All posts by Marisia Adams

Dec 3rd & United Nations?

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net 

What’s the best security against disaster and destruction? In the ancient world a strong city, an impregnable fortress, and a secure house were built on solid rock because they could withstand the forces of nature and foe alike. Isaiah speaks of God as an “everlasting rock” (Isaiah 26:4). He is the rock of refuge and deliverance (Psalm 18:2) and the rock in whom there is no wrong (Psalm 92:15). Scripture warns that destruction will surely come to those who place their security in something other than God and his kingdom. Jesus’ parables invite us to stake our lives on the coming of his kingdom or face the consequences of being unprepared when the day of testing and destruction will surely come.

When Jesus told the story of the builders he likely had the following proverb in mind: “When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm for ever”(Proverbs 10:25). What’s the significance of the story for us? The kind of foundation we build our lives upon will determine whether we can survive the storms that are sure to come. Builders usually lay their foundations when the weather and soil conditions are at their best. It takes foresight to know how a foundation will stand up against adverse conditions. Building a house on a flood plain, such as a dry river-bed, is a sure bet for disaster! Jesus prefaced his story with a warning: We may fool humans with our speech, but God cannot be deceived. He sees the heart as it truly is – with its motives, intentions, desires, and choices (Psalm 139:2).

There is only one way in which a person’s sincerity can be proved, and that is by one’s practice. Fine words can never replace good deeds. Our character is revealed in the choices we make, especially when we are tested. Do you cheat on an exam or on your income taxes, especially when it will cost you?  Do you lie, or cover-up, when disclosing the truth will cause you  injury or embarrassment? A true person is honest and reliable before God, one’s neighbor and oneself.  His or her word can be counted on. If you heed God’s word and live according to it then you need not fear when storms assail you. God will be your rock and your refuge. Is your life built upon the sure “rock” of Jesus Christ and do you listen to his word as if your life depended on it?

“Lord Jesus, you are my Rock and my Refuge. Help me to conform my life according to your word that I may stand firm in times of trouble and find hope in your promises.”

 

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

UNITED NATIONS?

“A nation of firm purpose You keep in peace; in peace, for its trust in You.” —Isaiah 26:3

The twelve tribes of Israel entered the Promised Land after forty years of wandering in the desert. The tribes remained united until after the death of Solomon, when the tribe of Judah remained true to the Israelite covenant and the other tribes “seceded” from the Israelite covenant, set up idolatrous worship, and formed the Northern Kingdom, also known as “Israel” or “Samaria.” The seceded tribes fell further into sin and idolatry, despite continued warnings from prophet after prophet (see 2 Kgs 17:13). Finally, their rebellion led them so far from God’s protection that the sinful Northern Kingdom was conquered, never to exist again.

A nation that was united fell into disunity because of sin, hardheartedness, and blocking the true God out of their daily life. Could many nations today be following a similar path? God is banned from schools and many workplaces. There are serious divisions. God has sent many prophets to these nations, but there remains great rebellion against His prophets.

“A nation of firm purpose You keep in peace; in peace, for its trust in You” (Is 26:3). In the U.S.A., the currency proclaims “In God we trust.” Do its people share the same trust? Will the people of the United States and other nations repent and trust in God? Will they unite to be “indivisible, under God,” or will these nations follow the path of the twelve tribes of Israel to disintegration and defeat? Repent now!

Prayer: Father, may we not neglect the lessons You teach us in Scripture. Grant us hearts that are humble, contrite, and faithful. Promise: “Anyone who hears My words and puts them into practice is like the wise man who built his house on rock.” —Mt 7:24 Praise: St. Francis Xavier, in the course of ten years, evangelized much of the Far East making an extraordinary number of converts.   (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, 2015 through January 31, 2016.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 2015.
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

Dec 2nd & The Miracle Before Multiplication

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net 

What can satisfy the deepest hunger and longing of the human heart? Isaiah prophesied that God would provide a heavenly banquet for all peoples and would destroy death once and for all (Isaiah 25:6-8). Jesus came to fulfill that promise. Jesus’ miracles are both a sign of God’s kingdom and a demonstration of God’s power. They also show the magnitude of God’s mercy.

When the disciples were confronted by Jesus with the task of feeding four thousand people many miles away from any source of food, they exclaimed: Where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them? The Israelites were confronted with the same dilemma when they fled Egypt and found themselves in a barren wilderness. Like the miraculous provision of manna in the wilderness, Jesus, himself provides bread in abundance for the hungry crowd who came out into the desert to seek him. The gospel records that all were satisfied and they took up what was leftover.

In the multiplication of the loaves and fishes we see a sign and a symbol of what God always does. God knows our needs and he cares. When God gives, he gives in abundance. The gospel account records that the leftovers from the miraculous meal was more than seven times the amount they began with. Seven is a symbol of completion and wholeness. When God gives, he gives until we are satisfied. When God works for his people he gives abundantly – more than we could deserve and more than we need. He nourishes us with his life-giving word and with the bread of heaven. In the kingdom of heaven God will feast us at his banquet table. Are you satisfied with God’s provision for you? And do you long with expectant hope for the coming of his kingdom in all its fulness?

