Whispers – Daily Mass Quotes begins after this Intro.
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Then the LORD said (to Elijah), “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will be passing by.” A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD – but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake – but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire – but the LORD was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave. A voice said to him, “Elijah, why are you here?”
1 Kings 19:11-13
Why are YOU here, beloved?
Was it to discover magnificent colors? Was it to find colorful music or awesome videos? Was it just curiosity? Was it accidental? Were you really looking for God, for Hope, for true LOVE somewhere in this menagerie we call the web?
You are Loved!!
Let’s follow the Scriptures of our daily Mass and see if we can catch those Words – simple but beautiful – Whispers to the Wind . . .
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(St. John Bosco, Priest)
“Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense. Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me. For I acknowledge my offense, and my sin is before me always: ‘Against you only have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight.’” Ps 51
One part of religion that we do our darndest to avoid: is talk about sin! Yet, we all do it. Nobody is immune! Even King David in today’s reading from the Second Book of Samuel, messed up ‘royally’ by indulging in a sensual passion (2Sm 11:1-17). She looked good, and besides, he was the King – so he took her. Unfortunately God has given us the beauty of sex for the sole purpose of reproducing – not for our own selfish pleasure!! And reproduction it was! But, oops, David, in a moment of weakness just happened to forget that even though he was King, he is NOT God! And she was not his.
SIN!And what happens when we sin? We get to feeling guilty and want to hide it, rather than reconciling it. And hiding it usually leads to more sin and more and more until we are immersed in it! David’s sin of adultery led to murder, dissension, distrust and eventually even the death of the offspring of that original oops.
And that’s where religion comes all the way back around again, with the loving mercy of God – IF we can finally come to recognize the sin within us and repent!
You see, God loves us no matter what. But when we sin, we separate ourselves from God, and from that Love, and we replace it with everything Satan stands for – evil. But evil doesn’t love, only God loves! And our human nature craves LOVE!
So what are we to do, beloved? Well, first we have to let go of all our hangups about sin. Yes, we’re sinners! We recognize that. Now, lets find out what it is we’ve done wrong and right it. Repent! Say the prayer of Psalm 51, mean it, and GET LOVED!
May our Loving God, bless you always, in Jesus’ Name,
AMEN! : )
Jesus said to his disciples, “Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to come to light. Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.” Mk 4:21-25
Well, what ever happened to good old common sense? Jesus is expressing exactly that today. To those with ears and eyes, it’s obvious. That silent majority! And yet deeper within this saying is a warning too: God knows all! There are no dark shadows, there are no hidden closets. Right is right and wrong is wrong, even when they think they can drag it out of a closet and shove it in our faces!
Jesus is our light.
Remember always, beloved, to stay in His light.
And silently, ever so silently, let his message be known – even to the ends of the earth!
Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand any of the parables? The sower sows the word. These are the ones on the path where the word is sown.“ Mk 4:1-20
The ones on the path are all those who call themselves Christians. Yet, just because one calls himself a Christian or wears a cross around her neck, doesn’t mean they are really followers of the Word. Jesus gives several examples of how people miss the mark when it comes to being a true follower of the Word. It takes dedication, perseverance and courage. Because there is a whole world out there that disagrees and wants to bring us to an end. Jesus and the Holy Spirit will help. We must stay in the Word always and in doing so, we will often have to let go of little pieces of the World within us that will fight against Christ.
So be strong, beloved, and His Kingdom will be yours!
(St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church)
Jesus said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
We are those siblings and parents and children of Jesus, beloved.
Blessed be the Lord our God!
(St. Angela Merici)
Jesus said to the scribes and the people, “all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.” Mk 3:22-30
The Holy Spirit is within all of us. And whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit blasphemes against himself, besides God. If there is any thread of belief in self, then there is still hope for that person. Believe, beloved, that the Holy Spirit within us has the power to forgive us and to save us for eternity!
(Third Sunday Ordinary Time A)
When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee . . . From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Mt 4:12-23
John the Baptist’s time had come to fulfillment and now Jesus’ ministry truly began. John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. It was a preparation for something greater – the coming of Jesus. Jesus’ baptism was a baptism of repentance for the entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven, which He brought about. Jesus is the key that unlocks the door, the ticket that allows entrance and now it’s up to us to use Him. And that is accomplished by letting Him into our hearts and lives, every day, every minute. The Kingdom of God is at hand – seize it, beloved, and come!
(Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul)
Saul, who later would become Paul, said “On that journey as I drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ I replied, ‘Who are you, sir?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.’“
Jesus calls EVERYONE, not to persecute, but to open an ear and an eye to the awesome message of Good News. Haven’t heard any good news lately? Maybe it’s time to listen.
Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” Mk 16:15-18
There is good news, beloved! There IS eternal life. Jesus died that we may have it. God loves us so much that he gave us Jesus, for our salvation. There is HOPE. So all we need do is bear this world a little longer. Make it the best place we can, by speaking about the hope and not the dread. Jesus loves YOU, no matter what anyone else may make you feel inside. And that’s some pretty AWESOME Good News!
(St. Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church)
David questioned Saul’s motive for seeking to take his life: “Whom are you pursuing? A dead dog, or a single flea!” 1 Sm 24:3-21
There’s some kind of trick to offering knowledge or asking questions that I’ve never been very good at. People either take me to be some kind of ‘know it all’ or treat me like an idiot, neither of which I believe myself to be. So a long time ago, I gave up on doing either. Thank God for the internet! David seems to have had the same feeling, especially in his relationship with King Saul. Here he was doing everything he could for the good of Israel, for the sake of God and for the honor of his King, and Saul was out to kill him. Why!!!! Couldn’t he see that David was on HIS side! And who was David anyway? In the eyes of God, in the eyes of His King, he was nothing but a tiny flea. Hmmm. So they demote us and they fire us, and they never offer us a another job, and they even kill us – just as they did the prophets and John the Baptist and even Jesus – God Himself.
But God DOES know us, beloved.
EVEN us little fleas.
So we thank you David, for being our model.
We thank you Jesus, for going to the extreme,
for dying for us, our best model!
For there IS Hope!
So praise God, for us little fleas!!!
And keep on hoppin’
In God, in whose promise I glory,
in God I trust without fear;
what can flesh do against me? Ps 56
“In God We Trust”.
Still our U.S. National Motto.
Still on all our money.
Still in most of our hearts,
as it was in David’s,
as it is in Jesus’.
We trust in God, even when all else fails.
(Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children)
“Don’t forget that He whom the whole universe cannot contain, was “hidden” in the womb of the Holy Virgin for nine months. Once you realize this, you will be awe-filled for the double mystery that God has confided to you: to conceive a human being made to God’s image and likeness, and to give birth to him…”
— Alice von Hildebrand, Philosopher, “Letter to a Young Girl”
God, author of all life,
bless, we pray, all unborn children.
Give constant protection and grant healthy births
which are signs of our rebirth
into the eternal joy of heaven…
(Edited excerpt from the Prayer of Blessing, USCCB)
. . . . . . . . .
Ironically, all of our Mass readings today speak about death, rather than Life. Young David graphically dispatches the Philistine, Goliath (1 Sm 17:32-51). Our Psalm reading says, “Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war“ Ps 144. And after Jesus heals another disfigured brother on the sabbath, the Pharisees are also out to kill him.
Yet there is one quote from Jesus today, that negates all the evil, all the vindictiveness that we suffer within our human hearts. Jesus, quite dismayed at the cold attitude of the Pharisees, asked, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?“ Mk 3:1-6
You see, beloved, beyond the anger, the hurt, the revenge that fills our hearts when we’ve been hurt by others; beyond the selfishness that brings us to war because our possessions were damaged or stolen by others; beyond the selfishness that brings us to kill an indefensible fetus in the womb – the very product of a maybe-fleeting love or even a forced sexual encounter; we seem to forget the ultimate value of ALL Life – LIFE that we ourselves are!
The sabbath was the day on which all work was to be postponed so that God might be foremost in their and our thoughts. But when we place God above the value of Life, we’re actually smiting God by our own self centeredness. God IS in the preserving of that life. God is in the healing, and God is in the Love that we offer others EVERY DAY, and especially on the sabbath. We are believers in LIFE, in all it’s forms and despite our natural greed.
Jesus died that we may have LIFE!
And it’s LIFE that we offer back to Him!
Praise the Lord.
(St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr)
After Samuel had inspected all of the sons of Jesse and found none worthy of kingship, he learned that there was yet another . . .
Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them. He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold and making a splendid appearance. The LORD said, “There, anoint him, for this is he!” Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand, anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and from that day on, the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David. 1 Sm 16:1-13
Good Scripture to show in another way, that it is not always the tall or the muscular or the boisterous one who proves to be the best. Little, ruddy, outcast David then became the Lord’s chosen one, the new King of Israel! And upon his anointing we see prefigured the anointing in our own Confirmations, the anointing in our Baptisms, like that of Jesus, in which the Spirit of the Lord “rushes” upon us. And that’s pretty awesome!!!
In our Gospel reading today, the disciples of Jesus were picking grain while the Pharisees were picking nits. Jesus answered their complain about sabbath work saying, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.“ Mk 2:23-28
Sometimes we just have to be very careful with what nits we are picking. God must always be the center of all our decisions and actions! And Jesus will always help us with those decisions.
God bless, beloved!
Jesus said, “no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.” Mk 2:18-22
This is why we have new generations. This is why the new and old generations don’t always see eye to eye. The older generations have seen a lot of wine. They know a good wine from a bad one. But the newer generations don’t have that experience. Yet, unlike their wise elders, the younger ones are still very flexible. They have more room to bend and flex when they’re hit with the bad that comes in life. The elders, on the other hand, are just trying to save the younger a lot of unnecessary aggravation and hurt. Thus the world goes on . . . And we keep on making the same old mistakes over and over again.
Sometimes the elders can learn from the youth as well. Maybe some things are just not worth fretting over. This is what Jesus was trying to get over to the Pharisees.
Let go a little and let God a lot!
(Second Sunday, Ordinary Time)
John the Baptist said of Jesus:
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.“ Jn 1:29-34
Only possible through God. Only possible by God.
Salvation! Forgiveness of Sin.
No greater Beholding.
Kish, the Benjaminite, had a son named Saul, who was a handsome young man. There was no other child of Israel more handsome than Saul; he stood head and shoulders above the people. Now the asses of Saul’s father, Kish, had wandered off. Kish said to his son Saul, “Take one of the servants with you and go out and hunt for the asses.” 1 Sm 9:1-4, 17-19; 10:1
So who said there was no humor in the Bible? Here we have the very first, official King of Israel – the ass hunter! Guess looks can be deceiving!
And not necessarily related, but coincidentally read on the same day: Jesus was also out hunting (disciples)!
While he was at table in his (Levi’s) house, many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him.
Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus heard this and said to them, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” Mk 2:13-17
Funny, sometimes it just may be US who are being hunted!
May God bless us richly, beloved, for we have heard His call and came!
(St. Anthony of the Desert, Abbot)
In the days of Samuel the great prophet and seer, the Israelites
. . . refused to listen to Samuel’s warning and said, “Not so! There must be a king over us. We too must be like other nations, with a king to rule us and to lead us in warfare and fight our battles.” 1 Sm 8:4-7, 10-22a
Losing all faith in God, they longed to be inferior, like the other nations!
Jesus said to the paralytic man, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Mk 2:1-12
If they only knew! They were absolutely right. God, Jesus forgave his sins. But you know what, brothers and sisters in Christ? We can forgive others sins against us as well! All it takes is a compassionate heart and the Love of God within us!
Homily for today:
There is an interesting twist of irony between our first reading and the Gospel today. In the Scripture we heard from the Book of Samuel, the Israelites are pleading with Samuel, their Spiritual Leader, to appoint a king for them. It seemed they not only lost their faith in God, but in Samuel’s successors as well. And being leaderless, they were willing to give up their freedom, their earnings and even their land, in order to have a worldly Leader. In essence, they felt that they needed a new God. And they thought in their minds, that a man could fill those shoes just as well – in serving as their king.
Then in Mark’s Gospel reading, we hear just the opposite. In spite of the fact that Jesus had attracted so many people, just to listen to His Words, that there was not even enough room in the house for them all . . . And in spite of the fact that after He had earned such a reputation for curing and healing people, that they were tearing the roof apart to get close to him . . . The simple mention of forgiving sins, just blew the scribes away, because they had created their own God in their Temple and in themselves. And they didn’t need nor want another leader, and especially God – in the form of man, because that was a threat to their own self-proclaimed Godliness.
