| Shepherds of Christ
November 30, 2010
December 1st Holy Spirit Novena
Scripture selection is Day 4 Period II.
The Novena Rosary Mysteries
for December 1st are Joyful.
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1st Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 2: 1-5
The vision of Isaiah son of Amoz, concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
It will happen in the final days
that the mountain of Yahweh’s house
will rise higher than the mountains
and tower above the heights.
Then all the nations will stream to it,
many peoples will come to it and say,
‘Come, let us go up
to the mountain of Yahweh,
to the house of the God of Jacob
that he may teach us his ways
so that we may walk in his paths.’
For the Law will issue from Zion
and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem.
Then he will judge between the nations
and arbitrate between many peoples.
They will hammer their swords
and their spears into sickles.
Nation will not lift sword against nation,
no longer will they learn how to make war.
House of Jacob, come,
let us walk in Yahweh’s light.
Psalm 122: 1-9
I rejoiced that they said to me,
‘Let us go to the house of Yahweh.’
At last our feet are standing
at your gates, Jerusalem!
Jerusalem, built as a city,
in one united whole,
there the tribes go up,
the tribes of Yahweh,
a sign for Israel to give thanks
to the name of Yahweh.
For there are set the thrones of judgement,
the thrones of the house of David.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem,
prosperity for your homes!
Peace within your walls,
prosperity in your palaces!
For love of my brothers and my friends
I will say, ‘Peace upon you!’
For love of the house of Yahweh our God
I will pray for your well–being
Besides, you know the time has come; the moment is here for you to stop sleeping and wake up, because by now our salvation is nearer than when we first began to believe. The night is nearly over, daylight is on the way; so let us throw off everything that belongs to the darkness and equip ourselves for the light. Let us live decently, as in the light of day; with no orgies or drunkenness, no promiscuity or licentiousness, and no wrangling or jealousy. Let your armour be the Lord Jesus Christ, and stop worrying about how your disordered natural inclinations may be fulfilled.
Matthew 24: 37-44
'As it was in Noah’s day, so will it be when the Son of man comes. For in those days before the Flood people were eating, drinking, taking wives, taking husbands, right up to the day Noah went into the ark, and they suspected nothing till the Flood came and swept them all away. This is what it will be like when the Son of man comes. Then of two men in the fields, one is taken, one left; of two women grinding at the mill, one is taken, one left.
'So stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming. You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what time of the night the burglar would come, he would have stayed awake and would not have allowed anyone to break through the wall of his house. Therefore, you too must stand ready because the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
1st Sunday of Advent
December 2, 2007
– (Isaiah 2: 1-5, Romans 13: 11-14, Matthew 24: 37-44) The prophet we hear in today’s first reading lived over 700 years before Christ. Most probably he had witnessed the destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians, fierce warriors who came from what is modern day Iraq. The southern kingdom of Israel, centered in Jerusalem, lived in fear and trembling that the same fate awaited them. In spite of great turmoil, his message is a message of peace, a peace we continue to yearn for. It is a peace, however, that flows only from walking in God’s ways.
HOMILY– Most of us remember when people used to wait until after Thanksgiving to get ready for Christmas. Now the stores start preparing right after Halloween or earlier. It’s interesting that 1500 years ago people in France started preparing for Christmas on November 11 (the feast of St. Martin). They weren’t busy shopping, but they prepared by fasting three days a week. A century later Christians were fasting every day from November 11 until Christmas. This was known as “St. Martin’s Lent.” The practice spread. As far as we know, this may have been the beginning of Advent. Many still remember, I’m sure, that Advent was a time to do penance or give up things to prepare for Jesus’ birth. Often we went to confession during that time to prepare ourselves better spiritually. Our world is so different. The aspect of spiritual preparation has slipped into the background, while we busy ourselves with so many other projects that we “have” to finish by December 25. I wonder if those who are trying to get Christ out of Christmas are winning, because in our world today, if Christ plays any part at all in our preparations for his birth, it is only a minor part.
