Posted by: RAM | December 13, 2016

Wednesday (December 14): ” Are you the one who is to come.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita
Month of the Divine Infancy

Memorial of Saint John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor of the Church
Wednesday of the Third Week in Advent
Lectionary: 189

11 Days Before Christmas

First Reading: Isaiah 45:6-8, 18, 21-25
Psalms 85:9-14: The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Gospel: Luke 7:18-23
At that time,
John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to ask,
“Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?”
When the men came to the Lord, they said,
“John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask,
‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?’”
At that time Jesus cured many of their diseases, sufferings, and evil spirits;
he also granted sight to many who were blind.
And Jesus said to them in reply,
“Go and tell John what you have seen and heard:
the blind regain their sight,
the lame walk,
lepers are cleansed,
the deaf hear, the dead are raised,
the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.
And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/121416.cfm

Reflection:  How can we know that Jesus is who he claims to be, the Son of God, the promised Messiah, and Savior of the world? Is our faith a blind leap we must take without certainty or proof? John the Baptist sent his disciples to question Jesus about his claim to be God’s anointed Messiah. Did John have doubts about Jesus and his claim to divinity? Not likely, since John had earlier revealed Jesus’ mission at the River Jordan when he exclaimed, Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29).

John saw from a distance what Jesus would accomplish through his atoning sacrifice on the cross – our redemption from bondage to sin, condemnation, and death, and our adoption as sons and daughters of God and citizens of the kingdom of heaven. John very likely sent his disciples to Jesus because he wanted them to hear and see firsthand for themselves the signs and proof that the Messiah had indeed come in the person of Jesus who was sent by the Father in heaven and anointed by the Spirit at the River Jordan.

The Messiah performs the signs of God’s kingdom power
The miracles which Jesus performed and the message he proclaimed about the coming of God’s kingdom in his person was a direct fulfillment of what the prophets had foretold many centuries before (see Isaiah 29:18-19; 35:5-6; 61:1). Isaiah had prophesied that the Messiah would come in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring freedom and new life for all who were oppressed by afflictions, infirmities, sin and guilt, and demonic spirits (see Isaiah 61:1-2).

Jesus came in the power of God’s kingdom to release those bound up by sin, fear, and hopelessness. His miracles and exorcisms are direct signs of God’s power and presence and they confirm that the Father has sent his only begotten Son to be our Messiah (which means the Anointed One) and Savior.

Through Jesus’ atoning death on the cross and through the power of his resurrection we receive the first-fruits of God’s kingdom – the forgiveness of our sins, adoption as sons and daughters of God, new life in the Holy Spirit, and the promise that we will be raised to everlasting life with God in his kingdom. The Gospel is “good news” for all who receive it and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you know and witness to others the joy and good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

“Lord Jesus, you are the fulfillment of all our hopes and desires. Set my heart aflame with the fire of your love and with the power of the Holy Spirit that I may boldly witness the joy of the Gospel and serve your kingdom wherever you place me.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/dec14.htm

Saint of the Day: St. John of the Cross (b. 1542)
Born in Spain in 1542, John learned the importance of self-sacrificing love from his parents. His father gave up wealth, status, and comfort when he married a weaver’s daughter and was disowned by his noble family. After his father died, his mother kept the destitute family together as they wandered homeless in search of work. These were the examples of sacrifice that John followed with his own great love — God.

When the family finally found work, John still went hungry in the middle of the wealthiest city in Spain. At fourteen, John took a job caring for hospital patients who suffered from incurable diseases and madness. It was out of this poverty and suffering, that John learned to search for beauty and happiness not in the world, but in God.

After John joined the Carmelite order, Saint Teresa of Avila asked him to help her reform movement. John supported her belief that the order should return to its life of prayer. But many Carmelites felt threatened by this reform, and some members of John’s own order kidnapped him. He was locked in a cell six feet by ten feet and beaten three times a week by the monks. There was only one tiny window high up near the ceiling. Yet in that unbearable dark, cold, and desolation, his love and faith were like fire and light. He had nothing left but God — and God brought John his greatest joys in that tiny cell.

After nine months, John escaped by unscrewing the lock on his door and creeping past the guard. Taking only the mystical poetry he had written in his cell, he climbed out a window using a rope made of stirps of blankets. With no idea where he was, he followed a dog to civilization. He hid from pursuers in a convent infirmary where he read his poetry to the nuns. From then on his life was devoted to sharing and explaining his experience of God’s love.

His life of poverty and persecution could have produced a bitter cynic. Instead it gave birth to a compassionate mystic, who lived by the beliefs that “Who has ever seen people persuaded to love God by harshness?” and “Where there is no love, put love — and you will find love.”

John left us many books of practical advice on spiritual growth and prayer that are just as relevant today as they were then. These books include:
Ascent of Mount Carmel
Dark Night of the Soul
and A Spiritual Canticle of the Soul and the Bridegroom Christ

Since joy comes only from God, John believed that someone who seeks happiness in the world is like “a famished person who opens his mouth to satisfy himself with air.” He taught that only by breaking the rope of our desires could we fly up to God. Above all, he was concerned for those who suffered dryness or depression in their spiritual life and offered encouragement that God loved them and was leading them deeper into faith.

“What more do you want, o soul! And what else do you search for outside, when within yourself you possess your riches, delights, satisfaction and kingdom — your beloved whom you desire and seek? Desire him there, adore him there. Do not go in pursuit of him outside yourself. You will only become distracted and you won’t find him, or enjoy him more than by seeking him within you.” — Saint John of the Cross
http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=65

More Saints of the Day
St. Agnellus
St. Bartholomew Buonpedoni
St. Drusus
St. Fingar
St. Heron
St. John of the Cross
St. Jucundus
St. Justus & Abundius
St. Matronian
St. Nicasius of Reims
St. Nimatullah al-Hardini
St. Pompeius of Pavia
St. Spyridon of Tremithius
St. Venantius Fortunatus
St. Viator

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas

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