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12/25/17 1:10 P

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Wishing all fellow Catholics a very blessed and safe Christmas season, enjoy its true meaning! Went to 10pm mass with my family and my daughter was a first time cantor for this special mass it was very heartwarming. Bless you all, Mary

Remember you can be a miracle: it may seem small to you but can make smile or lend a hand to someone else.


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12/24/17 8:45 A

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Sunday, December 24, 2017

4TH SUNDAY OF ADVENT

LUKE 1:26-38

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."
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.

Friends, our Gospel today introduces the most elevated creature: Mary, the Mother of God. The Church Fathers often made a connection between Eve, the mother of all the living, and Mary, the Mother of God and Mother of the Church. In fact, they saw her as "the new Eve," the one who undid the damage done by Eve.

The angel’s greeting to Mary is important here: "Hail Mary, full of grace." Mary is greeted as someone who is able to accept gifts. Eve and Adam grasped; Mary is ready to receive. And Mary’s reply is also significant: "How is this possible, for I do not know man?" There is nothing cowed about Mary.

The angel explains to Mary: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you…" At the heart of the spiritual life is the conviction that your life is not about you. The real spiritual life is about allowing oneself to be overwhelmed by the one who loves us. Mary is someone who is ready for the impossible, and this makes her the paradigm of discipleship. "Let it be done to me according to thy word." That’s an acquiescence to adventure.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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12/24/17 8:14 A

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Silent Night, Holy Night

Today's Readings
2 Samuel 7: 1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16
Psalm 89: Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord
Romans 16: 25-27
Luke 1: 26-38


Reflection for Today

It is now Christmas Eve and some of us will begin our Christmas celebration this evening, and so it is important to think about how far we have progressed during our Journey Towards Life. On this holy night can we take a moment to be silent?

Here are some questions to reflectively ponder: Why was Jesus born? Why did He need to come? Why did He need to die? How grateful am I for the gifts He has given me?

“Why can’t we open our presents tonight!” is a predictable refrain our children will hear each year. While there is not a fast and steady rule about this, it is often best for all inside of our homes to experience the joy together of waking up, rushing downstairs with all of the children (who are awake), and sharing the love of life together.

Christmas Eve then becomes a wonderful time to invite allnaround the Christmas tree and have them reflect about how God is working in their lives. The relatively silent and holy night can be a special time to stop, pause, and reflect.

Prayer for Today
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; for he has come to his people and set them free. He has raised up for us a mighty Savior, born of the house of his servant David. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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12/23/17 12:26 P

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Saturday, December 23, 2017

3RD SATURDAY OF ADVENT

LUKE 1:57-66

Gospel LK 1:57-66

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child
she gave birth to a son.
Her neighbors and relatives heard
that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her,
and they rejoiced with her.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child,
they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
but his mother said in reply,
"No. He will be called John."
But they answered her,
"There is no one among your relatives who has this name."
So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
He asked for a tablet and wrote, "John is his name,"
and all were amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,
and he spoke blessing God.
Then fear came upon all their neighbors,
and all these matters were discussed
throughout the hill country of Judea.
All who heard these things took them to heart, saying,
"What, then, will this child be?
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him."

Friends, today’s Gospel reflects on the absolutely pivotal figure of John the Baptist. It’s fair to say that you cannot really understand Jesus without understanding John, which is precisely why all four Evangelists tell the story of the Baptist as a kind of overture to the story of Jesus. John sums up Israel, and without the Israelite background, the story of Jesus becomes opaque.

The story of John’s birth brings his parents, Zechariah and Elizabeth, into focus. Both are strongly priestly personages. Elizabeth is a descendant of the family of Aaron, the first priest of Israel, and Zechariah was a practicing Temple priest.

What’s important for our purposes is that John was of very priestly stock. So why, when we first hear of him in his adult life, is he out in the desert and not in the Temple? Well, there was a long prophetic tradition that criticized the Temple for its corruption. In John’s time, the Temple was mired in very messy, vile, and violent politics. So what is he doing in the desert? He is offering what the Temple ought to be offering but wasn’t, due to its corruption, namely, the forgiveness of sins.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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12/23/17 12:07 P

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I am Sending My Messenger

Today's Readings

Malachi 3: 1-4, 23-24
Psalm 25: Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.
Luke 1: 57-66

Reflection for Today

The prophet Malachi sets the stage for the birth of John the Baptist in today’s gospel, who will prepare the way of the Lord, Jesus Christ! Even at his birth, John the Baptist makes quite an impression on the people in the hill country of Judea, and as our Journey Towards Life nears an end, we are still inspired by all of the preludes that lead to Christ’s birth.

