Day 21 – January 21

Today’s Readings:

Genesis 43-45
Matthew 14:1-21
Psalm 20

In the book of Genesis today, we learn a valuable lesson about God and how he uses human tragedy for his design. Joseph, the son of Israel (Jacob) and Rachel was sold into slavery by his brothers due to jealousy. Many years pass, his family assumes he is probably dead, when his brothers come to Egypt looking for food. When Joseph reveals his identity to his brothers, he comforts them from their fear. He tells them, “…do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life…God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God.”

We see in Joseph the attitude of one whose heart is set on God alone. He finds strength and endurance in faith. This attitude gives him the strength to accept hardships with faith. This acceptance that God allowed it for a reason, opens his heart to forgive his brothers wholeheartedly.

Let us ask the Lord to grant us a faith like Joseph in the face of hardship, to see beyond the moment and trust that God has this in his control.

May God bless you!

Advertisements

Day 20 – January 20

Today’s Readings:

Genesis 41-42
Matthew 13:31-58
Psalm 20

Today we hear Jesus teaching in parables about the kingdom of Heaven. In his parable of the treasure hidden in the field, it begs us to ask what was the man doing in the field? I imagine he was going about his daily routine, perhaps working in the field, digging furrows for crops or digging deep to find water. It was in this daily activity/work that he came across the treasure.

This parable, while applied to the Kingdom of Heaven, is also a lesson for us to consider the effects of prayer. We can go ‘looking’ for the treasure (Jesus) in churches, and making visits to the Blessed Sacrament is a splendid. But we can also find our Lord by being mindful of Him in our daily, ordinary tasks, and building a habit of faithfulness in our prayer. Like the man in the field, he found the treasure because he was turning over stones, of his diligence to his task, we too can uncover the treasure of faith by turning over the stones of our prayer to God.

The question is: will we sell all we have to possess it?

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!

 

Day 11 – January 11

Today’s Readings:

Genesis 21-22
Matthew 8:18-34
Psalm 11

This passage from Genesis chapter 22, is one of the most difficult for us to wrap our minds around, a father asked to sacrifice his son – his only son that was promised to him – to God. It must be seen in the context of faith (ours), which broadens us to understand how God could ask such a thing.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is very helpful here:

145 The Letter to the Hebrews, in its great eulogy of the faith of Israel’s ancestors, lays special emphasis on Abraham’s faith: “By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go.”[4] By faith, he lived as a stranger and pilgrim in the promised land.[5] By faith, Sarah was given to conceive the son of the promise. And by faith Abraham offered his only son in sacrifice.[6]

146 Abraham thus fulfils the definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1: “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”:[7] “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.”[8] Because he was “strong in his faith”, Abraham became the “father of all who believe”.[9]

147 The Old Testament is rich in witnesses to this faith. The Letter to the Hebrews proclaims its eulogy of the exemplary faith of the ancestors who “received divine approval”.[10] Yet “God had foreseen something better for us”: the grace of believing in his Son Jesus, “the pioneer and perfecter of our faith”.[11]

Abraham learned to live each moment of his life by faith. He was conditioned by his regular practice of listening (Latin: obedire) to God, which grew into trusting obedience to do whatever was asked of him. It was the test beyond all tests, to give up one’s greatest possession.

What is your greatest possession? Are you be willing to sacrifice it to God if he asks you to? Maybe not in terms of human sacrifice, but to ask yourself, what is the one thing that stands in the way of your perfect obedience to God?

Lord Jesus, thank you for your word that challenges to reconsider our fidelity, to listen to your word and to respond wholeheartedly. Amen.

May God bless you!

 

Day 8 – January 8

Today’s Readings:

Genesis 15-16
Matthew 6:19-34
Psalm 8

“Do not be anxious about tomorrow…Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.”

It’s easy for us to get caught up in our worries about what the future will bring. Abram worried too. In the book of Genesis we read how he feared for the future, thinking he would not have an heir to carry on the family line. Yet, in the nature of his worry, he overcame it through believing and trusting in the word of God. We read (Genesis 15:5-6):

“And the Lord brought Abram outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And Abram believed the Lord; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness.

Abram had a justified concern for the future, but he was able to pull away from his worry, place it in God’s hands, and trust. We can imagine the echo of Jesus’ words of God’s care in the story:

  • Look at the birds of the air…your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
  • Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow…even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
  • …your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.

The saints are heroic examples for us, having a capacity of trust in the midst of trial, roadblocks, opposition and persecution. One such saint was Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, the polish Sister who was instructed by Jesus to paint the image of the Divine Mercy. At the foot of the image the following words are written: “Jesus, I trust in You!”

Lord Jesus, we do trust you, we want to place all our worry and concern into your loving heart. Take them, and transform them to a mountain of faith.

May God bless you!