Posted by: RAM | November 28, 2015

Sunday (November 29): “Be vigilant at all times.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Souls

First Sunday of Advent
Lectionary: 3
26 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Jeremiah 33:14-16
Psalms 25:4-5, 8-10, 14:  To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 3:12–4:2
Gospel: Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

Jesus said to his disciples:
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.

“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand before the Son of Man.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112915

Reflection: How good are you at reading signs, especially signs which God sends our way? The people of Jesus’ time expected that the coming of the Messiah would be accompanied by extraordinary signs and wonders. Jesus’ first coming was clouded in mystery and surprising wonderment: Even though he was the rightful heir to the throne of King David, he was born in obscurity in a cave at Bethlehem, near the place where David had watched over his father’s sheep some 1000 years before. A choir of mighty angels chose to announce the good news to a small band of lowly shepherds keeping their night watch nearby. Learned magi from the East, who recognized a great omen in the heavenly sky, followed the star until it led them to Bethlehem. They alone found the child with his mother and paid him homage as the newborn king of Israel. When Jesus humbly submitted to baptism at the River Jordan, the heavenly Father spoke audibly for those nearby who were willing to listen, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.”

Jesus, during his public ministry performed numerous signs: turning water into wine, calming the storm at sea and walking on water, multiplying seven loaves of bread in the wilderness to feed 5000 people, healing the blind and the lame, expelling demons, and raising the dead. While many believed in Jesus, many also questioned his signs and refused to believe his claim to be the Messiah sent by the heavenly Father to suffer and die for our sake and for our salvation on the cross of Calvary. Jesus’ last and greatest sign during his earthly ministry was his rising from the tomb on the third day after his crucifixion. This sign demonstrated his power to defeat death itself and to give abundant everlasting life to all who believed in him.

Jesus told his disciples that his final great sign would be his return in glory at the end of the age. He would come this second time as Judge and Merciful Redeemer to vindicate those who accepted him as Lord and Savior and to punish those who rejected him. Jesus declared that this last sign at the end of the world would be unmistakable. All would recognize and “see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:27). The title which Jesus most often used to describe his Messianic role was the expression “Son of Man”. This title comes from the Book of the prophet Daniel, chapter 7. The image of a “Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” was given in a vision where the prophet Daniel saw heaven opened before the throne of God (Daniel 7:13-14). In this vision God showed Daniel a royal investiture of a human king before God’s throne. This king was invested with God’s authority and was given power to judge and rule over the whole earth. His reign would last for all ages.

The Jews of Jesus’ day were looking for a Messiah King who would free them from the oppressive rule of pagan Rome. Many had hoped that Jesus would be their victorious conquerer. They missed, however, the most important sign and reason for the Messiah’s first coming – his death on the cross as the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world and his triumphant victory over death and Satan when he rose on the third day. The Lord Jesus is both the “Son of David”, the rightful heir and Messiah King of Israel whose reign will endure for all ages (Psalm 89:3-4,29,36-37) – and the “Son of Man”, chosen by God as the anointed ruler who will come at the end of the age to establish a universal kingdom of peace, righteousness, and justice for all the nations and peoples of the earth.

The prophet Jeremiah foretold the day when God would send his Messiah King  to “execute justice and righteousness in the land” (Jeremiah 33:15). Jesus is the fulfillment of this promise and every promise which God has made. The Lord Jesus, through the gift and working of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, assures us of his abiding presence and the promise that he will return again. His Holy Spirit gives us supernatural hope, and the strength to persevere with joyful confidence until the Lord comes again. What kind of hope does the Lord offer us? He gives us the hope of heaven, seeing God face to face, sharing in the fulness of his glory and everlasting life. When the Lord comes again as our Judge and merciful Redeemer he will right every wrong, vindicate every person who has accepted him as Lord and Savior, and remove all sorrow, pain, and death itself (Revelations 21:4). The world around us is plagued with greed, envy, strife, and uncertainty. It has lost hope in God and in his promise to restore the human race and all of creation when the Lord Jesus comes again.

Jesus’ prophetic description of the end of time and the day of judgment  was not new to the people of Israel. The prophets had foretold these events many centuries before. “Behold the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger to make the earth a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it” (Isaiah 13:9-13; see also  Joel 2:1-2; Amos 5:18-20; Zephaniah 1:14-18). Jesus speaks of the second coming as a known fact, a for certain event we can expect to take place. This coming will be marked by signs that all will recognize; signs which will strike terror in those unprepared and wonder in those who are ready to meet the Lord. When the Lord returns he will establish final justice and righteousness over the earth by overthrowing his enemies and by vindicating those who have been faithful to him. The anticipation of his final judgment is a sign of hope for all who trust in him.

