Advent, Gospel, Mass Reflection, Saints

Authority of the Beloved. A Meditation Monday of the Third Week of Advent

Monday 14 December

Memorial of St. John of the Cross

Matthew 21: 23-27

When Jesus had come into the temple area, the chief priests and the elders of the people approached him as he was teaching and said, “By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority?” Jesus said to them in reply, “I shall ask you one question, and if you answer it for me, then I shall tell you by what authority I do these things. Where was John’s baptism from? Was it of heavenly or of human origin?” They discussed this among themselves and said, “If we say ‘Of heavenly origin,’ he will say to us, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we fear the crowd, for they all regard John as a prophet.” So they said to Jesus in reply, “We do not know.” He himself said to them, “Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.”


Today’s gospel reading centers on the idea of authority. The Pharisees want to know where Jesus is doing all the things he’s doing (healing the sick, absolving people’s sins, etc.) While Jesus could have easily answered them by saying, “Well, I’m God, so…” He doesn’t. Instead he asks them a question about John the Baptist, which they don’t answer, and so Jesus doesn’t answer their question. 

The question of authority comes up a lot, at all ages. How many times have older siblings told younger siblings to do something because “I’m bigger than you are!”? We all like to have authority, but we definitely don’t like being told what to do. 

Who is Jesus? Why can he tell us what to do? 

Well, he’s God. So, since he made us, and we’re trying to live the way he wants us to, we should listen to him. Right? But let’s look at another dimension. 

St. John of the Cross, whose feast day is today, calls God the “beloved” in his famous poem, “The Dark Night of the Soul.” Do we love Jesus like this? Do we want to follow his commands and accept his authority because we love him? Or do we do it grudgingly, like a kid cleaning his room? 

That doesn’t mean it’s always easy to follow him. Sometimes we’re not in love with Jesus, and he’s not our Beloved. Or, maybe, we’ve never thought of him quite that way before. 

For the rest of Advent, try to imagine Jesus as your Beloved. We follow his commands because we love him. We want to make him happy, we want that intimacy with him. His authority isn’t that of a stern ruler, but of a lover who wants our perfect happiness. 

Meditation

He comes because of love. Contemplate Jesus as your beloved.


Emily DeArdo

Advent, Bible, Gospel, Saints, Uncategorized

Second Sunday of Advent Gospel Reflection with Emily Jaminet

Sunday 6 December

Second Sunday of Advent

St. Nicholas Day

Mark 1:1-8

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.”


In addition to the second Sunday of Advent, today we celebrate one of the most universal and honored saints of the Church, St. Nicholas. The Lord’s Day always takes priority on the Church calendar, but I bet many excited children still put our their shoes last night!

In the Western culture a tradition began with the giving of gifts at Christmas time in the name of St. Nicholas. This was the genesis of Santa Claus. St. Nicholas was a 4th century Catholic Bishop who was known for giving gifts to the poor, his holiness, and his defense of our Faith against heresies. St. Nicholas is a reminder that our Catholic faith should lead us to share with others in need.

Today’s Gospel reading is an invitation to go deeper, celebrate more fully, and walk the road of prayer, penance, and almsgiving. St. John the Baptist is calling all of us to be holy and to prepare our hearts for Christ. In the modern culture we tend to focus on providing material items to others by blessing them with new coffee mugs, toys, and video games. But St. John the Baptist is calling us to spiritual awareness and to hear the message of “preparing the way of the Lord.”  The preparation is repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  While John baptized with water, Jesus baptizes us with the Holy Spirit to transform our repentance into true joy. The holy season of Advent should prepare us for a Christ-Centered Christmas.  

No one should be too busy for Advent; Advent is an invitation to experience Christ in a new way! It gives us an opportunity to learn how to integrate our faith into our ordinary day-to-day lives. We can be the salt of the earth with our generosity, prayers, and service for others. Christ came that we might have life, and to share that life and his love with others. Let us be watchful during Advent for the person God wants us to share his divine love in our ordinary circumstances. Many times this turns out to be a “small matter” that in God’s eyes is a “great gift”.

Meditation: Preparing our hearts for Christ sometimes means we need to get to the Sacrament of Penance. Do an examination of conscience. Find time this week to go to confession.

Emily Jaminet

For Emily’s work, including her newest book Secrets of the Sacred Heart: 12 Ways to Claim Jesus’ Promises in your Life, visit Ave Maria Press.

You may download Good Tidings Advent Devotional Here. Good Tidings Free Download
Catholic Family, Saints

Mary Magdalene: Apostle to the Apostles

Who is your favorite saint? Mary Magdalene is one of mine.

Today is the feast of St. Mary Magdalene, the Apostle to the Apostles. Jesus cured Mary of seven demons (Lk 8:2). Seven! Seven is symbolic that Mary’s life was replete with hardships – demons – as described by the gospel writers. Possibly her demons were mental or physical illness, living the consequences of her past sins, or maybe abusive or difficult family situations. Whatever the exact sources of her demons, Jesus cured Mary body and soul, restored her, and loved her. She loved Jesus so much that she followed him to the foot of the cross.

Jesus trusted Mary to make her the first eye witness and herald of his resurrection. But Jesus doesn’t let Mary merely cling to him and her own experience. Nope! Instead, he inspires her to run with an evangelistic spirit to spread the news of his resurrection. She announces to the disciples on the third day, “I have seen the Lord” (Jn 20:18). In this, she is the Apostle to the Apostles.

I love Mary Magdalene because she shows us how good a life with Jesus can be. No matter how wounded your past, Jesus can heal you, restore you, and send you forth to announce the good news.

In honor of Mary Magdalene, share the message of Jesus with someone who is suffering today. And as a special offering, let that sharing be with someone outside your comfort zone, even if that means talking to a stranger or a person you find difficult to love.

Would you like to talk more about Mary Magdalene and other favorite saints? Join us in the Joyful Momentum online community in our Facebook Group!