So there we are in the first case, where the Israelites lost the Spirituality of God and only wanted a physical Leader. And in the second case, the scribes only wanted the untouchable Spirituality of God and not His physical reality, in Jesus.
And yet, both cases were similar, in that we, mankind, always seem to want to define our Creator ourselves, rather than accepting the fact that someone so unfathomable to our little minds, as God, actually defines us. It would be like an ant trying to understand and explain a remote control vehicle riding around on the planet Mars.
Which then brings us to the question. Who is OUR God? Have we placed God in our own little box? Or can we be open minded enough to see God in the smallest child, or in the poorest refugee, or in the richest sultan?
In the time period that followed the Exodus of Israel from Egypt and their acquisition of the land of Canaan, the Israelites became lax at keeping their faith in the Lord their God and following His precepts. As a result they began to lose battles with their adversaries, the Philistines. After one such loss, they asked (themselves) . . .
“Why has the LORD permitted us to be defeated today by the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the LORD from Shiloh that it may go into battle among us and save us from the grasp of our enemies.” 1 Sm 4:1-11
Ever fail at something, beloved, and then try to force it, or fix it, or re-do it in every way, but the “right” way? The Israelites realized that they had forgotten to place God before all their actions. And then when they remembered, they didn’t rely on God’s help, but on the help of an “amulet,” a lucky charm. Well, God is not a lucky charm! And in the process of misusing the Sacred Ark, the Israelites ended up losing it all together.
Sometimes, beloved, we just need to step back, take a breath and come back to God, before we do anything more wrong. Sometimes we also need to remember that all the amulets we admire: our rosaries, our statues, our special seats in church, are all just passing things compared to the Holiness of God, of Jesus within our own hearts! Give thanks to Him. And recognize that without Him, we are nothing. But through Him we are all, His special children!
Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
Ps 40 response
“To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!” Ps 40
When Samuel went to sleep in his place,
the LORD came and revealed his presence,
calling out as before, “Samuel, Samuel!”
“Speak, for your servant is listening.”
1 Sm 3:1-20
Do we hear His call, beloved?
Or do we ignore it?
Or is the noise so loud around us
that we can’t hear it?
Maybe we need to listen a little closer.
Maybe we need to open our hearts
and minds to endless possibilities,
even some we may not think we like.
Maybe we need a little quiet, first.
He’s calling each and every one of us . . .
And then, on the other side, beloved, like me,
maybe when we constantly hear the beating of
our own hearts in our ears, it means we
need a little more noise.
A little more companionship.
A little more readers and comments!!!
Here I am, Lord!
In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!” The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him. Mk 1:21-28
It’s interesting to notice that Jesus didn’t rebuke the man. He rebuked the unclean spirit in the man. It is a very important lesson from Jesus to us as well, beloved. When someone belittles us or is flat-out mean to us, do we get upset at that person? Or do we realize that it’s not the person, but the unclean spirit within them who is producing the evil.
We really don’t have to take that abuse, but we do have to be very careful that we don’t become just like the evil spirit who’s hurting us, by our hatred or revenge. We are to love the person, because, like us, he/she is also a Child of God. We are to pray to God to remove that evil within them.
And our loving them, despite the evil, will often be enough to defeat that evil as well – with the help of Jesus!
(St. Hilary of Poitiers)
In the beginning . . .
As he (Jesus) passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Then they left their nets and followed him. Mk 1:14-20
I’ve always said, “I couldn’t sell a glass of water to
a thirsting nomad in the desert – for free!”
Jesus just had a way!
And they left EVERYTHING!
Their job, their father, their families . . .
to follow Him!
Lord, Help me to be more like them.
To let go of all that this world makes me think I can’t live without.
And live ONLY for You!
(The Baptism of the Lord)
The Prophet Isaiah said, “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit; . . a bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,“ Is 42:1-4, 6-7
Why could I never find an employer with those standards? Seems they only hire people in those positions who enjoy demolishing reeds and stamping out smoldering wicks!
Praise God for Jesus, His Servant and our Lord!
“After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Mt 3:13-17
John the Baptist spoke of Jesus saying,
“He must increase; I must decrease.” Jn 3:22-30
Something we can say to ourselves a hundred times a day!
Jesus must increase in us and
the greed and selfishness of ‘I’ must decrease.
The more we can convince ourselves
of this, beloved, the better
we will become –
in the Eyes of God and the world!
