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Friday Isaiah 2:1- 5

 

The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it,

and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD.

 

Father, we want to go up to the mountain of the Lord through the blood of your Son that we may learn the way of peace from the Prince of Peace. Help us to walk in the light of the LORD. Amen.

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Thursday Matthew 4:14-16

 

that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

“The land of Zeb’ulun and the land of Naph’tali, toward the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles–

the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.”

 

Father, forgive us that we have chosen to live in darkness rather than in your divine light. Show us the light of your countenance and we shall be saved, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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