Lord Jesus, you alone can satisfy the longing and hunger in our hearts. May I thirst for your kingdom and find joy in your presence. Give me the true bread of heaven and nourish me with your life-giving word.”

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

 

THE MIRACLE BEFORE MULTIPLICATION

Jesus “took the seven loaves and the fish, and after giving thanks He broke them and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. All ate until they were full.” —Matthew 15:36-37

In recent times, some preachers have attempted to explain away the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fish. Contrary to the six texts of this passage and the supporting contexts in the New Testament, these preachers speculate that Jesus did not do a miracle but merely inspired people to share their lunches.

This novel speculation appeals to people who live in the affluent parts of the world and who assume that miracles are impossible since these don’t compute in a secular humanistic culture of death. Of course, such speculation appeals to people who have not seen miracles in their lives, especially the miracle of multiplication. We naturally and illogically reason that if something hasn’t happened to us, it doesn’t happen.

The miracle of the multiplication of loaves, fish, time, money, resources, or energy is based on another miracle: the total giving of ourselves to the Lord. Ninety-nine percent doesn’t get multiplied, only 100%. Consequently, our denial of this miracle because we have not experienced it may tell us more about ourselves than about the Bible. Our problem with the miracle of multiplication may be a telltale sign that we have not accepted Jesus as our Lord, our God, and our All. We may be involved in a lukewarm, minimalistic aberration of Christianity.

Be a miracle. Give Jesus all. See miracles. Believe in miracles, especially the miracle of multiplication.

Prayer: Father, give me the miracle of giving You all. Promise: “On this mountain He will destroy the veil that veils all peoples, the web that is woven over all nations; He will destroy death forever.” —Is 25:7-8 Praise: Robert refused a promotion which would have required him to spend much time away from his family.
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, 2015 through January 31, 2016.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 2015.
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

Dec 1st & Seeds Of Hope

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net 

How does God bring his kingdom to us? Jesus remarked that many prophets and kings before him longed to see and understand God’s plan for establishing his kingdom. When King David’s throne was overthrown and vacant for centuries, God promised, nonetheless, to raise up a new king from the stump of Jesse, the father of David. This messianic king would rule forever because the Spirit of God would rest upon him and remain with him (Isaiah 11:1).

Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be equipped with the gifts of the Spirit – with wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2 – for an explanation of the gifts see this helpful article). This king would establish the kingdom of God, not by force of human will and military power, but by offering his life as the atoning sacrifice for the sin of the world. Through his death on the cross, Jesus, the true Messiah King, would defeat Satan, overcome death, and win pardon and reconciliation for sinners. God’s plan of redemption included not only the Jewish people but all the nations of the earth as well. Through his death and resurrection Jesus makes us citizens of heaven and friends of God. The Lord Jesus wants us to live in joyful hope and confident expectation that he will come again to fully establish his kingdom of righteousness and peace.

What does Jesus’ prayer (Luke 10:21-22) tell us about God and about ourselves? First, it tells us that God is both Father and Lord of earth as well as heaven. He is both Creator and Author of all that he has made, the first origin of everything and transcendent authority, and at the same time, goodness and loving care for all his children. All fatherhood and motherhood are derived from him (Ephesians 3:14-15). Jesus’ prayer also contains a warning that pride can keep us from the love and knowledge of God.

Pride closes the mind to God’s truth and wisdom for our lives. Jesus contrasts pride with child-like simplicity and humility. The simple of heart are like “babes” in the sense that they see purely without pretense and acknowledge their dependence and trust in God who is the source of all wisdom and strength. They seek one thing – the “summum bonum” or “greatest good” which is God himself. Simplicity of heart is wedded with humility, the queen of virtues, because humility inclines the heart towards grace and truth. Just as pride is the root of every sin and evil we can conceive, so humility is the only soil in which the grace of God can take root. It alone takes the right attitude before God and allows him as God to do all. “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (Prov. 3:34, James 4:6). The grace of Christ-like humility inclines us towards God and disposes us to receive God’s wisdom, grace, and help. Nothing can give us greater joy than the knowledge that we are God’s beloved and that our names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20). Do you seek God’s wisdom and grace with humility and trust?

Jesus makes a claim which no one would have dared to make: He is the perfect revelation of God. Our knowledge of God is not simply limited to knowing something about God – who he is and what he is like. We can know God personally and be united with him in a relationship of love, trust, and friendship. Jesus makes it possible for each of us to personally know God as our Father. To see Jesus is to see what God is like. In Jesus we see the perfect love of God – a God who cares intensely and who yearns over men and women, loving them to the point of laying down his life for them upon the cross. Do you pray to your Father in heaven with joy and confidence in his love and care for you?

“Lord Jesus, give me the child-like simplicity and purity of faith to gaze upon your face with joy and confidence in your all-merciful love. Remove every doubt, fear, and proud thought which would hinder me from receiving your word with trust and humble submission.”