Perhaps you are out shopping today or making a visit to a public place. Are there any subtle ways you can point to Jesus? St. Francis of Assisi was known to say, "Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary use words." Maybe today would be a good time to humbly let folks know that Jesus is the reason for the season.

Prayer for Today

Lord of Life, as we prepare to celebrate Your birthday, help me to be an effective and grace-filled messenger. Fill me with love and peace as I humbly point toward You. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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12/22/17 9:18 P

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Friday, December 22, 2017

3RD FRIDAY OF ADVENT

LUKE 1:46-56

Friends, today’s Gospel explains the significance of Mary’s fiat. By far, the most important Advent figure is Mary of Nazareth, the Mother of God, for Mary sums up in her person the whole of the people Israel, the nation whose whole purpose was to prepare for the coming of the Lord. In the face of the evil, injustice, stupidity, and sin that were marring his beautiful creation, God resolved to choose a people and to form them according to his heart so that they could be the vehicle of his presence to the world. From this people would come, as a sort of flowering, the Messiah.

Thus Mary recapitulates the story of Israel, the story of redemption. We can, as it were, read the whole Old Testament in her. As the true Israel, she knows what to do, and she does it with enthusiasm. No dawdling, back-pedaling, straying, or complaining: she moves, she goes. And she goes upon the heights, which is exactly where God had always summoned Israel, so that it could be a light to the nations.

Friends, today’s Gospel explains the significance of Mary’s fiat. By far, the most important Advent figure is Mary of Nazareth, the Mother of God, for Mary sums up in her person the whole of the people Israel, the nation whose whole purpose was to prepare for the coming of the Lord. In the face of the evil, injustice, stupidity, and sin that were marring his beautiful creation, God resolved to choose a people and to form them according to his heart so that they could be the vehicle of his presence to the world. From this people would come, as a sort of flowering, the Messiah.

Thus Mary recapitulates the story of Israel, the story of redemption. We can, as it were, read the whole Old Testament in her. As the true Israel, she knows what to do, and she does it with enthusiasm. No dawdling, back-pedaling, straying, or complaining: she moves, she goes. And she goes upon the heights, which is exactly where God had always summoned Israel, so that it could be a light to the nations.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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12/22/17 9:11 P

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My Spirit Rejoices!

Today's Readings

1 Samuel 1: 24-28
Responsorial (based on 1 Samuel): My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
Luke 1: 46-56

Reflection for Today

Even while in the womb, Jesus causes those around Him to rejoice. Even John the Baptist. How wonderful it is to be in God’s presence!

Every human being is made in the likeness and image of God, and this reflection of beauty, regardless of how conceived, should create joy. Why? Because God has chosen to bless the world with new life. The newly created life has unlimited potential and can bless many.

Perhaps they will be the next great scientist, the next great composer, the next great priest, the next great mother.

As Sister Alice Maceda used to say: “Only God knows and He ain’t telling!”

Prayer for Today

God our Father, thank you for giving us Your Son whose birth we joyfully await to celebrate. Help me to continually be a positive life-giving reflection of Your love so others may likewise wish to rejoice. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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12/21/17 8:51 P

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

3RD THURSDAY OF ADVENT

LUKE 1:39-45

Gospel LK 1:39-45

Mary set out in those days
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
"Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled."

Friends, today’s Gospel tells of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth. I’ve always been fascinated by Mary’s "haste" in this story of the Visitation. Upon hearing the message of Gabriel concerning her own pregnancy and that of her cousin, Mary "proceeded in haste into the hill country of Judah" to see Elizabeth.

Why did she go with such speed and purpose? Because she had found her mission, her role in the theo-drama. We are dominated today by the ego-drama in all of its ramifications and implications. The ego-drama is the play that I’m writing, I’m producing, I’m directing, and I’m starring in. We see this absolutely everywhere in our culture. Freedom of choice reigns supreme: I become the person that I choose to be.

