Lenten Reflection Day 5: Nehemiah 8:9,10

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“Today is holy to the Lord your God. Do not lament, do not weep! Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks, and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared; for today is holy to our Lord.” (Nehemiah 8:9, 10)

Reflection

Let us not fast on the Lord’s day. God made Sunday for prayer, almsgiving, and joy.

Today is a day for worship. A celebration of the blessings in our lives. An occasion to relieve others’ sufferings according to our gifts.

Today’s Intention

Lord, this is the day you made for us. Please help us to experience and share it fully as you command us today.

Peace and Goodness

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Reading 1 – 2 SM 7:1-5, 8B-12, 14A, 16
Responsorial Psalm – PS 89:2-3, 4-5, 27-29
Reading 2 ROM 16:25-27
Gospel LK 1:26-38

“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”
(Luke 1:26-28).

In this last Sunday of Advent, God sends two messengers, the prophet Nathan and the angel Gabriel, to deliver his commands to David and Mary.

Through Nathan, God tells David not to build a house for God. Instead, God promises to build a temple for David (cf. 2 SM 7:11); a temple to serve all generations:

“I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to David my servant:
Forever will I confirm your posterity
and establish your throne for all generations”
(PS 89:4-5).

God’s promise to David is fulfilled when Gabriel announces to Mary

 “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”
(LK 1:31-33).

In today’s readings, God used his messengers to announce the good news of Advent: the prophecy and fulfillment of God’s kingdom revealed in Jesus Christ. When Mary said “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (LK 1:38), God gave us the perfect model for obedience of faith.

Advent is the season of preparation, penance and joy; a time to surrender to God as Mary did.

 

– God, I give my heart to you this day; may you will it to please you.

First Sunday of Advent

“But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 13: 32).

On this first Sunday of Advent, Mark reminds us to be prepared for Christ’s return. Therefore, “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come” (Mark 13:33).

The next 25 days of Advent are an opportunity to reflect on what we are doing to stay watchful:  “Behold, I am coming soon. I will bring with me the recompense I will give to each according to his deeds” (Revelation 22:12). What is our relationship with God? Are our thoughts, actions, and words inviting Jesus to come into our lives? (cf. Rev 22:20) How are we loving God and our neighbors? (cf. Luke 10:27) Are we aware of our shortcomings? What steps are we taking to improve our faith, hope, and love? (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:13) Have we served others with corporal and spiritual works of mercy?

Advent is a chance to ask God with hopeful hearts: “Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved” (Psalm 80:4). With the armor of God’s grace, we can draw strength from the Lord and stand firm against the darkness and evil of the world      (cf. Ephesians 6: 10-13).

We ought to rejoice during the Advent season with Paul’s words to the Corinthians in the second reading:

“…for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in him you were enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge, as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you, so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:4-7).

On Christmas Day, we celebrate our Savior’s first coming, his Nativity, and his Incarnation. A joyful occasion indeed, but one gravely incomplete if we fail to reflect on the meaning of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension.

This Advent season, let us ponder our watchfulness. Let us keep in mind Isaiah’s words: “You, LORD, are our father, our redeemer…we are the clay and you our potter: we are all the work of your hands” (Isaiah 63:16; 64:7).

– God, I give my heart to you this day; may you will it to please you.