What can keep us from recognizing the signs of the Lord’s presence and action today? Indifference and  the temptation to slacken off – to become passive and lethargic or to fall asleep spiritually. It is very easy to get caught up in the things of the present moment or to be weighed down with troubles. The Lord knows our shortcomings and struggles and he gives us the strength to bear our burdens and to walk in his way of holiness. But there is one thing he doesn’t tolerate: an attitude of indifference, being passive, not caring, and doing nothing when we could be actively seeking God and his kingdom! God is ready to give us fresh vision, hope, and grace to walk in his ways. He wants to work in and through us for his glory. That is why he expects more of us than we can do by ourselves. His grace enables us to actively watch for his action in our lives, and to actively pray  for perseverance and endurance when we face trials and difficulties. The Lord gives us his strength to overcome temptation, especially from apostasy – the denial of the Lord Jesus out of fear or pride. God is ever ready to fill us with his strength and divine power. Is your heart hungry for God or is it weighed down by other things?

Many churches in the East and West, since the early first centuries of the Christian era, have marked special seasons to celebrate the central truths of the Christian faith. The Advent season which precedes Christmas and Epiphany reminds us that we are a pilgrim people, aliens and exiles in this age who long for our true home with God in his heavenly kingdom, and who await with joyful hope the return of the Lord Jesus at the end of the age. When will the Lord Jesus come again? No one but the Father in heaven knows the day. But it is a certain fact that we are living in the end times, the close of this present age! The end times begin with the first coming of Jesus Christ (his Incarnation which we celebrate at Christmas and Epiphany) and culminates in his final return on the Day of Judgment.

“Lord Jesus, may I never lose sight of the signs of your presence in my life and the signs of your action in the world today. Free me from spiritual dullness, indifference, and every distraction that would keep me from you. May I never tire of listening to your word, seeking you in prayer, and longing for your return in glory.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov29.htm www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2015 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: St. Saturninus
St. Saturninus Bishop of Toulouse and Martyr November 29 A.D. 257. St. Saturninus went from Rome by the direction of pope Fabian, about the year 245, to preach the faith in Gaul, where St. Trophimus, the first bishop of Arles, had some time before gathered a plentiful harvest. In the year 250, when Decius and Gratus were consuls, St. Saturninus fixed his episcopal see at Toulouse.  Fortunatus tells us, that he converted a great number of idolaters by his preaching and miracles. This is all the account we have of him till the time of his holy martyrdom. The author of his acts, who wrote about fifty years after his death, relates, that he assembled his flock in a small church; and that the capitol, which was the chief temple in the city, lay in the way between that church and the saint’s habitation. In this temple oracles were given; but the devils were struck dumb by the presence of the saint as he passed that way. The priests spied him one day going by, and seized and dragged him into the temple. declaring that he should either appease the offended deities by offering sacrifice to them, or expiate the crime with his blood. Saturninus boldly replied: “I adore one only God, and to him I am ready to offer a sacrifice of praise. Your gods are devils, and are more delighted with the sacrifice of your souls than with those of your bullocks. How can I fear them who, as you acknowledge, tremble before a Christian?” The infidels, incensed at this reply, abused the saint with all the rage that a mad zeal could inspire, and after a great variety of indignities, tied his feet to a wild bull, which was brought thither to be sacrificed. The beast being driven from the temple, ran violently down the hill, so that the martyr’s scull was broken, and his brains dashed out. His happy soul was released from the body by death, and fled to the kingdom of peace and glory, and the bull continued to drag the sacred body, and the limbs and blood were scattered on every side, till, the cord breaking, what remained of the trunk was left in the plain without the gates of the city. Two devout women laid the sacred remains on a bier, and hid them in a deep ditch, to secure them from any further insult, where they lay in “wooden coffin” till the reign of Constantine the Great. Then Hilary, bishop of Toulouse, built a small chapel over this his holy predecessor’s body Sylvius, bishop of that city towards the close of the fourth century, began to build a magnificent church in honor of the martyr, which was finished and consecrated by his successor Exuperius, who, with great pomp and piety, translated the venerable relics into it. This precious treasure remains there to this day with due honor. The martyrdom of this saint probably happened m the reign of Valerian, in 257.   http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=802

More Saints of the Day

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  RAM Follow tweets by @TheOneKin  @Pontifex @CardinalChito

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