Now, I don’t want to sound like “Bah! Humbug!” Joy at Christ’s birth is certainly an appropriate emotion at this time. And trying to act kindly to one another and showing greater appreciation for those we love is always in season. But commercialism and materialism has, in so many instances, caused us to shift our focus away from the spiritual side of what we are celebrating.
The real, spiritual meaning of Christ’s birth comes only through prayer and reflection. Fasting, as Christians did centuries ago, probably wouldn’t do most of us too much harm. Fasting doesn’t always involve food. We could fast from smoking, gambling, entertainment, criticizing, keeping so busy that we seldom have time for prayer. Let’s not forget the big picture: Christ came down to us for only one reason, to bring us new life, to lift us up to himself. It would be a shame to miss the opportunity Advent offers us to enrich ourselves spiritually and to open ourselves more fully to God’s love.
There is another important reason for us to take Advent seriously: being ready to meet Christ when he comes again to call us from this life to himself. Will we be ready? The second reading for today and the gospel stress this aspect of Advent. St. Paul said in today’s second reading: “it is the hour now to wake from sleep.” And Jesus too tells us “Stay Awake!” We never know when that day will come. Since it’s impossible to stay awake physically, it is obvious Jesus is talking about staying awake spiritually. Certainly the people Jesus gives as examples in today’s gospel about those eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, those working out in the field or grinding corn at the mill were physically awake, but apparently not all were spiritually awake. They were consumed with their everyday activities and were not prepared when God called them. The examples Jesus uses about two people doing something and one suddenly being taken and the other being left have nothing at all to do with a popular notion known as “the rapture.” They emphasize the suddenness with which the Lord may come to any one of us.
Our salvation is nearer than when we first believed, St. Paul tells us. When Christmas comes are we going to celebrate God’s love in Jesus’ birth or are we just going to celebrate that it’s all over? What we do the next few weeks will answer that.
Isaiah 11: 1-10
A shoot will spring
from the stock of Jesse,
a new shoot will grow from his roots.
On him will rest the spirit of Yahweh,
the spirit of wisdom and insight,
the spirit of counsel and power,
the spirit of knowledge
and fear of Yahweh:
his inspiration will lie in fearing Yahweh.
His judgement will not be
his verdict not given on hearsay.
He will judge the weak with integrity
and give fair sentence
for the humblest in the land.
He will strike the country
with the rod of his mouth
and with the breath of his lips
bring death to the wicked.
Uprightness will be
the belt around his waist,
and constancy the belt about his hips.
The wolf will live with the lamb,
the panther lie down with the kid,
calf, lion and fat–stock beast together,
with a little boy to lead them.
The cow and the bear will graze,
their young will lie down together.
The lion will eat hay like the ox.
The infant will play
over the den of the adder;
the baby will put his hand
into the viper’s lair.
No hurt, no harm will be done
on all my holy mountain,
for the country will be full
of knowledge of Yahweh
as the waters cover the sea.
That day, the root of Jesse,
standing as a signal for the peoples,
will be sought out by the nations
and its home will be glorious.
Psalm 72: 1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17
God, endow the king with your own fair judgement,
the son of the king with your own saving justice,
that he may rule your people with justice,
and your poor with fair judgement.
In his days uprightness shall flourish,
and peace in plenty till the moon is no more.
His empire shall stretch from sea to sea,
from the river to the limits of the earth.
all kings will do him homage,
all nations become his servants.
For he rescues the needy who calls to him,
and the poor who has no one to help.
He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the needy from death
May his name be blessed for ever,
and endure in the sight of the sun.
In him shall be blessed every race in the world,
and all nations call him blessed.
Romans 15: 4-9
And all these things which were written so long ago were written so that we, learning perseverance and the encouragement which the scriptures give, should have hope. Now the God of perseverance and encouragement give you all the same purpose, following the example of Christ Jesus, so that you may together give glory to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with one heart.
Accept one another, then, for the sake of God’s glory, as Christ accepted you. I tell you that Christ’s work was to serve the circumcised, fulfilling the truthfulness of God by carrying out the promises made to the fathers, and his work was also for the gentiles, so that they should give glory to God for his faithful love; as scripture says: For this I shall praise you among the nations and sing praise to your name.
