Advent Reflections for December 10
Week 2 - Monday
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. (Isaiah 35: 4)
In a world where political instability threatens long established order, where crime in our country seems out of control and unstoppable, there seems to be plenty to be afraid of. Isaiah reminds us that Godís power is beyond anything on this earth that could frighten us. "Be strong" and "fear not" this Advent.
Is having a frightened heart different that just being afraid? The kind of fear we have in our hearts is usually fear for people we love. Godís care encompasses them as well. Trust Godís power.
Send a Christmas card to a young person you know and care for. Remind them that you are praying for them, and remind them of the faith significance of the upcoming holiday.
Like the Israelites in the desert
by Archbishop Fulton Sheen
Heaven starts here, but it doesn't end here. We just get faint glimpses of it now and then. If we postpone the thought of heaven until the moment we die, we will be very much like the Israelites during their wanderings in the desert. They were at one time within about eleven days of the promised land. It took only three weeks for them to make the journey from Egypt to the promised land, but because of their disobedience, their failures, their backsliding, and their rebellion against Moses, it took them forty years to get into the promised land. That forty years represents a pilgrimage in the lives of most of us. We make progress, and then we slip back. Thank heavens we have a merciful Lord who puts up with us and forgives us seventy times seven. Therefore, time is necessary in order to gain heaven, but the lapse of time itself does not bring me to heaven. What brings me to heaven is how I live, how I die.
Source: Through the Year With Archbishop Fulton Sheen. IgnatiusInsight.com
Gospel Reflections on Luke 5:17-26
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 he saw their faith he said, "As for you, your sins are forgiven." Luke 5:17-26
You know the rest of the story. The scribes and Pharisees think that, when Jesus says "your sins are forgiven," he is committing blasphemy. After all, only God can forgive sins.
Jesus asks them, "Which is easier to say, "Your sins are forgiven" or to say, "Rise and walk?"
Think about it. Which is easier? Don't answer too quickly.
It's easier to say, "your sins are forgiven," because no one can tell if they are forgiven. The harder thing to say is, "rise and walk," because the result (or lack of result) is easily seen.
So, as a sign that he "has power on earth to forgive sins," Jesus says to the paralytic: "Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home."
Which is exactly what the paralytic does.
Jesus can forgive sins. Case closed.
But will he forgive my sins?
Spend some quiet time with the Lord.
Lord, You are my strength and with You here, my own fears fade right away.
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