The theo-drama is the great story being told by God, the great play being directed by God. What makes life thrilling is to discover your role in it. This is precisely what has happened to Mary. She has found her role—indeed, a climactic role—in the theo-drama, and she wants to conspire with Elizabeth, who has also discovered her role in the same drama. Like Mary, we have to find our place in God’s story.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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12/19/17 9:57 A

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Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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12/18/17 8:32 P

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Monday, December 18, 2017

3RD MONDAY OF ADVENT

MATTHEW 1:18-25

Gospel MT 1:18-25

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
"Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins."
All this took place to fulfill
what the Lord had said through the prophet:

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,

which means "God is with us."
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.
He had no relations with her until she bore a son,
and he named him Jesus.

Friends, today’s Gospel centers on the intriguing figure of Joseph. Joseph is one of the most beloved of the saints, featured in countless works of art and prominent in the devotional lives of many.

We know almost nothing about him, yet some very powerful spiritual themes emerge in the accounts of Joseph. He had become betrothed to Mary and this union had been blessed by God. And then he finds that his betrothed is pregnant.

This must have been an emotional maelstrom for him. And, at a deeper level, it is a spiritual crisis. What does God want him to do? Then the angel appears to him in a dream and tells him, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home." He realizes at that moment that these puzzling events are part of a much greater plan of God’s. What appears to be a disaster from his perspective is meaningful from God’s perspective.

Joseph was willing to cooperate with the divine plan, though he in no way knew its contours or deepest purpose. Like Mary at the Annunciation, he trusted and let himself be led.

Let Go and Let God!

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12/18/17 3:22 P

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Advent day 16:
God is with us!

Today's Readings

Jeremiah 23: 5-8
Psalm 25: Teach me your ways, O Lord.
Matthew 1: 23-27

Reflection for Today

Joseph in today’s Gospel had been having doubts about whether to wed Mary, who was with child that he had no part of conceiving. Joseph considered quietly leaving her until an angel appeared to him in a dream. One of the messages Joseph receives is the name of the new child: Emmanuel, God is with us.

God continues to be with us today, and yes, He still leads us towards life!

Prayer for Today

Dear Lord Jesus, help me to embrace all life regardless of how it is conceived, and help me see more and more how much You will provide for all of us. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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12/16/17 8:18 A

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Saturday, December 16, 2017

2ND SATURDAY OF ADVENT

MATTHEW 17:9A, 10-13

As they were coming down from the mountain,
the disciples asked Jesus,
"Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"
He said in reply, "Elijah will indeed come and restore all things;
but I tell you that Elijah has already come,
and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased.
So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands."
Then the disciples understood
that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.

Friends, today’s Gospel passage identifies the appearance of John the Baptist with the expected return of the prophet Elijah. John, the herald of Christ, appears in the desert. Here he stands for all of us in the desert of sin, the lifeless place. It is as though John purposely went there to remind us of our need for grace.

What is he proclaiming? A baptism of repentance. This is the great message. Turn your life over to a higher power. People are coming to him from all sides, because in our heart of hearts we all resonate with this message.

So often in the Old Testament the prophets are asked to act out some quality of the people, perhaps something they were unable or unwilling to see. Well, this tradition continues here: John acts out for the people their helplessness and neediness before the Lord. But then, like Isaiah, he refuses to leave it at that. He announces that one is coming, one who will baptize in the Holy Spirit.

Let Go and Let God!

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12/16/17 8:18 A

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Saturday, December 16, 2017

2ND SATURDAY OF ADVENT

MATTHEW 17:9A, 10-13

As they were coming down from the mountain,
the disciples asked Jesus,
"Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"
He said in reply, "Elijah will indeed come and restore all things;
but I tell you that Elijah has already come,
and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased.
So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands."
Then the disciples understood
that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.

Friends, today’s Gospel passage identifies the appearance of John the Baptist with the expected return of the prophet Elijah. John, the herald of Christ, appears in the desert. Here he stands for all of us in the desert of sin, the lifeless place. It is as though John purposely went there to remind us of our need for grace.

What is he proclaiming? A baptism of repentance. This is the great message. Turn your life over to a higher power. People are coming to him from all sides, because in our heart of hearts we all resonate with this message.