Matthew 3: 1-12
In due course John the Baptist appeared; he proclaimed this message in the desert of Judaea, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is close at hand.’ This was the man spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said:
A voice of one that cries in the desert,
‘Prepare a way for the Lord,
make his paths straight.’
This man John wore a garment made of camel–hair with a leather loin–cloth round his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judaea and the whole Jordan district made their way to him, and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins. But when he saw a number of Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism he said to them, ‘Brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming retribution? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance, and do not presume to tell yourselves, "We have Abraham as our father," because, I tell you, God can raise children for Abraham from these stones. Even now the axe is being laid to the root of the trees, so that any tree failing to produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown on the fire. I baptise you in water for repentance, but the one who comes after me is more powerful than I, and I am not fit to carry his sandals; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing–fan is in his hand; he will clear his threshing–floor and gather his wheat into his barn; but the chaff he will burn in a fire that will never go out.’
2nd Sunday of Advent
December 9, 2007
INTRODUCTION: (Isaiah 11: 1-10, Romans 15: 4-9, Matthew 3: 1-12) The prophet Isaiah lived during a very troubling time in Israel. During his lifetime the Assyrians annihilated all of the area north of Jerusalem, known as the northern kingdom. Jerusalem lived in fear and trembling that they would be next. Isaiah was not sparing in his condemnation of those who contributed to all that suffering. He condemned not only the Assyrians, but also the kings of Israel who led the people away from God and he condemned the people who followed their lead. In today’s first reading he gives hope to those who have remained faithful to God. He promises them God would send them a leader who would lead his people to justice and peace.
HOMILY: A few years ago in my homily I offered this little prayer for people to reflect on. I would like to repeat it for you to think about as you stand in in line at the Post Office, sorting your cards and juggling your packages: “God, our Father, may everything we do be first-class. Imprint your own loving zip code upon our hearts so that we may never go astray. Provide in your gracious Providence special handling for those of us who are fragile and keep us in one piece. And when our days draw to a close and we are marked ‘Return to Sender,’ be there to greet us at Heaven’s door so that no one there might say ‘Unknown at this address.’ Amen.” Too bad we can’t tack this up on the post office wall.
We heard Isaiah’s promise of a great leader who would lead God’s people to justice and peace, a peace that is almost unbelievable. We believe that person is Jesus the Christ. Our readings go on to tell us though, if we want to share in that peace we will not do so unless we follow this great leader and king. And so, lest we get too wound up in all the sending and spending, today’s gospel, with its message from John the Baptist, tries to make us aware that more is involved in preparing for the coming of Jesus than sending and spending. Three times in today’s gospel John uses the word repent or repentance. When we hear that word we often think of some terrible sinner who needs a total makeover spiritually. If we think this message about repentance does not apply to us, we need to hear again what St. Paul told us in today’s second reading: “Whatever was written previously was written for our instruction.”
In other words the word “repent” is meant for all of us, not just for bad people. The Greek word for repent in its original meaning meant “to change our mind” As time went on it came to mean “to change our mind to be a different person, indeed, a better person.” The prophet John the Baptist is telling us if we haven’t been as good as we would like us to be, or as we know God would like us to be, then we need to decide to make a change. Our attitude may need to change or our behavior. Or it could be we’re not doing anything too bad, but we’re not doing anything really good either. The Baptist said “every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down.” It’s not enough to avoid evil, we have to do good.
It’s part of normal conversation around this time to ask “Are you ready for Christmas?” Wouldn’t we be surprised if we asked someone that question and they answered: “I still need to so a few things to make myself better spiritually.” That kind of an answer would leave us speechless. The media is working overtime telling us how to get ready for Christmas. Let us listen also to John the Baptist, the herald God sent to tell us how He wants us to prepare for His coming. Amen.
3rd Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 35: 1-6, 10
Let the desert and the dry lands
let the wasteland rejoice and bloom;
like the asphodel, let it burst into flower,
let it rejoice and sing for joy.