And Jesus will help us, always!
St. John wrote,
“Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
“So there are three who testify, (to this Truth) the Spirit, the water, and the Blood, and the three are of one accord.”
“Whoever believes in the Son of God has this testimony within himself.”
“And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever possesses the Son has life;“
“I write these things to you so that you may know that you have eternal life, you who believe in the name of the Son of God.”
1 Jn 5:5-13
St. John said, “God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. In this is love brought to perfection among us, that we have confidence on the day of judgment because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear” 1 Jn 4:11-18
This is our eternal Goal, beloved, perfect Love! Only attainable through Jesus Christ. We begin by recognizing our own worth. Jesus would not have died for us if we did not have that. Then we move on to loving our friends and family – despite the differences, despite the disagreements – we Love them as we love Jesus. And from there we move on to loving our enemies. And when we can honestly say in our own hearts that we do not have any enemies – that we love all as we love Jesus, then we’re getting closer to that perfect love, St. John speaks of. There is no fear, there is no hatred, there is only peace and love. THAT’s our goal. Maybe not easy, but with Jesus’ help, we Can do it! Strive on, beloved. And may our loving God bless you always!
(St. Raymond of Pennafort)
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only-begotten Son into the world so that we might have life through him. 1 Jn 4:7-10
SO THAT WE MIGHT HAVE LIFE THROUGH HIM !
. . taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he (Jesus) said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; he also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied… Those who ate of the loaves were five thousand men. Mk 6:34-44
Love and live!
(St. Andre Bessette)
You belong to God, children,
and you have conquered them,
for the one who is in you
is greater than the one
who is in the world.
1 Jn 3:22-4:6
WE belong to God, beloved!
What more awesome, Good News, is possible!
This is what John said about “them” and “the world.”
“Beloved, do not trust every spirit
but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God,
because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
This is how you can know the Spirit of God:
every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh
belongs to God,
and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus
does not belong to God.
This is the spirit of the antichrist
who, as you heard, is to come,
but in fact is already in the world.” ibid.
(The Epiphany of the Lord)
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” . . .
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Mt 2:1-12
The Star, the magi, the evil king, and the Child with His Mother.
Where and when do we find the Child and His Mother, beloved?
Are they out there somewhere? Or are they ‘in here’?
Are they so imbedded within our hearts that we
don’t really have to go anywhere to be with them?
(St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious)
After John the Baptist’s declaration that Jesus is the “Lamb of God,” the long-awaited Messiah, two of his disciples left John and followed Jesus. Andrew, one of the two, sought out his own brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah,” which is translated Christ. Then he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas,” which is translated Peter. Jn 1:35-42
Nicknames are funny things. Very often we are given nicknames when we’re young, or even as we grow up and join different groups. The nickname might represent something we did or how we look to others. Those nicknames could burden us through our lives, and sometimes we just might like to burn away that era of the past and start anew.
In Biblical times, nicknames were more often given to represent a significant change in one’s life. Abram became Abraham, Jacob became Israel and Simon bar-John became Peter, the Rock. And upon that “Rock” Jesus built His Church. Jesus could see in this rather boisterous young man the potential to organize, to befriend and to build upon the teachings he would receive from Jesus over the next three years. And despite many setbacks, build he did. Peter is considered the very first Pope in the Church Jesus started. And that Catholic Church still stands today, 2000 years later.
Praise be to God, beloved. And thanks to Peter who assisted Jesus in His Heavenly mission!
John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him (Jesus).” Jn_1:29-34
The first twelve chapters of the John’s Gospel are called the Book of Signs. We might consider these like road signs, pointing us in the direction of getting to know WHO Jesus truly is. For example, from those signs we can see that Jesus is ‘Almighty,’ as He walks on water to save His disciples. We can see that Jesus is our Healer, as He gives Sight to the Blind. And then, there are examples where Jesus Feeds us, Forgives us, and even Raises us from death, like Lazarus, to New Life in Him.
In these early verses of John’s Gospel, John is working on introducing Jesus to the Jewish people, whose whole religion was based on stories describing the signs of God. Signs that were shown through people like Abraham, Moses and Elijah. You see, these people were very familiar with terms like “the Lamb of God,” that came from the paschal or Passover Lambs that were eaten at the time of the Exodus. They were familiar with God’s lambs that were Sacrificed by the Priests in the Holy Temple for the atonement of sins. And they were familiar with the lamb as a symbol of the Conquering Warrior, sent by God to lead His people to safety, in the days of the Maccabees.