So often in the Old Testament the prophets are asked to act out some quality of the people, perhaps something they were unable or unwilling to see. Well, this tradition continues here: John acts out for the people their helplessness and neediness before the Lord. But then, like Isaiah, he refuses to leave it at that. He announces that one is coming, one who will baptize in the Holy Spirit.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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12/16/17 8:08 A

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Jesus Was Born to Die

Today's Readings

Sirach 48: 1-4, 9-11
Psalm 80: Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
Matthew 17: 9a, 10-13

Reflection for Today

It is sobering information but one that Jesus did not back away from telling His closes friends: “The Son of Man will suffer…” In essence, He is born so He may ransom His life for us. It’s not a sentiment that winds up on many Hallmark greeting cards, but as we journey towards life and conclude this second week of Advent, it helps for us to wrestle with this reality: Jesus was born to die for us.

If we can focus more on this self-giving sacrifice, it can actually produce greater dividends. Life then becomes a juxtaposition: the more we give away, the more we receive. The more we die to ourselves, the more we live!

Prayer for Today

Dear Lord, help me to embrace a new life with You, one that has service to others at its core. Help me to decrease as You increase in my life. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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12/15/17 9:07 A

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Friday, December 15, 2017

2ND FRIDAY OF ADVENT

MATTHEW 11:16-19

Gospel MT 11:16-19

Jesus said to the crowds:
"To what shall I compare this generation?
It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another,
'We played the flute for you, but you did not dance,
we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.'
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said,
'He is possessed by a demon.'
The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said,
'Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard,
a friend of tax collectors and sinners.'
But wisdom is vindicated by her works."

Friends, in today’s Gospel the Pharisees compare the eating habits of John the Baptist, who fasted, and Jesus, who dined with sinners. In the carefully stratified society of Jesus’ time, a righteous person would never associate with the unrighteous, for fear of becoming unclean.

But here is Jesus, scandalizing everyone because he does indeed break down these barriers. How would you feel if you saw me socializing with prostitutes and drug-dealers, eating and drinking with terrorists? Would it shock you, dismay you, disappoint you? But this is what Jesus did, precisely because he was the Incarnation of the God who aggressively seeks out the lost.

God looks for us, comes running after us, never lets go, never relents, never gives up. The more we run, the more he runs after; the more we hide, the more he looks; the more we resist, the more he persists. God likes sinners and associates with them.

Let Go and Let God!

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12/15/17 8:17 A

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You Are Not Cut Off!

Today's Readings

Isaiah 48: 17-19
Psalm 1: Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
Matthew 11: 16-19

Reflection for Today

Today Isaiah encourages us when he says: Your descendants would be like the sand, and those born of your stock like its grains. Their name never cut off or blotted from my presence.

We can begin to fathom what the message is when we realize that all of us are children of God, and whether we physically parent a child or not, we are still part of one family, both young and old. As Christians we are all adopted by God and are children of the King. This is truly Good News and helps put our earthly lives into perspective. Isaiah tells us how much God loves us, and as we come down to just ten days before Christmas, perhaps today is a good day to let someone know how much they are loved.

Prayer for Today

Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me unconditionally and inviting me to be part of your family. You do not treat anyone like an orphan. All are sons and daughters of the King! Encourage me today to invite more people into your kingdom, for there are no boundaries and no limits to the size of your family. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

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12/14/17 10:34 P

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

2ND THURSDAY OF ADVENT - MEMORIAL OF SAINT JOHN OF THE CROSS

MATTHEW 11:11-15

Gospel MT 11:11-15

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."

Friends, today’s Gospel affirms the greatness of John the Baptist. I think it’s fair to say that you cannot really understand Jesus without understanding John, which is precisely why all four Evangelists tell the story of the Baptist as a kind of overture to the story of Jesus.

John did not draw attention to himself. Rather, he presented himself as a preparation, a forerunner, a prophet preparing the way of the Lord. He was summing up much of Israelite history, but stressing that this history was open-ended, unfinished.

And therefore, how powerful it was when, upon spying Jesus coming to be baptized, he said, "Behold the Lamb of God." No first-century Israelite would have missed the meaning of that: behold the one who has come to be sacrificed. Behold the sacrifice, which will sum up, complete, and perfect the Temple. Moreover, behold the Passover lamb, who sums up the whole meaning of that event and brings it to fulfillment.