The glory of Lebanon is bestowed on it,
the splendour of Carmel and Sharon;
then they will see the glory of Yahweh,
the splendour of our God.
Strengthen all weary hands,
steady all trembling knees
and say to the faint–hearted,
‘Be strong! Do not be afraid.
Here is your God,
vengeance is coming,
he is coming to save you.’
Then the eyes of the blind will be opened,
the ears of the deaf unsealed,
then the lame will leap like a deer
and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy;
for water will gush in the desert
and streams in the wastelands,
For those whom Yahweh has ransomed
they will come to Zion shouting for joy,
their heads crowned with joy unending;
rejoicing and gladness will escort them
and sorrow and sighing will take flight.
Psalm 146: 6-10
who made heaven and earth,
the sea and all that is in them.
He keeps faith for ever,
gives justice to the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry;
Yahweh sets prisoners free.
Yahweh gives sight to the blind,
lifts up those who are bowed down.
Yahweh protects the stranger,
he sustains the orphan and the widow.
Yahweh loves the upright,
but he frustrates the wicked.
Yahweh reigns for ever,
your God, Zion, from age to age.
James 5: 7-10
Now be patient, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. Think of a farmer: how patiently he waits for the precious fruit of the ground until it has had the autumn rains and the spring rains! You too must be patient; do not lose heart, because the Lord’s coming will be soon. Do not make complaints against one another, brothers, so as not to be brought to judgement yourselves; the Judge is already to be seen waiting at the gates. For your example, brothers, in patiently putting up with persecution, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord’s name;
Matthew 11: 2-11
Now John had heard in prison what Christ was doing and he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to expect someone else?’ Jesus answered, ‘Go back and tell John what you hear and see; the blind see again, and the lame walk, those suffering from virulent skin–diseases are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life and the good news is proclaimed to the poor; and blessed is anyone who does not find me a cause of falling.’
As the men were leaving, Jesus began to talk to the people about John, 'What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swaying in the breeze? No? Then what did you go out to see? A man wearing fine clothes? Look, those who wear fine clothes are to be found in palaces. Then what did you go out for? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet: he is the one of whom scripture says:
Look, I am going to send my messenger
in front of you
to prepare your way before you.
'In truth I tell you, of all the children born to women, there has never been anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of Heaven is greater than he.
INTRODUCTION: (Isaiah 35: 1-6a, 10, James 5: 7-10, Matthew 11: 2-11) Today we hear Isaiah speaking to a people in distress, promising them liberation. It is a liberation that will provide fertility for the land (which is mostly desert) and will bring healing for our weakness and our ills. The vision of Isaiah goes beyond any historical distress and anticipates the kingdom of God that the Anointed One, the Messiah, a king who would save his people, would establish. The passage prepares us for the gospel when the disciples of John the Baptist ask Jesus whether he is the Messiah who will establish God’s kingdom. Jesus points to his miracles as the answer to their question, miracles that describe the wonderful things Isaiah promises. It began with Jesus but it is a kingdom yet to come which we must wait for patiently St. James tells us.
HOMILY: A man was arrested a couple of weeks before Christmas and brought into court. When the judge asked the man what he was charged with, he answered “doing my Christmas shopping early.” The judge replied, “that’s not an offense. How early were you doing this shopping?” The man answered, “before the store opened.”
That has nothing to do with the today’s readings, except that today is Gaudete Sunday, so I thought it would be good to start off the homily with a smile.
In our gospel, John the Baptist was in prison. John got in trouble with the king for condemning the king’s immoral life style. While in prison John sent his disciples to Jesus to ask “are you the one who is to come?” In other words, “are you the Messiah, the Savior, the one who is to establish the kingdom of God in our land, or are we still waiting for someone else?” Jesus gave not just a verbal answer but evidence that he was the awaited one. The miracles Jesus worked fit the description of the prophets that he was the one, especially Isaiah whom we heard in today’s first reading.
