The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2014, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
Are you surprised to see the relatives of Zechariah and Elizabeth quibble over what to name their newborn child? Don’t we do the same thing? This child, however has been named from above! And Elizabeth is firm in her faith and determined to see that God be glorified through this child. The name John means “the Lord is gracious.” In the birth of John the Baptist and in the birth of Jesus the Messiah we see the grace and favor of God breaking forth into a world broken by sin, corruption, and death – a world lost without hope.
The Old Testament prophets foretold the return of the prophet Elijah (Malachi 3:1, and 4:5) who would announce the coming of the Messiah – the Savior and Ruler of the earth. John the Baptist fulfills the role of Elijah (Matthew 11:13-14). His miraculous birth shows the mercy and favor of God in preparing his people for the coming of its Savior,the Lord Jesus Christ.
When God acts to save us he graciously fills us with his Holy Spirit and makes our faith “alive” to his promises. When we respond to his word with trust the Lord fills us with the joy of the Holy Spirit and renews our hope and gratitude for the mercy and gift of new life and salvation in Jesus Christ. Do you make your life an offering of thanksgiving to God, along with your family and all that you possess and hope to accomplish? God wants to fill us with the joy of his saving presence all the days of our lives, from birth through death. Renew the offering of your life to God and give him thanks for his mercy and favor towards you.
Lord Jesus, you are gracious and forgiving towards us. Renew in me the gift of faith that I may believe your promises and obey your word.”
The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2014. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com
FATHERS: REPRESENT THE HEAVENLY FATHER
“…to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers…” Malachi 3:24
Many earthly fathers don’t have hearts for their children. In today’s culture, there is an epidemic of fatherless children whose father is still alive. Sadly, too many children are “fatherless” even though their dad lives in the same house. Many fathers also do not have a heart for their possible future children. The job of a father is difficult, and is greatly under attack by Satan and his pawns who shape the modern, secular culture.
However, God calls fathers to one of the greatest causes in history: to represent Father God to their wives and children. This is an irreplaceable role in a child’s life. God the Father loves all people with an everlasting love; fathers are called to teach this truth to their children through their constant fatherly love (see Jer 31:3). God the Father knows what His people need and provides for them without fail; fathers are likewise called to faithfully spend their lives trusting in God’s provision for their family and working diligently to provide for their children (see Mt 6:32ff).
Fathers, do you have more faith in God’s ability to provide for all the children He will send you, or do you have more faith in the constraints of a difficult economy, a rising cost of living, and soaring costs of education and health care? Do you use your tongues to bless God (Lk 1:68) or speak of all the reasons you shouldn’t have children?
By their trust or fear, fathers teach their children to trust God the Father or not. Fathers, God has put the future of the world in your hands. Therefore, trust in God at all times (Ps 62:9).
Prayer: Father, raise up many godly fathers to transform this culture of death into a civilization of life. Promise: “The friendship of the Lord is with those who fear Him.” Ps 25:14 Praise: “O Emmanuel, King and Lawgiver, Desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God.” (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
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