May the word of the Lord fill you with love and bring you peace.

St. John of the Cross Icon

Learn more about St. John of the Cross: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=65

Link to today’s readings: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/121417.cfm

Jesus said to the crowds: “Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force. All the prophets and the law prophesied up to the time of John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah, the one who is to come. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

John the Baptist was the last Prophet, there were no more. He proclaimed the coming of the Messiah. He told the people of who was to come but many did not accept it. Jesus told them, but many did not listen to Him either. Have you listened? Do you believe that the Messiah, Jesus, came? Do you believe He came for you and died to save you? The Kingdom of Heaven still suffers from those who try to deny the truth. Where do you stand? Whom do you believe?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I have ears and I hear your voice. I hear the words that you have for those who believe. I pray that others hear you as I do. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.

The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.

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St. Lucy

Learn more about St. Lucy: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=75

Link to today’s readings: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/121317.cfm

Jesus said to the crowds: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

When you take up the yoke Jesus offers you, you are never alone. He is in the other half of that yoke walking with you, supporting you and showing you the world from His perspective. Are you willing to allow Jesus to help you? Are you willing to take up His challenge? You will never be alone again if you do.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, my burdens and problems did not disappear when I found you, but taking up your yoke has made them lighter and I am no longer alone. In Jesus’ holy name, I offer you thanks and praise! Amen!

O bless the Lord, my soul!

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Our Lady of Guadalupe

Learn more about Our Lady of Guadalupe: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=456

Link to today’s readings: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/121217.cfm

God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple.

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth. Then another sign appeared in the sky; it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven diadems. Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky and hurled them down to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth. She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was caught up to God and his throne. The woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have salvation and power come, and  the Kingdom of our God and the authority of his Anointed.”

This is the lady that spoke to St. Juan Diego, the woman who provided a miracle for those that did not believe. If you still do not believe in miracles, you can see it today in Mexico City. Miracles do not fade, they come alive with faith. Awaken your faith and see the lady he saw.

Prayer: Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mystical Rose, make intercession for our Holy Church, protect the sovereign Pontiff, help all those who invoke you in their necessities, and since you are the ever-Virgin Mary and Mother of the true God, obtain for us from your most Holy Son the grace of keeping our faith, of sweet hope in the midst of the bitterness of life, of burning charity, and the precious gift of final perseverance. Amen.

You are the highest honor of our race

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Link to today’s readings: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/121117.cfm

One day as Jesus was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there, and the power of the Lord was with him for healing. And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed; they were trying to bring him in and set him in his presence. But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles into the middle in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “As for you, your sins are forgiven.”

Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply, “What are you thinking in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”– he said to the one who was paralyzed, “I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”

He stood up immediately before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God. Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God, and, struck with awe, they said, “We have seen incredible things today.”

Was He talking to the paralyzed man or his friends? Their faith in Jesus’ power is what made them bring their friend to Him. What kind of faith do you have? Do you trust in the saving power of forgiveness and belief? Do you believe and bring your friends to Christ? Do you believe you see miracles?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I believe that you have given us all the power to do your work here on earth, if only we believe. I do believe and I have seen miracles. Thank you Lord for your gifts and I give you praise for all the work you do! In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.

Our God will come to save us!

2nd Sunday

Learn more about Advent: https://www.thoughtco.com/season-of-advent-catholic-church-542458

Link to today’s readings: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/121017.cfm

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. A voice of one crying out in the desert: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey. And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

John appeared very strange to these people. Not only did he look like a little crazy, but he was preaching a baptism of forgiveness, a concept they were unfamiliar with. Yet they were moved to listen to him and be baptized. Something in them felt that what he was saying was right and good and they wanted to be a part of it. How do you feel when you hear the word of God? That it is good and true or something to run from? Seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit and you will be abundantly blessed.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, you gave us a very special gift when you gave us your Son Jesus. He taught us how to receive and use the power of the Holy Spirit and I praise your holy name for that beautiful gift, Amen!

Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.

Link to today’s readings: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/120917.cfm

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness.

At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.”

Then he summoned his Twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness.

Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, “Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”

We are sent out also to the lost sheep of His Church. We should be seed planters, planting the Word of God as we go, living as if we believe what we are teaching. We too have the power to do all that He told the Twelve, just let go of your sins, your doubts and your fears. The Lord will use you as He used the Twelve.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I have seen the miracles you talk about and I give you all the praise and glory for what you do through me and others. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.

Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.

The Immaculate Conception

Learn more about the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary:  https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-the-immaculate-conception-542107

Link to today’s readings: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/120817.cfm

The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him 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.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

This day we celebrate the birth of Our Lady, born without original sin, destined to be the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ. She is our mother also, if we call Christ our Brother. If you deny her, you deny Christ.

Prayer: Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.

Sing to the Lord new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.

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