What was the point of John’s question? John had leapt with joy within his mother Elizabeth when Mary came to visit. John had pointed Jesus out as the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Why now is he asking: “are you he who is to come?”
There are two possible explanations as to why John asked this question. Prisons in those days were terrible places to be. Perhaps John was feeling pretty discouraged, locked up as he was, possibly contemplating his own execution. John could have been asking in effect, “if you are the Messiah and you’ve come to establish God’s kingdom, where is it?” “If you’ve come to ‘proclaim liberty to captives,’ (to quote Isaiah), to set God’s people free, what am I doing here in prison?” Was John discouraged, was he losing faith or hope? We really don’t know.
Some scholars suggest another reason why John may have sent his disciples to ask that question of Jesus: “are you he who is to come?” Possibly John sent his disciples so they would discover for themselves that Jesus was the Messiah. John had already pointed Jesus out to them, but now he wanted to convince them further. It’s a good possibility that was John’s purpose.
At any event, whether John’s faith was getting weak or whether John was trying to inspire faith in his disciples, we all know how our own faith is challenged when we pray and we try to do good and life beats us down. Why do good people suffer? Why do bad people seem to get by with murder? Life so often seems to be unfair.
There’s no one good answer or even a combination of good answers to these questions. St. James gives us one approach to an answer. He tells us we too need to be patient when life seems unfair. God will even things out and those who have been faithful to his word will enjoy happiness beyond our ability to imagine. Patience is especially hard to people in our society today because we have become used to so many conveniences. St. James uses the farmer who has to wait for the harvest as an example of patience. In spite of all the instantaneous conveniences we have in our modern day, there are still things we have to wait for: the birth of a child, for a child to grow up, develop a talent, get a college degree. Patience takes faith, faith that God is at work creating something wonderful, even when I don’t see it happening.
Jesus gave us evidence that the kingdom has arrived. But we need patience to wait for its completion. With each ‘Our Father’ we pray “thy kingdom come.” The kingdom of God is still a beautiful promise like the prophecy we heard from Isaiah. Like John in prison, we must keep believing that Jesus is the answer to that promise. He is more than an answer, he is the guarantee of that promise. Through the eyes of faith, we have this guarantee in the Eucharist we now celebrate. “He who is to come,” comes to us now. We don’t have to look for any other. In this faith we look forward to being able to celebrate his birth once again with the hope his birth gives us and that is our joy at this time. So as our liturgy on this Guadete Sunday tells us: “let us rejoice.”
4th Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 7: 10-14
Yahweh spoke to Ahaz again and said:
Ask Yahweh your God for a sign,
either in the depths of Sheol
or in the heights above.
But Ahaz said, ‘I will not ask. I will not put Yahweh to the test.’
He then said:
Listen now, House of David:
are you not satisfied
with trying human patience
that you should try
my God’s patience too?
The Lord will give you a sign in any case:
It is this: the young woman is with child
and will give birth to a son
whom she will call Immanuel.
Psalm 24: 1-6
To Yahweh belong the earth and all it contains,
the world and all who live there;
it is he who laid its foundations on the seas,
on the flowing waters fixed it firm.
Who shall go up to the mountain of Yahweh?
Who shall take a stand in his holy place?
The clean of hands and pure of heart,
whose heart is not set on vanities,
who does not swear an oath in order to deceive.
Such a one will receive blessing from Yahweh,
saving justice from the God of his salvation.
Such is the people that seeks him,
that seeks your presence, God of Jacob. Pause
Romans 1: 1-7
From Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the service of the gospel that God promised long ago through his prophets in the holy scriptures.
This is the gospel concerning his Son who, in terms of human nature was born a descendant of David and who, in terms of the Spirit and of holiness, was designated Son of God in power by resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ, our Lord, through whom we have received grace and our apostolic mission of winning the obedience of faith among all the nations for the honour of his name. You are among these, and by his call you belong to Jesus Christ. To you all, God's beloved in Rome, called to be his holy people. Grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Matthew 1: 18-24
This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph; but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being an upright man and wanting to spare her disgrace, decided to divorce her informally. He had made up his mind to do this when suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.’ Now all this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet:
Look! the virgin is with child
and will give birth to a son
whom they will call Immanuel,
a name which means ‘God–is–with–us’. When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do: he took his wife to his home; he had not had intercourse with her when she gave birth to a son; and he named him Jesus.
