Faith Catholic's Electronic Web view We will respond to voicemails and emails received Dec. 23, 2015

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Transcript of Faith Catholic's Electronic Web view We will respond to voicemails and emails received Dec. 23, 2015

DECEMBER

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Dear Subscribers,

The FAITH Catholic offices will be closed beginning on December 23, 2015 until January 5, 2016 to allow employees time with their families.

Due to this closing, if you have not received your Jan.-Mar. issue of either the Commentary & Universal Prayer or Homilies by Dec. 15th, please notify our office and we will mail a duplicate issue to you.

You may also download the month of January from our website: www.FaithCatholic.com/sample.

We will respond to voicemails and emails received Dec. 23, 2015 to Jan. 4, 2016 in the order they were received beginning Jan. 5, 2016.

When contacting us by email or telephone, please include your account number, phone number, zip code, and contact name to ensure a faster response.

Thank you!

Faith Catholic Customer Service

CustomerService@FaithCatholic.com

Toll free 1-866-763-2484

Tuesday, December 1, 2015 TUESDAY

(Lec. 176) OF ADVENT

1) Isaiah 11:1-10 - FIRST WEEK

2) Luke 10:21-24

Gospel related: CCC 1083, 2603

FOCUS: God fulfills his promises in wondrous, unexpected ways.

Many are familiar with the Jesse tree. During the Middle Ages, the Jesse tree was often a large painting, carving or stained-glass window designed to help people learn about the Old Testament ancestors of Jesus. Today, the Jesse tree is frequently used as an Advent calendar. Each day through Advent, a special decoration or ornament is hung on the tree to symbolize a story from the Bible, accompanied by a Scripture reading and prayer. It reflects the many generations that awaited the longed-for Messiah.

Jesse, after whom this customary tree is named, lived in Bethlehem about a thousand years before Jesus was born. He had eight sons. His youngest was David, the shepherd boy chosen by God to become the great king of Israel. God promised King David that he would establish his kingdom as everlasting.

Yet, by the time the prophet Isaiah penned today’s first reading, the kingdom of Israel had split, its remnants weakened to the point that they would soon collapse. The image is that of a green tree cut down. Isaiah trusted that God would always be true to his promises, but in a hidden, unexpected way. Filled with hope, Isaiah wrote, A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. Isaiah knew of this cutting down – the destruction of the nation, the country, the city. Still, he says there shall come forth a shoot, just a little sprout that many will overlook, and The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, a Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a Spirit of counsel and of strength, the Spirit of knowledge, and of fear of the Lord.

In the wondrous irony of God's design, the name Nazareth derives from a Hebrew word meaning a sprout. And it was precisely in the town of Nazareth that, in the fullness of time, the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that the Lord God would give Jesus the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end. The promise made a thousand years before to David, and the glorious dream sustained by Isaiah, find fulfillment in Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah and Lord.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit that what was hidden from the worldly wise has been revealed to the childlike. King David and the prophet Isaiah were among the prophets and kings who had childlike faith that, despite every challenge, God would always remain faithful and fulfill his promises in a wonderful and unexpected way. We, too, are called to share this joy and hope. The prophet sees the Messiah filled with the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. We, too, receive these gifts at confirmation. Let it be our prayer to follow, in love and childlike trust, the mystery of the Father's will.

* * * * *

Wednesday, December 2, 2015 WEDNESDAY

(Lec. 177)

OF ADVENT

1) Isaiah 25:6-10a - FIRST WEEK

2) Matthew 15:29-37

Gospel related: CCC 1329, 1335

FOCUS: The abundance of giving.

In sacred Scripture, God is often encountered on a mountain: Mount Sinai, where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments; the mount of the beatitudes; and the mount of the transfiguration. In the first reading, Isaiah raises his eyes to a mountain on which the Lord God will prepare for all peoples a rich banquet, destroy the veil of death and wipe away the tears of sorrow. The Gospel sustains this theme by taking us to a mountain near the Sea of Galilee where Jesus healed the lame and the blind, and others in need of healing.

