In the Book of Job we hear of God’s power and might; Luke’s Gospel shows Jesus chastising the towns that refused to accept his message. Our response today: to call upon the Lord to guide us with wisdom and strength!
Tag Archives: Guidance
Sometimes we discover conflict even when we do the right things for the right reasons…just like the Lord in the Gospel today. In these moments we trust in God’s grace to face our difficulties with our faith in Jesus Christ.
Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Matthew that God reveals what is hidden to the childlike. May we recapture the simple and direct approach of children as we turn to the Lord to ask for what we need and trust in God’s guidance and direction.
Both Paul and Jesus offer words of caution: Be vigilant! There are forces in our world that will try to undermine and erode our faith; we call upon the Lord for the wisdom and strength we need to face trial and difficulty with God’s grace.
“What should we do?” is an excellent question to keep before us in our daily prayer. We often know what needs to be done; sometimes it’s just hard to carry out. But there are also times when we come before the Lord searching for the direction, wisdom, and strength to live our faith with conviction and power.
Study: Who are the messengers in my life? Who are the people who have alerted me to blessings and burdens in my life?
Pray: Ask the Lord for the openness to hear these messengers and take their words to heart.
Serve: Who in my life and I called to offer a message? What do I need to say…and what do they need to hear?
A Christmas Carol
Part III: The Spirits of Christmas
The Spirits of Christmas play a crucial role in Scrooge’s conversion. Their task is to show images of Christmas throughout time, revealing how the holiday is filled with blessings. In the images they reveal Scrooge learns the error of his ways, as feelings of guilt, remorse, anger, and sadness wash over him as he watches the effects of his life choices.
It is important to note that the three Spirits of Christmas are messengers. They are the heralds who reveal to Scrooge the meaning of Christmas. Yet they are not the holiday itself. Their presence in the story points to the power of our choices – where our words and actions over time make tremendous effects upon our life. As Scrooge discovers how his life might have been, he begins to yearn for a better and happier one.
In the Gospel this week we discover another messenger. John the Baptist arrives, baptizing people and proclaiming God’s wonderful deeds. People flock around him, inspired by his words and longing for hope.
As the crowds come to John they ask him, “What should we do?” as they pursue their lives. To each John answers with justice and fairness. He speaks with power and might, filling the people with expectation.
Many begin to wonder if he is the Christ. John answers immediately: NO! There is one coming who is mightier. John is merely the messenger, pointing the way to Jesus.
Like the crowds, we may often find ourselves looking for those who bring hope. We may discover in life an unhappiness, a dissatisfaction with ourselves and the choices we have made. We look to many remedies, yet we know in our hearts that our longing will only be satisfied by God alone.
Perhaps their are people in our lives that have a message for us to hear; may we be open to their words and take them to heart – trusting that their insights can help us on the journey of life.
Perhaps their are people in our lives that we are called to offer a message; may we have the courage to speak up – offering and directing others to insights that can help them embrace the power and beauty of life.
During these last few days of Advent, may we recognize in our lives the messengers sent by God to announce the Good News of Christ. As we prepare our hearts for the Lord’s coming, we have the opportunity to look within and discern the path we have taken through life. We can ask “What should we do?” as the challenges of life appear. May we trust that the Lord will make His will known to us, inviting us to follow with full and open hearts.
Study: When was a time when I failed to speak up? When was a time I failed to listen?
Pray: Call upon the Lord for the wisdom to know when to speak and when to take heart to the words of another.
Serve: Is there someone in my life right now that I am called to speak to? Or listen to?
Do you remember the Aesop’s fable “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” that we used to hear as children? It is a simple yet profound tale. A young boy is given the responsibility to watch over the animals in the event of an attack from the wolves. Bored of his duties he calls out “Wolf!” and laughs as the area villagers come running.
Delighted with his game the boy cries “Wolf!” a few more times, each time getting the attention of the people. Finally disgusted with his actions they no longer respond, even when a real wolf shows up and attacks the child; his failure to keep watch prevented his message from being heard.
In the first reading today Ezekiel says that being a prophet is a lot like being a watchman. The watchman was responsible for protecting the people from bandits and wild animals. The watchman was required to stay alert, remaining vigilant and ready to call out in a moment’s notice should danger arise.
If danger came, and the watchman failed to alert the people, then the watchman was at fault. But if the watchman called the alarm and no one came, then the people were at fault. Simply put, if the watchman does his duty and no one comes, then those who hear the warning and fail to respond are held accountable.
Likewise, anyone who hears a word of encouragement or guidance and fails to respond is also accountable. Ezekiel, the Psalm, and the Gospel today all point out that there are times when we must open our hearts to messages that we may not want to hear. We may be tempted to “harden our hearts.”
Let’s face it. No one wants to be told what to do. No one wants to be disciplined or chastised; we love our freedom and independence too much for that! Yet there are times when the Church is empowered to keep watch, lest members of the community drift into choices and actions which are harmful and destructive.
This is not easy! The scriptures today alert us to the fact that there are moments when we may be asked to either give or receive a hard word out of love. We might have to give it – to help another from making a mistake. We might have to receive it – and allow another to help us from falling into trouble. Keeping watch is never easy, but without the support of each other, we run the risk of a far greater harm.