INTRODUCTION – (Isaiah 7: 10-14, Romans 1: 1-7, Matthew 1: 18-24) We read almost every day about the problems in the Middle East. This is nothing new. Seven hundred thirty years before Christ there were problems too. The dominant power in the Middle East at that time was Assyria, an especially cruel and powerful nation whose capital was located in modern day Iraq, about 250 miles north of Baghdad. The king in Jerusalem at the time, King Ahaz felt threatened, not so much by Assyria, but by two smaller nations that were preparing to attack him. He decided to call on Assyria for help. The prophet Isaiah, the author of our first reading, warned: “Don’t do it. It will only cause more problems.” He promised: “God would keep the king and Jerusalem safe.” Ahaz did not have enough faith that God would do so. Isaiah told the king “Ask for a sign, ask for some proof.” But Ahaz, acting very pious, said he would not tempt God by asking for a sign. Isaiah offered one anyway. The sign Isaiah offered was most probably that God would give him a son who would succeed him. At this time he had no offspring for the king had already offered his only son in human sacrifice to Moloch, the pagan god of the Canaanites. God’s gift of another son would definitely be a sign that God would not let his lineage die out. Ahaz’ son would be called by the symbolic name Emmanuel for he would be a sign that God was with his people. It is a good possibility that the son Ahaz eventually had was Hezekiah who turned out to be a good leader and a king who was faithful to God. But St. Matthew saw in this promise of Isaiah a greater depth of meaning. He saw that Jesus fulfilled this promise perfectly by being born of a virgin and by being a sign to us that God is with us.
HOMILY - Both St. Matthew and St. Luke tell us about the unique way in which Jesus was conceived. St. Luke tells us the story in the beautiful gospel of the Annunciation where Mary is the central figure. St. Matthew’s gospel, which we just heard, tells the story as it was experienced by Joseph.
Joseph learned that Mary, his wife to be, was going to have a baby and he knew he was not the father. It might be worth mentioning that in that culture engagement was as much of a commitment as marriage. That’s why sometimes in the gospel it says Joseph and Mary were betrothed and sometimes Mary is called Joseph’s wife. It’s just that couples didn’t begin to live together until they were formally married. We do not know whether Mary told Joseph that it was by the power of the Holy Spirit that she conceived. I would like to think she did. And I would like to think that St. Joseph believed her and decided he was unworthy to be associated with such special people as Mary and her son to be – a son who was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Joseph decided to end their relationship. But if there were any questions Joseph might still have had, the angel made it clear to him. He was to take Mary into his home and he would be head of the family. As head of the family, Joseph would give Jesus his name, a Hebrew name meaning “Yahweh saves.” The angel makes a point of this when he tells Joseph “you are to name him Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.” It is also Joseph who would give Jesus his social status. That status was indicated by the way the angel greeted Joseph as “Joseph, son of David.” Jesus would belong to the house of David, a royal family. Other than the claim to be part of the family tree of King David, the descendants of King David had no power or authority or royal perks since the Babylonian exile 600 years before Christ. But the fact that Jesus had this social standing is very important for the people expected the Messiah to come from David’s line as God had promised David his kingdom would endure forever.
On this fourth Sunday of Advent, the Church is reminding us of the exulted dignity of the child whose birth we are about to celebrate. Humanly speaking, he is born into a kingly family. But he is more than human. He was conceived in a unique way, through the Holy Spirit, thus he is Son of God. Truly he is Emmanuel, God with us. He is our God who has come to save us as the name Jesus tells us. No wonder we celebrate.
Let us reflect for a moment on the name Emmanuel. St. Matthew tells us here, in the beginning of his gospel, that Jesus’ birth, in the fullest sense of the word, is the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah. Jesus is God with us. If we go to the very end of St. Matthew’s gospel, in the very last verse, as Jesus was ascending into heaven, he told his disciples: “Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Jesus is God with us, a theme that begins and ends and runs all through Matthew’s gospel.
