The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
Do you seek God’s way of peace and wisdom for your life? The prophets remind us that God’s kingdom is available to those who are teachable and receptive to the word of God. Through their obedience to God’s word and commandments, they receive not only wisdom and peace for themselves, but they, in turn become a blessing to their children and their offspring as well. Jesus warns the generation of his day to heed God’s word before it is too late. He compares proud teachers and vain scholars with stubborn playmates who refuse to follow wise counsel and instruction.
Jesus parable about a group of disappointed musicians and their stubborn friends who refuse to sing or dance at the appropriate occasion challenge us to examine whether we are selective to only hear and do what we want to hear. The young music players in Jesus’ parable react with great dismay because they cannot get anyone to follow their instruction. They complain that if they play their music at weddings, no one will join in their festive song and dance; and if they play mournful tunes and songs at funerals, no one will join in at all. This parable echoes the wisdom of Ecclesiastes 3:4 – “there is a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Are you in tune with the message of God’s kingdom? And do you heed God’s word of wisdom and truth as if your life depended on it?
Spiritual indifference and deaf ears can block God’s word for us
Jesus’ message of the kingdom of God is a proclamation of good news that produces great joy and hope for those who listen and obey – but it is also a warning of bad consequences and disaster for those who refuse to accept God’s gracious invitation. Why did the message of John the Baptist and the message of Jesus meet with resistance and deaf ears? It was out of jealously and spiritual blindness that the scribes and Pharisees attributed John the Baptist’s austerities to the devil and they attributed Jesus’ table fellowship as evidence for pretending to be the Messiah. They succeeded in frustrating God’s plan for their lives because they had closed their hearts to the message of John the Baptist and now they close their ears to Jesus, God’s anointed Son sent to redeem us from bondage to sin and death.
What can make us spiritually dull and slow to hear God’s voice? Like the generation of Jesus’ time, our age is marked by indifference and contempt, especially in regards to the things of heaven. Indifference dulls our ears to God’s voice and to the good news of the Gospel. Only the humble of heart can find joy and favor in God’s sight. Is you life in tune with Jesus’ message of hope and salvation? And do you know the joy and blessing of believing and obeying God’s word?
“Lord Jesus, open my ears to hear the good news of your kingdom and set my heart free to love and serve you joyfully. May nothing keep me from following you wholeheartedly.”
THE STAR OF OBEDIENCE
“If you would hearken to My commandments, your prosperity would be like a river, and your vindication like the waves of the sea.” —Isaiah 48:18
Christmas, like life, is a matter of obedience. If we obey the Lord’s commands, we will become prosperous, vindicated, blessed, and assured this Christmas (Is 48:18-19). However, we are often like rebellious, disobedient children who want to give orders rather than take them (Mt 11:16-17). We must repent of this self-willed, disobedient attitude or we will deprive ourselves of Christmas and even of Christ.
At the first Christmas, the Lord gave His commands to Mary and Joseph through His angel (Lk 1:26; Mt 1:20) and the government (Lk 2:1). He commanded the wise men through a star and the Bible (Mt 2:2-6). He commanded the shepherds through a choir of angels (Lk 2:11-12). The few who obeyed were present at the first Christmas. Yet a world of innkeepers had no room in their hearts even for the Messiah (Lk 2:7). It is the same today. The real Christmas, the personal encounter with Christ, is for those who believe in the Lord enough to obey Him. Only those who follow the star of obedience will make their way to the manger and find the Christ-Child.
Prayer: Lord, if I don’t die to self, I’ll miss out on Christmas again and I’ll never love You. I repent. Promise: “I, the Lord, your God, teach you what is for your good, and lead you on the way you should go.” —Is 48:17 Praise: Pope St. Damasus I promoted the martyrs as a means to fight heresy and schism.
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