Readings 20141205

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2014, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net

Are there any blind-spots in your life that keep you from recognizing God’s power and mercy? When two blind men heard that Jesus was passing their way, they followed him and begged for his mercy. The word mercy literally means “sorrowful at heart”. But mercy is something more than compassion, or heartfelt sorrow at another’s misfortune. Compassion empathizes with the sufferer. But mercy goes further; it removes suffering. A merciful person shares in another’s misfortune and suffering as if it were their own. When two blind men approached Jesus, he questioned their earnestness. “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” Jesus put them to the test, not to rebuff them, but to strengthen their faith and trust in God’s mercy. He touched their eyes, both to identify with their affliction and to awaken faith in them. Their faith grew as they responded to his word with confident hope. Jesus restored their sight – both physically and spiritually to the reality of God’s kingdom. Faith opens the way for us to see the power of God’s kingdom and to experience his healing presence in our lives.

In Jesus we see the fulness of God’s mercy and the power of his kingdom – power to save from death and destruction, to forgive sins and lift the burden of guilt, and to heal infirmities and release the oppressed. Jesus never refused to bring God’s mercy to those who earnestly sought it. How can we seek and obtain God’s mercy? God gives mercy to the lowly in heart – to those who recognize their need for God and for his forgiveness and healing power.

God wants to change and transform our lives to set us free to live as his sons and daughters and citizens of his kingdom. Faith is key to this transformation. How can we grow in faith? Faith is a gift freely given by God to help us know God personally, to understand his truth, and to live in the power of his love. For faith to be effective it must be linked with trust and obedience – an active submission to God and a willingness to do whatever he commands. The Lord Jesus wants us to live in the confident expectation that he will fulfill his promises to us and bring us into the fulness of his kingdom – a kingdom of  righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). Do you know the peace and joy of God’s kingdom? “Lord Jesus, help me to draw near to you with faith and trust in your saving power and mercy. Free me from doubt and unbelief that I may approach you confidently and pray boldly with expectant faith. Let your kingdom come and may your will be done in me.”

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2014. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com  

THE SIGHT OF CHRISTMAS  

Jesus “touched their eyes and said, ‘Because of your faith it shall be done to you’; and they recovered their sight.” —Matthew 9:29-30  

The Church prepares us for Christ’s Christmas coming by proclaiming Jesus healing the blind (see also Is 29:18; 35:5). This applies not only to the physically blind, but especially to the spiritually blind, who have been blinded by the darkness of sin (see 1 Jn 2:11) and “the god of the present age” (see 2 Cor 4:4). The cause of spiritual blindness is sin, and we are freed from spiritual blindness by repentance. When we sin, it is as if we take a knife and stab our eyes with it (see Is 29:9). When we repent and go to Confession, it is like having an operation in which our sight is restored.

The physically blind will be able to see Christ this Christmas through the eyes of faith, but the spiritually blind cannot have a true Christmas because they cannot see the Christ of Christmas. Spiritual blindness is an especially pathetic condition not only because we are blinded to Christ and Christmas, but because we are even blinded to our blindness. Only through an intervention by Jesus our Savior can we see our blindness and ask for help. Call out to Jesus: “I want to see” (Mk 10:51). Jesus will heal us and give us the Christmas present that makes it possible for us to have Christmas.  

Prayer: Father, may I see Jesus present in Holy Communion so that I will desire to receive Him in Mass daily. Promise: “Those who err in spirit shall acquire understanding.” —Is 29:24 Praise: Max, though physically blind and fearful, accepted Jesus as his Savior on his deathbed.   (For a related teaching, order our tape Spiritual Blindness on audio AV 65-1 or video V-65.)   

Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2014 through January 31, 2015.†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 30, 2014.  The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

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