The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2014. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com
“I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul.” Isaiah 61:10
“Rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again. Rejoice!” (Phil 4:4) Today is “Gaudete Sunday,” that is, “Rejoice Sunday.” We are rejoicing because soon and very soon Christ will come in glory this Christmas.
We are able to “rejoice always” (1 Thes 5:16) despite the many sorrowful circumstances of our lives. This is because we are not only in sorrow, pain, trouble, and suffering but also “in the Lord.” Being “in the Lord” takes precedence over everything else. With Mary, our spirits find “joy in God” our Savior (Lk 1:47). “With joy” we “draw water at the fountain of salvation” (Is 12:3). In Christ, we “rejoice with inexpressible joy touched with glory because [we] are achieving faith’s goal, [our] salvation” (1 Pt 1:8-9). In the Lord, we are “crowned with everlasting joy” (Is 35:10).
“All this I tell you that My joy may be yours and your joy may be complete” (Jn 15:11). “Indeed, our purpose in writing you this is that our joy may be complete” (1 Jn 1:4). “Rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again. Rejoice!” (Phil 4:4)
Prayer: Holy Spirit of Christmas, produce in me Your fruit of joy (Gal 5:22). Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us to receive the Holy Spirit of Christmas. Promise: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners.” Is 61:1 Praise: “My being proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit finds joy in God my Savior, for He has looked upon His servant in her lowliness; all ages to come shall call me blessed” (Lk 1:46-48). (For a related teaching, order our tape Beatitudes on audio AV 44-3 or video V-44.)
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
The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2014, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
Do you know the favor of the Lord? Every 50 years the people of Israel were commanded to celebrate a Year of Jubilee – a year of favor by the Lord (Leviticus 25:10-12). God did not want his people to forget all the blessings and favors he had shown them over the years. Isaiah prophesied in a year of Jubilee that God would send his anointed one to bring his people back from their time of exile (Isaiah 61). The anointed one would bring good news (the same word as “gospel”) – news of freedom for those who were oppressed by sin, darkness, despair, and brokenness (Isaiah 61:1-2).
When John the Baptist announced the imminent coming of God’s anointed one, the Messiah, the religious leaders questioned his authority to speak so boldly in God’s name. They asked him bluntly, “Who are you?” and “What do you say about yourself?” They wanted to know if he was really sent by God. Did he claim to be the Messiah or one of the great prophets who was expected to return and announce the Messiah’s arrival (see Malachi 4:5, Deuteronomy 18:15)? John had no doubt and no mistaken identity about his call and mission. In all humility and sincerity he said he was only a voice bidding people to get ready for the arrival of the greatest Ruler of all, God’s anointed King and Messiah.
John the Baptist bridges the Old and New Testaments. He is the last of the Old Testament prophets who points the way to the Messiah. He is the first of the New Testament witnesses and martyrs. He is the herald who prepares the way for Jesus and who announces his mission to the people: Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world! (John 1:29). John saw from a distance what the Messiah would come to accomplish – our redemption from slavery to sin and our adoption as sons and daughters of God, our heavenly Father. Do you recognize who you are in Christ? The Lord Jesus has come to restore us to friendship with God and he has made us citizens of heaven – his everlasting kingdom of peace and justice.
John was the greatest of the prophets, yet he lived as a humble and faithful servant of God. He pointed others to Jesus, the true Messiah and Savior of the world. The Christian church from the earliest of times has given John many titles which signify his mission: Witness of the Lord, Trumpet of Heaven, Herald of Christ, Voice of the Word, Precursor of Truth, Friend of the Bridegroom, Crown of the Prophets, Forerunner of the Redeemer, Preparer of Salvation, Light of the Martyrs, and Servant of the Word. Do you point others to Jesus Christ by the example and witness of your life?
“Lord Jesus, make me a herald of your word of truth and grace. Help me to be a faithful witness of the joy of the gospel and to point others to you as John did through his testimony.”