And this is why John says, "He must increase and I must decrease." In other words, the overture is complete; and now the great opera begins. The preparatory work of Israel is over, and now the Messiah will reign.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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12/11/17 2:37 P

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Monday, December 11, 2017

2ND MONDAY OF ADVENT

LUKE 5:17-26

Gospel LK 5:17-26

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."

Friends, our Gospel for today tells that wonderful story of the healing of the paralytic. People gather by the dozens to hear Jesus, crowding around the doorway of the house. They bring him a paralyzed man, and because there is no way to get him through the door, they climb up on the roof and open a space to lower him down.

Can I suggest a connection between this wonderful narrative and our present evangelical situation? There are an awful lot of Catholics who are paralyzed, unable to move, frozen in regard to Christ and the Church. This might be from doubt, from fear, from anger, from old resentment, from ignorance, or from self-reproach. Some of these reasons might be good; some might be bad.

Your job, as a believer, is to bring them to Christ. How? A word of encouragement, a challenge, an explanation, a word of forgiveness, a note, a phone call. We notice the wonderful urgency of these people as they bring the sick man to Jesus. Do we feel the same urgency within his mystical body today?

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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12/10/17 11:02 P

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

2ND SUNDAY OF ADVENT

MARK 1:1-8

Gospel MK 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."

Friends, today’s Gospel compels us to come to grips with the great Advent figure of John the Baptist. It’s really impossible to grasp the significance of Jesus without passing through the cleansing bath of John the Baptist. He provides a lens through which Jesus is properly interpreted.

John, we learn today, made his appearance as a preacher in the desert of Judea. Deserts are places of simplicity and poverty, places where distractions and attachments are eliminated—and hence where the voice of God can be heard. Wealth, pleasure, power, honor—and all of their avatars and priests—are shouting at us, luring us, tempting us. But what is God saying? We have to go to these silent and deserted places in order to hear.

What is the first thing that the prophet says? We read in another Gospel that he says, "Reform your lives!" In other words, "Repent!" This word cuts to the heart of every one of us, precisely because we all know that our lives are not where they are supposed to be. We have all fallen short of the glory of God; we have all fallen into patterns of self-absorption and addiction. So let us hear John’s word today: "Repent!"

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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12/9/17 5:32 P

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Saturday, December 9, 2017

1ST SATURDAY OF ADVENT

MATTHEW 9:35-10:1, 5A, 6-8

Gospel MT 9:35–10:1, 5A, 6-8

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."

Friends, today’s Gospel, taken from the magnificent tenth chapter of Luke’s Gospel, is a portrait of the Church. It shows us what Jesus wants his followers to do and how to do it. We are a missionary Church. We are sent by the Lord to spread his word and do his work. The Christian Gospel is just not something that we are meant to cling to for our own benefit. Rather, it is like seed that we are meant to give away.

We do this work together, with others, in community. Ministers need people to support them, pray for them, talk to them, challenge them. Francis of Assisi had an experience of God and then, within months, gathered people around him; Dominic, from the beginning, had brothers in his work; and Mother Teresa attracted a number of her former students to join her in her mission. We don’t go it alone.

And prayer is not incidental to ministry. It is not decorative. It is the lifeblood of the Church’s efforts. Without it, nothing will succeed; without it, no ministers will come forward. At all points, pray, pray, pray.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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12/9/17 10:58 A

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Sheep Without a Shepherd

Today's Readings

Isaiah 30: 19-21, 23-26
Psalm 147: Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.
Matthew 9: 35—10:1, 5a, 6-8

Reflection for Today

Today the prophet Isaiah encourages us to wait expectantly for better days, and it is a very good message as we await the coming of Christmas, which ushers in salvation and life! For centuries God’s people were without a shepherd, and Jesus’ birth resolves this void, but He still asks us to join Him.

Jesus wants us to be His hands, feet, ears, and mouth as we share life with those around us. How do we share life? How about smiling more, being more patient, more kind, and going out of our way to assist someone in need.

As we close out this first week of Advent, let us be more mindful to be less worldly, which puts a price tag on everything, and more generous with our time, talent and treasure.