So here in this first chapter of John’s Gospel, John is declaring that Jesus IS that Lamb of God who would offer Himself as a sacrifice to take away sins and to lead His people to safety. He IS their long-awaited Messiah or Savior.
And why, we might ask, does John the Baptist declare such a radical thought? Because he, himself, had seen a revelation, a sign from God, that proved it.
Now keep in mind that John had baptized hundreds or thousands of people. Today, we would say that he was a Certified Professional at baptism. You know how, when you get really, really good at something, you become an expert at seeing – even the most minute details. In his expertise, John the Baptist saw that something was clearly different about Jesus’ baptism. John saw the Holy Spirit descend like a dove upon Jesus.
Never before, in all the thousands of baptisms he had done, did John witness such a sign. You see, the dove was another well-known sign for the Jewish people. It was considered a sacred bird that was not hunted, nor eaten, because it was a tame creature.
It was the dove that Noah sent out from the ark after the Great Flood, to find a dwelling place for his family. And it is that same dove, the Holy Spirit, that John saw descend and REMAIN upon Jesus.
In His Baptism, Jesus became the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, to teach, and to share, and to offer the Wisdom of God to all who would listen. It would be three years of this ministry, before Jesus would be crucified, rise from death, and ascend to a heavenly dwelling with His Father.
And then, He would send that dove, the Holy Spirit, to dwell within the hearts of His believers, on that first Pentecost. But this time, rather than using the symbolism of a gentle dove, Luke describes the descent of the Holy Spirit as tongues of fire . . . The fire of God’s love dwelling within our own hearts. The fire that burns away our sin and enlightens our path, so that we may always walk and act in the righteousness of knowing Jesus, of dwelling IN Him, and He IN us.
What an incredible reminder and blessing, beloved, that we can carry into this New Year!
(Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church)
John the Baptist answered the Levites’ inquisition about his identity by saying, “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.“ Jn 1:19-28
There is a path, beloved, that leads to our hearts. We may have placed a blockade with a gate and a lock in the way that path, because we’ve been hurt by allowing abusers in. We may have twisted the path with such contortion that we can’t even find the way in ourselves any more, or maybe ‘the world’ had done that for us. Maybe we feel that our hearts themselves have been obliterated by some suicide bomber terrorist.
John the Baptist was the first true advocate for Jesus. He pleaded with the people of his time to “Make straight the path for the Lord.” Unlock your gates. Open your hearts. For Jesus is not an abuser, nor a terrorist. Jesus will stay with you. He will make His dwelling within you, and bring you peace. A peace that will begin with accepting yourself – as the ‘Child of God’ you were created to be. A love that no words can define and no other person can fulfill. He IS what we’ve been searching for our whole lives.
When we make straight the path and open our hearts to Jesus, we’ll discover a whole new life. A life of Hope, a life of Fulfillment, and a life of Joy in the Lord. From there, then, we can slowly begin to open that path to others too, with the understanding that not all others may be welcome – even though they are still loved by God in His own way. Jesus will protect us – even unto death!
Praise the Lord!
(Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God)
“The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger.“ Lk 2:16-21
Mother, Step-father, and the Son of God – God the Son!
Blessed be the womb that bore the Son of God. Not easy would be her path. To see the Son she bore, the Son she nurtured and taught and raised – be mocked and tortured and murdered. But behind it all there is the Truth. The truth the world was so blind to see. The Truth that our very salvation derives from this little infant, the boy who would in turn teach and nurture and raise us from the soil of sin to the Glory of His Kingdom.
And a very happy New Year to you, beloved!
In the words of Moses,
May the LORD bless you and keep you!
And may the LORD let his face shine upon you,
and be gracious to you!
May the LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!
. . . . . . .
Happy January beloved!
Please stop by and visit December’s Daily Mass Quotes too…
EARLIER MONTH’S QUOTES can be found
in monthly subcategories of – “Whispers“
Link to Previous Month’s Whispers
Link to Next Month’s Whispers
Link back to Whispers to the Wind
Link to Saint of the Day
(also in Time page, under Liturgical Seasons section)
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