 

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

SEEDS OF HOPE

“A Shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse.” —Isaiah 11:1

Out of what appears to be a dead, hopeless situation, the Lord can cause new life to sprout and rise up (see Is 11:1). Your stump might be a broken family devastated beyond reconciliation, a ruined marriage without the possibility of reuniting, or a drug-addicted child, whose mind and life cannot be rebuilt. You look at the mess, and you see a dead stump. How can any life come out of this death?

David’s kingdom was splintered after his son Solomon died. The Northern Kingdom of Israel was defeated and irretrievably lost. All that remained was the tribe of Judah. All God’s promises for His people seemed lost forever. Yet out of that small remnant, a Shoot sprouted (Is 11:1) and the Messiah came forth: Jesus Christ, Son of David, King of Israel, Messiah, Lord, and God.

God provides examples in His creation of death bringing the seeds for new life. Decades ago, massive wildfires destroyed much of Yellowstone National Park. For many acres, all that could be seen was a charred, blackened, lifeless forest. Yet that next year the most gorgeous wildflowers in many decades bloomed in that very area.

The Advent Scriptures proclaim that though we see a lifeless wasteland, God sees abundant life (Is 35:1, 7). We see a landscape “parched, lifeless and without water” (Ps 63:2), but God sees rivers and luxuriant trees (see Is 41:18-19). We see devastation; God sees the seeds of new life. Walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor 5:7). Let your heart dare to hope. Believe the Advent Scriptures.

Prayer: Father, I kneel in awe at Your merciful plan of salvation. How great is Your love; how deep are Your designs. I offer myself to You as Your servant to bring this Good News to many. Promise: “Blest are the eyes that see what you see.” —Lk 10:23 Praise: “I offer You praise, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because what You have hidden from the learned and the clever You have revealed to the merest children” (Lk 10:21).   (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, 2015 through January 31, 2016.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 2015.
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

Nov 30th & Are You Saved?

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net 

Are you ready to feast at the Lord’s banquet table? God’s gracious invitation extends to all – Jew and Gentile alike – who will turn to him with faith and obedience. Jesus used many images or pictures to convey what the kingdom of God is like. One such image is a great banquet feast given at the King’s table (Matthew 8:11 and Luke 13:29). Jesus promised that everyone who believed in him would come and feast at the heavenly banquet table of his Father. Jesus told this parable in response to the dramatic request made by a Roman centurion, a person despised by many because he was an outsider, not one of the “chosen ones” of Israel. In Jesus’ time the Jews hated the Romans because they represented everything they stood against – including foreign domination and  pagan beliefs and practices.

The power to command with trust and respect
Why did Jesus not only warmly receive a Roman centurion but praise him as a model of faith and confidence in God? In the Roman world the position of centurion was very important. He was an officer in charge of a hundred soldiers. In a certain sense, he was the backbone of the Roman army, the cement which held the army together. Polybius, an ancient writer, describes what a centurion should be: “They must not be so much venturesome seekers after danger as men who can command, steady in action, and reliable; they ought not to be over-anxious to rush into the fight, but when hard pressed, they must be ready to hold their ground, and die at their posts.”

Faith in Jesus’ authority and power to heal
The centurion who approached Jesus was not only courageous, but faith-filled as well. He risked the ridicule of his cronies as well as mockery from the Jews by seeking help from a traveling preacher from Galilee. Nonetheless, the centurion approached Jesus with great confidence and humility. He was an extraordinary man because he loved his slave. In the Roman world slaves were treated like animals – something to be used for work and pleasure and for bartering and trade. This centurion was a man of great compassion and extraordinary faith. He wanted Jesus to heal his beloved slave. Jesus commends him for his faith and immediately grants him his request. Are you willing to suffer ridicule in the practice of your faith? And when you need help, do you approach the Lord Jesus with expectant faith?

Christ comes to establish God’s kingdom of peace where all peoples can feast at his table
The prophet Isaiah foretold a time of restoration for the holy city Jerusalem and for its remnants (see Isaiah 4:2-6) and also a time of universal peace when all nations would come to Jerusalem to “the mountain of the Lord and to the house of the God of Jacob” and “beat their swords into plowshares” (Isaiah 2:2-4). Jesus fulfills this prophecy first by restoring both Jew and Gentile to friendship with God through the victory he won for us on the cross. When he comes again he will fully establish his universal rule of peace and righteousness (moral goodness) and unite all things in himself (Ephesians 1:10). His promise extends to all generations who believe in him that we, too, might feast at the heavenly banquet table with the patriarchs of the Old Covenant (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) who believed but did not yet see the promised Messiah.

Do you believe in God’s promises and do you seek his kingdom first in your life? The season of Advent reminds us that the Lord Jesus wants us to actively seek him and the coming of his kingdom in our lives. The Lord will surely reward those who seek his will for their lives. We can approach the Lord Jesus with expectant faith, like the centurion in today’s Gospel reading (Matthew 8:5-11), knowing that he will show us his mercy and give us his help.

“Lord Jesus, you feed us daily with your life-giving word and you sustain us on our journey to our true homeland with you and the Father in heaven.  May I never lose hope in your promises nor lag in zeal for your kingdom of righteousness and peace.”

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

 

ARE YOU SAVED?