It seems that this vast crowd wanted to stay on the mountain with Jesus. They had been there three days, and the Lord was concerned about their well-being on their return trip home. For him, it was not enough that he had cured their physical and spiritual ailments; with great tenderness, he nourishes them before they make their way. He takes a small amount of food – seven loaves and a few fish – and, at the breaking of the bread, multiplies it. The leftover fragments fill seven baskets. The number seven indicates completion, perfection. He takes our small gifts and transforms them for his greater purposes. The bountiful feast Jesus provides is a sign of the perfect abundance and joy-filled mercy that the Messiah brings.

Yet it is not merely to supply us with earthly healing and food that the Lord meets us on the mountain. He also invites us to go up with him to Jerusalem, to the mount of Calvary. For it is there that his mercy and love reach their supreme height as he is lifted up on the cross. On Calvary, the veil of death is torn in two, sorrow is turned to the joyous victory of the resurrection, and the fullest healing – forgiveness of our sins – is accomplished.

Many people throughout the world are inspired by the life of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, an athletic young man who died from polio at age twenty-four. He was a mountaineer who would love to take his friends climbing in the mountains of northern Italy. He would pray with them, and encourage them: “Onward, toward the summit!”

Today, the Lord invites us to meet him in the Eucharist, “the source and summit of the Christian life,” according to the catechism. (CCC 1324-27) There, he will give us himself as our abundant food for the journey. Let us be strengthened by him to follow his example of mercy, especially in this Holy Year, the Jubilee of Mercy. Let us use our gifts, however small they may be, to serve the physical and spiritual needs of our neighbor, giving thanks for the lavish generosity God shares with us every day.

* * * * *

Thursday, December 3, 2015 THURSDAY

(Lec. 178)

OF ADVENT

1) Isaiah 26:1-6 - FIRST WEEK

2) Matthew 7:21, 24-27 (OBL. MEM.

Saint Francis Xavier, Priest)

Gospel related: CCC 443, 1821, 1970, 2611, 2826; CSDC 70

FOCUS: Will we be welcomed into the kingdom of heaven?

The other day two women were discussing a national Catholic conference for pastoral musicians hosted in their hometown. The first woman shared anecdotes about volunteering at the conference. Her enthusiasm in describing the workshops presented by well-known musical artists, the prayer services and the Masses was infectious. The week deepened her understanding of liturgy and music.

The second woman, unimpressed, replied that she had heard about the conference but knew all she needed to know about music and Mass. She knew what she liked and what she didn’t. This response baffled the first woman, because an opportunity to grow in understanding of the liturgy, on that scale, does not happen every day in your hometown. The first woman heard about the conference and acted on it. The second woman heard the news and determined she knew all she needed to know.

Today’s Gospel reading is much like the conversation between those two women. Jesus states, Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Just because we think we know all we need to know about Jesus, like the second woman did about the Mass, does not mean we will be welcomed into the kingdom of heaven. We must do the will of the Father. We must act on it much like the first woman did in volunteering for the conference.

Desiring to know Jesus demands action. Our action leads us into a deeper understanding and appreciation. That understanding and appreciation compels us to share our experience with others.

We must seize opportunities that enable us to strengthen our faith. We must act on the faith we have. Much like the strong city in the first reading, we do not do this alone. We are members of a community of faith. We are strengthened by the sacraments and sustained through the Holy Spirit. Do not be passive during this Advent season of waiting. Attend an Advent prayer service, receive the sacrament of reconciliation, participate in a Bible study.

We must know the will of the Father in order to do his will. When we do, we will truly know whom we are addressing when we say Lord, Lord. Only then will we be welcomed into the heavenly kingdom.

* * * * *

Friday, December 4, 2015 FRIDAY

(Lec. 179)

OF ADVENT

1) Isaiah 29:17-24 - FIRST WEEK

2) Matthew 9:27-31 (Opt. Mem. Saint John Damascene,

Priest and Doctor of the Church)

Gospel related: CCC 439, 2616; CSDC 259

FO