Prayer for Today

Loving Jesus, help me today to embrace the message of today’s Gospel: “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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12/4/17 3:18 P

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Monday, December 4, 2017

1ST MONDAY OF ADVENT

MATTHEW 8:5-11

Gospel MT 8:5-11

When Jesus entered Capernaum,
a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying,
"Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully."
He said to him, "I will come and cure him."
The centurion said in reply,
"Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof;
only say the word and my servant will be healed.
For I too am a man subject to authority,
with soldiers subject to me.
And I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes;
and to another, 'Come here,' and he comes;
and to my slave, 'Do this,' and he does it."
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him,
"Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.
I say to you, many will come from the east and the west,
and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven."

Friends, today’s Gospel passage acclaims a centurion’s trust in the Lord Jesus. To trust is to have hope, to turn one’s heart to God. It means to root one’s life, to ground and center one’s concerns in God. And, oppositely, to trust and to turn one’s heart to human beings means to root the whole of one’s life, to ground and center one’s concerns, in the things of this world, in wealth, fame, power, honor, or pleasure.

What is the center of gravity of your life? What is your "ultimate concern’"? The Bible consistently lays this out as an either/or. Think of the passage in the book of Joshua, when Joshua lays it on the line for the people of Israel: "Do you serve the Lord or some other gods?"

Jesus tells his followers, "Either you are with me or you are against me." Today’s Gospel reminds us that we each have to answer this question with great honesty and clarity.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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12/3/17 10:18 P

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Sunday, December 3, 2017

1ST SUNDAY OF ADVENT

MARK 13:33-37

Gospel MK 13:33-37

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Be watchful! Be alert!
You do not know when the time will come.
It is like a man traveling abroad.
He leaves home and places his servants in charge,
each with his own work,
and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.
Watch, therefore;
you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming,
whether in the evening, or at midnight,
or at cockcrow, or in the morning.
May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.
What I say to you, I say to all: 'Watch!'"

Friends, today’s Gospel urges us to stay alert as we await the coming of the Lord. Advent is the season of waiting. We place ourselves in the position of those who, over the centuries, waited for the coming of the Messiah. With them, we cry out, "How long, O Lord?"

Though Jesus fulfilled the expectations of his people, nevertheless we still wait. The liturgy states it very clearly: "as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ." In one of the Eucharistic prayers, we find, "as we await his coming in glory…" The Creed says, "He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead." And the very last words of the New Testament are "Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus."

What do we make of all of this? Do we really think that he is going to come again and walk on the earth? We stay awake in our waiting if we pray on a regular basis; if we educate ourselves in the faith; if we participate in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist; if we perform the corporal and spiritual works of mercy; if we become people of love.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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12/3/17 10:14 P

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Mk 13:33-37

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be watchful! Be alert!
You do not know when the time will come.
It is like a man traveling abroad.
He leaves home and places his servants in charge,
each with his own work,
and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.
Watch, therefore;
you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming,
whether in the evening, or at midnight,
or at cockcrow, or in the morning.
May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.
What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!'”


Grace: I ask for the grace to know Jesus in a deeper way that I may abundantly love and follow him.

I find myself resisting this call to watchfulness. It can seem like yet another attitude or activity that sucks time and energy from my already tired out soul. Why is Jesus piling yet another expectation into my life?

The words “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Mt. 11:31) echo through my being. This is so different from the tired busyness I experience every day. “What are you saying, Lord?”

“I want you to watch for overtiredness, over-commitment, excessive expectations that do not come from me. They will tempt you to take on the work of my other servants, as well as your own. Keep watch. These false expectations will try to overwhelm you. Take care, so that when I return like the Lord of the house, I do not find you submerged in a flurry of unnecessary responsibility.” “Jesus, show me what true rest looks and feels like in my life.” I am flooded inwardly with peace and rest.



For Reflection and Prayer:

As you begin this Advent Retreat, Jesus may be asking you to re-order your priorities, to live a more peaceful, centered life. Paradoxically, watchfulness can also mean being alert, to not allow stress to take over your life.

These questions may help you reflect on this:

I allow my daily activities to float through my mind. Which of these is Jesus asking me to set aside? Which am I called to keep?