“If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” —Romans 10:9

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” —Romans 10:13

Are you saved? The Biblical answer for a Christian to that question is: “I havebeen saved by Christ’s death and resurrection.” “When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us” (Ti 3:4-5). “He saved us; not because of any righteous deeds we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the baptism of new birth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Ti 3:5). Moreover, we not only have been saved but are being saved by the gospel at this very moment, if we hold fast to it (1 Cor 15:2). Finally, we will besaved, if we persevere in living our Baptisms (see Rm 10:9, 13).

If we have been, are being, and will be saved, we will be motivated by love (see 2 Cor 5:14) to lead others to salvation in Jesus. However, we may be bewildered about sharing our faith. St. Andrew may be the perfect person to help us. For example, when some Greeks came to Philip and asked to see Jesus, Philip, for some reason, did not go to Jesus but to Andrew (Jn 12:21-22). Then Philip, with Andrew, “came to inform Jesus” (Jn 12:22).

Accept Jesus as the Savior, Lord, and God. Ask St. Andrew to help you lead others to salvation in Jesus. Then go, be fishers of men (Mt 4:19), and make disciples of all nations (Mt 28:19).

Prayer: Father, beginning this Advent make my voice sound “over the whole earth” and my “words to the limits of the world” (Rm 10:18). St. Andrew, pray for us. Promise: “Scripture says, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who announce good news!’ ” —Rm 10:15 Praise: St. Andrew was one of the first to lead others to Jesus.
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2015 through November 30, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 20, 2015.
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

Nov 29th – Happy New Year?

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

HAPPY NEW YEAR?

“Men will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with great power and glory.” —Luke 21:27

Happy New Year! Today is the first day of Advent and of the Church year. The Church’s new year not only begins earlier than that of the world, but is also ushered in differently. The world’s new year is inaugurated with New Year’s Eve parties, much drinking, and self-indulgence. The Church begins its new year with the warning: “Be on guard lest your spirits become bloated with indulgence and drunkenness and worldly cares” (Lk 21:34).

Another difference between our new year and the world’s is that our new year actually is new. The only new thing about the world’s so-called new year is new numbers on a calendar. The world’s new year is nothing but a rerun of a rerun — just more selfishness, escapism, compulsive behavior, confusion, and sin (see Eccl 1:9-10). Conversely, the Church’s new year is truly new. It is centered as always on Jesus and begins with His Christmas coming (Rv 21:5-6). Moreover, Jesus is infinite; with Him we always have more, always something new (2 Cor 5:17). When Jesus comes into our hearts during Christmas, we will experience His love in a new way.

One other difference between the Church’s new year and the world’s is that ours really is happy because it is Christ-centered. Happy new year!

Prayer: Lord, increase us and make us “overflow with love for one another and for all” (1 Thes 3:12). Strengthen our “hearts, making them blameless and holy before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His holy ones” (1 Thes 3:13). Promise: “The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made.” —Jer 33:14 Praise: Praise our Lord Jesus Christ, “the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End” (Rv 21:6), for Whom we await with joyful hope.
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2015 through November 30, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 20, 2015.
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

Nov 28th & The Watchtower

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net 

Is there anything holding you back from the joy and freedom of the Lord? God wants our hearts for him and for his kingdom of peace, joy, and righteousness (Romans 14:17). But our hearts can be weighed down by many different things. Jesus, our Lord and Master, offers us true freedom – freedom from the power of sin and wasted life, and freedom from our unruly desires and disordered passions – such as making food, drink or anything else our master rather than our servant. Jesus wants our hearts to be ruled by one thing only – his love and truth which enables us to choose whatever is good and to reject whatever is evil and harmful for us.

Be ready to meet the Lord today 
Jesus also warns us of the temptation to slacken off – to become spiritually idle, lazy, indifferent, or inattentive to God’s presence and his word and guidance for our lives. We can fall asleep spiritually if we allow other things to distract us from the reality of God and his kingdom. It is very easy to get caught up in the things of the present moment or to be weighed down with anxious cares and concerns. The Lord wants us to be ready at all times to meet him – whether it be in our rising, eating, working, or taking our rest. He comes to draw us to himself – are you alert and attentive to his voice?

Speak your troubles to the Lord – he is listening
The Lord knows our struggles, weaknesses, and shortcomings. And he assures us that we do not need to carry our burdens alone nor struggle without his help. He is always very present and ready to give us whatever strength, guidance, and help we need to fight temptation and to stay the course which he has set for us. But there is one thing he doesn’t tolerate: indifference, an attitude of not caring, and doing nothing! The Lord wants us to cast our anxieties on him and to ask for his guidance and help. Do you pray for God’s strength and wisdom?

Until the Lord comes again we can expect troubles, trials, and temptations. Our adversary the devil does not rest in his attempt to lure us away from God’s will for our lives. If he cannot succeed in getting us to renounce our faith in Christ, he will try, little by little, to distract us from pursuing God, especially in prayer and listening to his word. Ask the Lord Jesus to rekindle the fire of his love in you so that you will be ready and eager to meet him when he comes again.

“Lord Jesus, rouse my spirit to the truth that this world is passing away. Give me a lively faith, a joyful hope, and a fervent love to see you face to face when you return in glory.”

