Day 16 – January 16

Today’s Readings:

Genesis 31-32
Matthew 11
Psalm 16

“Go and tell John what you hear and see…”

In the movie industry, the best promotion for a new release is the audience itself. Go on Twitter and search a film title and you can get a good sense of what people are saying about it. Talk to a friend that recently saw a movie and if they liked it, they are probably going to be sure you know about it! In Matthew, chapter 11, we have followers of John the Baptist coming to Jesus with one question: “Are you the one?”

Jesus responds to the inquirers to observe what is going on around them and “Go and tell John.” Jesus gives them permission to preach the good news! It’s easy to imagine John’s disciples returning to him with excitement to what they saw and heard! And what about us? What have we seen and heard about Jesus? Are we excited to share the ‘good news’ with others?

Let us ask the Lord Jesus to show us how to live for Him, that we may be mindful of what we spend time talking about, that we may seek ways to share our faith, so as to build up our brothers and sisters to more readily put their trust in him.

May God bless you!

 

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Day 15 – January 15

Today’s Readings:

Genesis 29-30
Matthew 10:21-42
Psalm 15

“…he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”

In our Gospel reading today, Jesus offers us the Cross as a measure of discipleship. If we lived in the time of Jesus and heard him speak these words, the reality of the cross would be all too real. The streets were lined with them, at the order of Varus, a Roman general at the time of Jesus, who approved the crucifixion of thousand Jews, and placed the crosses by the wayside along the roads to Galilee.

In Jesus’ time, there was no escape from encountering crosses. The same is true for our time; the cross today may not prominently line the streets of your city, but they are there in subtle ways, coming into our lives through unpleasant encounters, physical pain and suffering, misunderstanding, or loss of a loved one. On the Christian road of the Cross, we are called embrace each moment with the attitude of Christ: “Not my will but thine be done!”

Then, embrace the cross in this hour, and carry it with Jesus.

May God bless you!

 

Day 14 – January 14

Today’s Readings:

Genesis 27-28
Matthew 10:1-20
Psalm 14

At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus selects twelve disciples. These were very ordinary men from various walks of life, who became companions of Jesus for the next three years. But why did Jesus choose these twelve? They had no wealth; no prestigious educational background, no social position. They were very common, working-class people. They came from different political points of view. Simon the Zealot in any other situation would have no qualms of killing Matthew the tax-collector because he aided foreign rulers (which the Zealots couldn’t stand). If the two of them met on the street, it would not have gone well. Yet, here Jesus gathers opposites and makes them become friends. Simon and Matthew came to love one another because they first learned to love Jesus.

This is the hallmark of a Christian community. Look intently the next time you go to Church and see the diversity around you. What do you see? Perhaps various ethnicities, ages, working class, executives, housewives and postal workers … all of them united because of Jesus.

Lord Jesus, we thank you for bringing us together despite our differences to learn to love what before would have been impossible. Continue to help us to expand the tents of our hearts to reach out to others who are different than we are, and find that we can be one in You.

May God bless you!

 

Day 13 – January 13

Today’s Readings:

Genesis 25-26
Matthew 9:18-38
Psalm 13

In our gospel reading today, we come across three healing stories: The synagogue ruler and his daughter; the hemorrhaging woman; and the two blind men. Barclay’s commentary (p. 340) suggests that these recipients of Jesus’ powers came to him with imperfect intentions. Let’s look at each one for a moment:

  • The synagogue ruler came to Jesus after trying every other kind of treatment for his daughter. It was only after those failed that he saw Jesus as his last resort. He comes to Jesus with an imperfect motive; he didn’t come out of love for Jesus, but because he had no where else to turn.
  • The woman with the 12-year hemorrhage felt the need to touch Jesus in order to be healed of her affliction. This need to touch him can be interpreted as a kind of superstition, or an inadequate faith.
  • The two blind men call Jesus ‘Son of David’, which could be interpreted as perhaps, a political title. Did they think Jesus would be the conquering war hero to free them from the oppressive Romans? They came to Jesus with a very poor conception of who Jesus is.

All of them approach Jesus in an inadequate way and yet all encounter His love. None of them were fully open to the divine mystery that was before them, yet, Jesus met them where they were. We can learn two lessons here.

The first, don’t wait until your life perfectly put together to come to Jesus. He is ready to receive us in our current state.

The second lesson, we cannot judge another’s motivation, state of faith, nor if their concept of Jesus is mistaken.  Jesus is ready to take us in, even when we are not properly disposed to receive him fully.

Let us approach our Lord, recognizing our weaknesses, trusting that Jesus will meet us as we are and transform us to what we ought to be. Amen

May God bless you!

 

Day 12 – January 12

Today’s Readings:

Genesis 23-24
Matthew 9:1-17
Psalm 12

At the beginning of the reading from the gospel of Matthew, we hear how friends brought their paralytic companion to Jesus. The paralytic was dependent on others to help him get around, and if it were not for his four friends, he would never have come to Jesus. We don’t know if the paralytic even wanted to see Jesus; we only see the faith of the four friends. For all we know, he could have been brought against his will; there was nothing he could do but to accept the ‘help’ of his friends. His friends wanted him to know Jesus.

Let us take to heart those we know, friends, acquaintances, family members, and ask ourselves, “do I strive to bring those around me to Christ?” We may not be able, like the four friends, to physically carry our friends to Jesus, but we do have an obligation as Christians to try. We cannot force another to accept Christ, but can do everything we possibly can to bring them into Christ’s presence, and let the Lord do the rest.

May God bless you!