With all the evil and suffering in our world, it is a mystery why God would want to be with us. Of course, we know from everyday experience we want to be with those we love, so if that’s why God wants to be with us, and the gospels tell us that is why, then we ask why God would love us so? We have a hard time believing that God does love us at times, especially when we don’t love ourselves very much or when we have to face serious problems or tragedy. At those times we are tempted to feel as if he forgot us. Our only response to times of doubt is to choose to believe him when the tells us: “I am with you always.” There’s no easy way around the fact that we need to have lots of faith sometimes. There’s no easy way to have faith except to take time to pray.
One preeminent sign of his presence with us is the Eucharist. Here too we must choose to believe his words at the Last Supper were true when he said: “This is my body; this is my blood.” May our celebration of Christmas truly be a celebration of our belief in Emmanuel, “God is with us.” And may it lead us to a greater appreciation of the Eucharist we celebrate each week.
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Cost — $200.00
a cup with a Mary's image on it
Cost — $15
Rosaries with Mary's Image Available
Aurora Borealis Beads
6mm - $30.00
8mm - $40.00
Sacred Heart of Jesus w/glass - 18
Our Lady-Guadalupe w/glass - 12
Limpias - 8
Immaculate Heart w/glass - 18
I Heart - Ivory w/glass - 18
Our Lady of Grace w/glass - 18
Our Lady-Mt. Carmel w/glass - 18
Our Lady of Lourdes w/glass - 18
Infant of Prague w/glass - 24
Sacred Heart of Jesus w/glass - 24
Sacred Heart -Blessing w/glass - 24
Sorrowful Mother w/glass - 24
I Heart - Ivory w/glass - 24
I Heart of Mary w/glass - 24
Our Lady of Lourdes w/glass - 24
Our Lady-Guadalupe w/glass - 28
Our Lady of Grace w/glass - 24
Our Lady-Mt. Carmel w/glass - 24
St. Padre Pio
Pieta - Marble
Pieta - Color
St. Anthony - 18
St. Francis - 18
St. Joseph - 18
St. Therese - 18
St. Rita - 18
St. Clare - 12
St. Rita - 12
St. Padre Pio - 12
Divine Mercy - 12
St. Michael - 11
Shepherds of Christ Ministries
P. O. Box 627
China, IN 47250
Size Price Quantity
St. Padre Pio
$100 St. Philomena
$100 St. Philomena
$65 St. Joseph
$65 St. Francis
$65 St. Anthony
$65 St. Rita
$65 St. Therese
$65 Pieta - Color 15" $75 Pieta - Marble 15" $75 Holy Family
$60 St. Padre Pio - standing
$40 St. Padre Pio - sitting
$50 St. Michael
$40 St. Rita
$40 St. Claire
$25 Our Lady of Guadalupe w/glass
$500 Our Lady of Mt. Carmel w/glass
Immaculate Heart of Mary w/glass
Immaculate Heart - Ivory w/glass
Infant of Prague w/glass
Our Lady of Grace w/glass
Our Lady of Lourdes w/glass
$500 Sacred Heart of Jesus w/glass
$500 Sacred Heart -Blessing w/glass
Sorrowful Mother w/glass
$500 Immaculate Heart of Mary w/glass
$300 Immaculate Heart - Ivory w/glass
$300 Sacred Heart of Jesus w/glass
$300 Our Lady of Lourdes w/glass
$300 Our Lady of Grace w/glass
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel w/glass
18" $300 Our Lady of Guadalupe w/glass
$250 Pilgrim Virgin w/glass
$160 Pilgrim Virgin w/glass 15" $200 Pilgrim Virgin w/glass 18" $250 Pilgrim Virgin w/glass
Call for Shipping Price (1-888-211-3041)
IN Tax (7%) City
Shipping State Zip
Immaculate Heart and Sacred Heart Pictures Available
with & without frames - different sizes available
Brand New Internet Store
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