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

 

THE WATCHTOWER

“Be on the watch. Pray constantly for the strength to escape whatever is in prospect.” —Luke 21:36

On this last day of the Church’s year, we read about the last day of all years. This last day is called the “great day.” Jesus warns us: “The great day will suddenly close in on you like a trap. The day I speak of will come upon all who dwell on the face of the earth” (Lk 21:34-35). If we watch and pray constantly for strength, we will stand secure before Jesus as He returns to take us off this burning planet into the perfect happiness of heaven (Lk 21:36; see also 2 Pt 3:10).

The last day will be great for us if we are strong. We will be strong if we pray constantly. We will pray constantly if we are “on the watch.” “Therefore, let us not be asleep like the rest, but awake and sober!” (1 Thes 5:6) We must “stay sober and alert,” for “the devil is prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Pt 5:8). “Be on guard lest your spirits become bloated with indulgence and drunkenness and worldly cares” (Lk 21:34). “Stay awake, therefore! You cannot know the day your Lord is coming” (Mt 24:42). “Be on guard, and pray that you may not undergo the test” (Mt 26:41).

We must be ready for this last day of the Church’s year to be the last day of our lives or the last day of all. Watch and pray.

Prayer: Jesus, come back today or as soon as possible. Maranatha! (Come, Lord Jesus!) (see Rv 22:20Promise: “The kingship and dominion and majesty of all the kingdoms under the heavens shall be given to the holy people of the Most High, Whose kingdom shall be everlasting.” —Dn 7:27 Praise: Regina strives to live her life by the example of St. John Bosco, who stated that if he knew the world would end that day, he would continue to do what he was doing.
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2015 through November 30, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 20, 2015.
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

Nov 27th & Black Friday Or Good Friday?

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net 

Do you recognize the signs of God’s presence and action in your life and the world today? Jesus used the image of a fig tree to teach his disciples an important lesson about reading the “signs of the times.” The fig tree was a common and important source of food for the Jews. It bore fruit twice a year, in the autumn and in the early spring. The Talmud (teachings and commentaries of the ancient rabbis on the Jewish Scriptures) said that the first fruit came the day after Passover. The Jews believed that when the Messiah came he would usher in the kingdom of God at Passover time.

Let the fruit of God’s kingdom grow within you
The early signs of a changing season, such as springtime, summer, or autumn, are evident for all who can see and observe the changes. Just so are the signs of God’s kingdom and his return in glory on the day of judgment. The “budding” of God’s kingdom begins first in the hearts of those who are receptive to God’s word. Those who trust in God’s word will bear the fruits of his kingdom. And what are the fruits of that kingdom? “The kingdom of God ..is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). The Lord gives the first-fruits of his kingdom to those who open their hearts to him with expectant faith and trust in his word.

We do not know the day nor the hour when the Lord Jesus will return again in glory. But the Lord does give us signs, not only to “wake us up” as a warning, but also to “rouse our spirits” to be ready and eager to receive his kingdom when he comes in all his power and glory. The “Day of the Lord” will strike terror in those who have ignored or rejected God, but it will be a day of joy and rejoicing for those who long to see the Lord face-to-face. The Lord Jesus wants us to be filled with joyful anticipation for his coming again.

The Lord opens he word for us – listen and respond
While we wait for the Lord’s physical return in glory, we can know his presence with us through the work and action of the Holy Spirit who dwells in our hearts. The Lord Jesus comes daily and frequently to those who long for him and he speaks tenderly to our hearts like a lover who whispers in the ear of the beloved. He comes to show us the way to our heavenly Father and to give us the hope of eternal life. Do you recognize his presence and do you listen to his word?

“Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end of all history, and the lord of all creation. Give me joyful hope and assurance that I will see you face to face and be united with you forever when you return in glory.”

 

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

BLACK FRIDAY OR GOOD FRIDAY?

“The heavens and the earth will pass away, but My words will not pass.” —Luke 21:33

In the USA, the day after Thanksgiving is known as “Black Friday,” and is one of the busiest shopping days of the entire year. Consumers flock to shopping malls in great throngs, looking for the best deals, hurrying from store to store to buy Christmas gifts for everyone on their list. At times the Black Friday atmosphere is so intense that people get manhandled in the frenzied rush to buy. However, the consumeristic secular culture is a “beast” (see Dn 7:7) which continually devours people who might otherwise prepare their hearts for Jesus during the time of Advent.

For Christians, every Friday is a reminder of Good Friday, the day when Jesus was crucified, bled, and died for our salvation. Jesus gave His life so that we may have life; He Who did not know sin took on the punishment of our sins so we could take on the holiness of God (2 Cor 5:21).

Shopping malls and “holiday” parties will pass away, as well as the earth, stars, and sky, but Jesus’ words will never pass away (Lk 21:33). “Why spend your money” for what will not last, “your wages for what fails to satisfy?” (Is 55:2) “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Rm 12:2). Let Jesus transfer you from Black Friday to Good Friday. Spend your time on what will not pass away.

Prayer: Father, I know I cannot be attentive both to the things of this world and to You (Mt 6:24). Help me to choose Jesus today. Promise: “Know that the reign of God is near.” —Lk 21:31 Praise: Jane experienced a profound renewal of the Holy Spirit when she began attending daily Mass.   (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 October 1, 2015 through November 30, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 20, 2015.
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

Nov 26th & Break The Law!

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net 

Do you believe that the world as we know it is going to end just as Jesus foretold? Jesus’ prophetic description of the destruction of the holy city Jerusalem, the destruction of the world, and the day of final judgment, was not new to the people of Israel. The prophets had foretold these events many centuries before. Behold the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger to make the earth a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it (Isaiah 13:9-13; see also  Joel 2:1-2; Amos 5:18-20; Zephaniah 1:14-18).

Indifference and rejection of the Gospel lead to destruction
Jesus warns of the imminent destruction of Jerusalem as a consequence of the rejection of the Gospel. According to the historian Josephus, over a million inhabitants died when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem with its temple in 70 A.D. Jerusalem’s vengeance resulted from her indifference to the visitation of God in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 19:44).

Jesus also speaks about the judgment at the end of the world. Only spiritual blindness can keep us from recognizing the obvious signs of approaching disaster which awaits the day of judgment for those who refuse to heed God’s word of grace and salvation. Jesus was completely honest. He told his disciples what it would cost to follow him. And he promised that he would never leave them alone, even in their time of tribulation. The saints and martyrs who underwent torment and death made their prisons a temple of praise and their scaffolds a throne to the glory of God. They knew the saving presence of Jesus Christ with them in all circumstances. Jesus offers us safety in the face of earth’s threats. Not a hair of your head will perish (Luke 21:18). The disciple who walks with Christ may lose their body but not their soul.

We hope for what is to come – full redemption of our bodies and a new heavens and earth
The greatest gift which no one can take from us and which we can be most thankful for is our redemption through the precious blood of Jesus, which was shed on the cross for our sins, and our adoption through Christ as children of God our heavenly Father. Jesus Christ has redeemed us from slavery to sin, from fear of death, and from final destruction. We can be eternally thankful because our hope is anchored in heaven and in the promise that Jesus will return to fully establish his reign of peace and righteousness. The Lord Jesus will raise our lowly bodies to be like his glorious body which is no longer subject to illness, death and corruption.

Jesus speaks of his second coming as a known fact, a for certain event which we can confidently expect to take place in the Lord’s time of choosing. This coming will be marked by signs that all will recognize – signs which will strike terror and grief in those who are unprepared and wonder and joy in those who are ready to meet the Lord. When the Lord Jesus returns he will fully establish his kingdom of justice and righteousness and he will vindicate all who have been faithful to him. His judgment is a sign of hope for those who have placed their trust in him. Do you hope in God and in the promise of Christ to return again to create new heavens and a new earth (Isaiah 65:17 and Revelation 21:1)?

“Lord Jesus, fill me with gratitude for the gift of redemption and increase my hope and longing for your return again in glory. May that day bring joy to my heart rather than sorrow. Help me to serve you faithfully and to make the best use of my time now in the light of your coming again.”

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

 

BREAK THE LAW!

“Daniel, the Jewish exile, has paid no attention to you, O king, or to the decree you issued; three times a day he offers his prayer.” —Daniel 6:14

Three times a day, Daniel broke the law prohibiting praying to the true God. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were repeatedly breaking the laws prohibiting prayer? There’s an unwritten law that you don’t pray openly on most jobs. Break the law. Many married couples have a strict law that each one should keep their faith and prayers private. Break the law. In our secular humanistic “culture of death,” it is not politically correct to pray anywhere other than at church and possibly at home. Break the law. Pray at restaurants, stores, ball games, schools, etc. The Lord commanded us to pray always (Lk 18:11 Thes 5:17). That implies that we pray everywhere we go and in any circumstance the Lord puts us.

I’m not encouraging you to impose your faith on others; rather, simply be open about your love for Jesus. If there was a law forbidding you to communicate openly with someone you love, would you break that law? Love Jesus openly, publicly, boldly, deeply, enthusiastically, and totally. Break any laws contrary to Christ’s law of love.

Prayer: Father, I obey You rather than man (Acts 5:29). Promise: “After that, men will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with great power and glory. When these things begin to happen, stand erect and hold your heads high, for your deliverance is near at hand.” —Lk 21:27-28 Praise: William risked his job by having a Bible on his desk. Soon interest in a lunch-hour Bible study grew.
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2015 through November 30, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 20, 2015.
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

Nov 25th & “Sober Up”

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net 

If the Gospel message is good news, then why do so many people treat Christians with contempt and hostility for their beliefs and practices? Jesus warns his followers that they will be confronted with wickedness, false teaching, persecution, as well as the temptation to renounce their faith when it is put to the test.

Satan destroys and kills – God restores and gives life
The real enemy of the Gospel – the good news of Jesus Christ – is Satan (also called Lucifer), the powerful leader of the fallen angels who rebelled against God and who were cast out of heaven. Satan opposes God and all who follow his rule of peace and righteousness (moral goodness) on the earth. Jesus calls Satan a “murderer” who turns brother against brother and the “father of lies” who twists the truth and speaks falsehood (John 8:44). Satan not only opposes God’s rule, he seeks to destroy all who would obey God. Satan will use any means possible to turn people away from God. He tempts people through envy, deception, hatred, and fear to provoke hostility towards those who follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

What is Jesus’ response to hostility and persecution? Love, forbearance, and forgiveness. Only love – the love which is rooted in God’s great compassion and faithfulness – can overcome prejudice, hatred, and envy. God’s love purifies our heart and mind of all that would divide and tear people apart. Knowing God as our compassionate Father and loving God’s word of truth and righteousness (moral goodness) is essential for overcoming evil. Jesus tells us that we do not need to fear those who would oppose us or treat us harshly for following the Lord Jesus. He promises to give us supernatural strength, wisdom, and courage as we take a stand for our faith and witness to the truth and love of Christ.

The Gospel is good news for the whole world because it is God’s eternal word of truth, love, pardon, and salvation (being set free from sin and evil) through his Son, Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus has won the victory for us through his atoning death on the cross for our sins and his rising from the grave – his resurrection power that brings abundant life and restoration for us. That is why the Gospel has power to set people free from sin, fear and death, and bring peace, pardon, and new life.

Endurance never gives us hope in God
Jesus tells his disciples that if they endure to the end they will gain their lives – they will inherit abundant life and lasting happiness with God. Endurance is an essential strength which God gives to those who put their trust in him. Endurance is the patience which never gives up hope, never yields to despair or hatred. Patience is long-suffering because it looks beyond the present difficulties and trials and sees the reward which comes to those who persevere with hope and trust in God. That is why godly endurance is more than human effort. It is first and foremost a supernatural gift of the Holy Spirit which enables us to bear up under any trial or temptation.

Endurance is linked with godly hope – the supernatural assurance that we will see God face to face and inherit all the promises he has made. Jesus is our supreme model and pioneer who endured the cross for our sake (Hebrews 12:2). “God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Jesus willingly shed his blood for us – to win for us pardon and peace with God. Our joy and privilege is to take up our cross each day to follow the Lord Jesus.

True martyrs live and die as witnesses of Christ and the Gospel of peace
The word “martyr” in the New Testament Greek means “witness”. The Book of Revelations says that “Jesus was the faithful witness …who freed us from our sins by his blood” (Revelations 1:5). Tertullian, a second century lawyer who converted when he saw Christians singing as they went out to die by the hands of their persecutors, exclaimed: “The blood of the martyrs is seed.” Their blood is the seed of new Christians, the seed of the church.

The third century bishop, Cyprian said: “When persecution comes, God’s soldiers are put to the test, and heaven is open to martyrs. We have not enlisted in an army to think of peace and to decline battle, for we see that the Lord has taken first place in the conflict.” True martyrs live and die as witnesses of the Gospel. They overcome their enemies through persevering hope and courage, undying love and forbearance, kindness, goodness, and compassion.

God may call some of us to be martyrs who shed their blood for bearing witness to Jesus Christ. But for most of us, our call is to be ‘dry’ martyrs who bear testimony to the joy and power of the gospel in the midst of daily challenges, contradictions, temptations and adversities which come our way as we follow the Lord Jesus.

We do not need to fear our adversaries
What will attract others to the truth and power of the Gospel? When they see Christians loving their enemies, being joyful in suffering, patient in adversity, pardoning injuries, and showing comfort and compassion to the hopeless and the helpless. Jesus tells us that we do not need to fear our adversaries. God will give us sufficient grace, strength, and wisdom to face any trial and to answer any challenge to our faith. Are you ready to lay down your life for Christ and to bear witness to the joy and freedom of the Gospel?

“Lord Jesus Christ, by your atoning death on the cross you have redeemed the world. Fill me with joyful hope, courage, and boldness to witness the truth of your love for sinners and your victory over the powers of sin, Satan, and death.”

 

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

“SOBER UP” (1 Sm 1:14)

“Under the influence of the wine…” —Daniel 5:2

At this time of year, the world is obsessed with “Holiday” shopping events for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Church, however, has a different focus. The liturgical year comes to a close this Saturday, and a new Church Year begins with Advent this Sunday. The Church focuses upon being prepared for the comings of Jesus at Christmas, at the hour of our death, and in His Second Coming.

Tomorrow, in the USA, people celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving with feasting and the drinking of alcohol. Some of these gatherings will feature “drunken show” (see 1 Sm 1:14) similar to that which occurred at King Belshazzar’s blasphemous party (see Dn 5:1ff). Belshazzar’s life ended that night; he had no further time to repent of his blasphemous acts and undo the damage he caused during his drunken binge.

The Church is likewise throwing a Thanksgiving Day party tomorrow which also features holy vessels, wine, celebration, feasting, and the death of the host. It’s called the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Mass features the Eucharist, a word which means “Thanksgiving.” Some Thanksgiving gatherings will begin with Mass and end with prayers of thanksgiving and praise.

Tomorrow and all days, be under the influence of the Holy Spirit and not under the influence of any substance. Give thanks the Church’s way instead of the world’s way.

Prayer:  Father, may they who give thanks to You be many and may they bring greater glory to You (2 Cor 4:15). Promise:  “By patient endurance you will save your lives.” —Lk 21:19 Praise:  God filled St. Catherine with so much wisdom that fifty pagan philosophers were converted to Christianity through her influence.   (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 October 1, 2015 through November 30, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 20, 2015.
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

Nov 24th & The Certainty Of The End And His Coming

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net 

How would you respond if someone prophesied that your home, land, or place of worship would be destroyed? Jesus foretold many signs that would shake peoples and nations. The signs which God uses are meant to point us to a higher spiritual truth and reality of his kingdom which does not perish or fade away, but endures for all eternity. God works through many events and signs to purify and renew us in hope and to help us set our hearts more firmly on him and him alone.

First signs of the end times
To the great consternation of the Jews, Jesus prophesied the destruction of their great temple at Jerusalem. The Jewish people took great pride in their temple, a marvel of the ancient world. The foretelling of this destruction was a dire warning of spiritual judgment in itself. They asked Jesus for a sign that would indicate when this disastrous event would occur. Jesus admonished them to not look for signs that would indicate the exact timing of impending destruction, but rather to pray for God’s intervention of grace and mercy.

Jesus said there would be many signs of impending conflicts and disasters – such as wars, famines, diseases, tidal waves, and earthquakes – which would precede the struggles of the last days when God’s anointed King would return to usher in the full reign of God over the earth. In that day when the Lord returns there will be a final judgement of the living and the dead when the secrets of every heart will be brought to light (Luke 12:2-3; Romans 2:16).

Jesus foretells the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem 
Jesus’ prophecy of the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem was a two-edged sword, because it pointed not only to God’s judgment, but also to his saving action and mercy. Jesus foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and the dire consequences for all who would reject him and his saving message. While the destruction of Jerusalem’s temple was determined (it was razed by the Romans in 70 A.D.), there remained for its inhabitants a narrow open door leading to deliverance. Jesus said: “I am the door; whoever enters by me will be saved” (John 10:9).  Jesus willingly set his face toward Jerusalem, knowing that he would meet betrayal, rejection, and death on a cross. His death on the cross, however, brought about true freedom, peace, and victory over the powers of sin, evil, and death – not only for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, but for all – both Jew and Gentile alike – who would accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Do you know the peace and security of a life submitted to the lordship of Jesus Christ?

We need to recognize the signs of God’s judgment, mercy, and grace to save us 
Sometimes we don’t recognize the moral crisis and spiritual conflict of the age in which we live, until something “shakes us up” to the reality of this present condition. God reminds us that a future judgment and outcome awaits every individual who has lived on this earth. The reward for doing what is right and pleasing to God and the penalty for sinful rebellion and rejection of God are not always experienced in this present life – but they are sure to come in the day of final judgment.

The Lord Jesus tells us that there will be trials, suffering, and persecution in this present age until he comes again at the end of the world. God intends our anticipation of his final judgment to be a powerful deterrent to unfaithfulness and wrongdoing. God extends grace and mercy to all who will heed his call and his warning. Do not pass up, even for one day, God’s invitation of grace and mercy to seek first his kingdom of righteousness and peace. This day may be your only chance before that final day comes.

“Lord Jesus, your grace and mercy abounds even in the midst of trials and difficulties. Help me to seek your kingdom first and to reject whatever would hinder me from pursuing your way of peace, righteousness, and holiness. Fill me with the joy and hope of your everlasting kingdom.”

 

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

THE CERTAINTY OF THE END AND HIS COMING

“The God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall…break in pieces all these kingdoms and put an end to them, and it shall stand forever.” —Daniel 2:44

The vision Daniel interpreted has been the pattern of history (Dn 2:31ff). Great kingdom after great kingdom has been destroyed. Even the Temple and the city of God, Jerusalem, were destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. (Lk 21:6). Jesus prophesied that the fall of Jerusalem would be a prefigurement of the end of the world. “The present heavens and earth are reserved by God’s word for fire; they are kept for the day of judgment, the day when godless men will be destroyed” (2 Pt 3:7). “What we await are new heavens and a new earth where, according to His promise, the justice of God will reside” (2 Pt 3:13).

Despite the historical proof of the accuracy of Jesus’ prophecy of Jerusalem’s destruction, many people, even Christians, doubt that Jerusalem’s destruction prefigures the end of the world. However, most of the major critics of Christ’s prophecy of the world’s end have already been thrown on the garbage heap of history. For example, Karl Marx portrayed Christian eschatology as an escape from taking responsibility for justice in this world. He called Christianity “the opium of the people.” Although millions still believe Marx’s critique of Christianity, the breakdown of Marxist Communism in the Soviet Union has shown its weakness. The critics of Christianity and of its eschatology are passing away, but God’s Word will last forever (Lk 21:33).

Let the world end and Jesus return.

Prayer: Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus! (Rv 22:20Promise: “The great God has revealed to the king what shall be in the future.” —Dn 2:45 Praise: St. Andrew and companions proved the legitimacy of religion by laying down their lives for their belief in Jesus.
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2015 through November 30, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 20, 2015.
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