How do I feel about letting go?

Which activities “build up” the Kingdom of God in my heart, my family, my work? Which do not?



Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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12/3/17 1:20 P

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emoticon I will read this at home with my family...I did go to mass this morning.. emoticon


Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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12/3/17 9:26 A

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The Journey Begins

Today's Readings

Isaiah 63: 16b-17, 19b, 64: 2-7
Psalm 80: Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
1 Corinthians 1: 3-9
Mark 13: 33-37

Reflection for Today

Every journey begins with a step, and this year during the Season of Advent, Good Counsel is walking with you as we take our first step toward life. Yes, we think of Advent journeying towards light… the Light of Christ… and this is especially poignant during these dark days when there is less sunlight. But it is also important to know that Christ came to bring us life, and in these culturally dark days, it is important for us to bring life into a world that is often rejecting it and rejecting Him in so many ways.

“You’re going to have THREE children!!??” Heather was asked by a friend before she came into Good Counsel. “Three???” the tone became even more unfriendly as Heather’s friend encouraged her not to have another child. Fortunately, Heather did not listen and has chosen life. The native Floridian is now in New York and making a new life for herself and her three children while working in the health and fitness industry.

During this Advent, let us be mindful as we journey toward the light and life of Christ that nothing is impossible for God, and when we humbly seek His direction, He will make a way for us!

Prayer for Today

Dear Jesus, You are the Author of Life. As we begin this Advent journey, please keep me aware of my words and actions so I may build and not destroy a culture of life. Amen.|

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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12/11/15 3:40 P

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emoticon emoticon

Monica
Co-Leader Team Tea-lightful
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Short term goal: 165
Living in Mankato, MN.


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12/2/15 10:42 P

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ADVENT DAY 4 – GOD’S WAY OF BEING
by Bishop Robert Barron

884 67 201

We know something about the cosmos as a whole that our ancient brothers and sisters didn’t, namely that it is subject to collapse. Ancient peoples thought that the sun and moon were forever; we know that they’re not. Aristotle and Plato thought that nature or matter have always existed and would always exist; we know they came into being at the Big Bang and will go out of being at the Great Crunch. Everything in the cosmos passes—and indeed the cosmos itself passes.

Now attend to this line in Mark’s Gospel: “After that, men will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with great power and glory” (Mk 13:26). Jesus is hearkening back to the great prophecy in the seventh chapter of the prophet Daniel. The prophet speaks there of “one like a Son of Man” who will “come on a cloud” and deliver Israel after a long period of oppression.

Well, this is precisely how the first Christians appreciated Jesus. He was not just one more prophet or teacher. He was the very incarnation of God’s eternal wisdom, God’s love, God’s way of being. And this meant that he was their link to that eternal power that runs through all things, that suffuses all things, that transcends all things, that power which endures even when the plants and planets and the earth itself fade away, that lasts even after our bodies have come and gone.

The whole point of this apocalyptic discourse is not to frighten us, but to give us hope and to tell us where to look. Don’t keep your eyes fixed on the always chaotic and always passing world. Don’t focus solely on the unreliable realm of politics or the fleeting bodily life that we live. Keep your eyes fixed on the Son of Man, who links you to the very power of God. Watch for him, wait for him, and find your peace in him.



Let Go and Let God!

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12/1/15 1:59 P

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ADVENT DAY 3 – LOOK TO THE SON OF MAN
by Bishop Robert Barron

What will the end times be like? Luke gives us Jesus’ apocalyptic speech concerning the end of all things: “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish…Men will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming on the earth. The powers in the heavens will be shaken…” (Lk 21: 25-26).

This is a kind of unraveling of what we read in Genesis. In the beginning, God drew order out of chaos, setting the sun and moon gently in the sky, distinguishing the dry land from the sea, putting our first parents in a peaceful garden.

Jesus predicts the reversal of all of this: the sun and moon will be shaken, the earth will rock, and the waves will overwhelm the dry land. But then, in the midst of this chaos, “the Son of Man will come on a cloud with great power and glory” (Mt 24:30).

What in the world do we make of this? Let us first attend to the imagery of collapse. A sad but undeniable fact of our experience is that nothing lasts. The gorgeous sunset endures for a few minutes and then it is dark; the placid sea is roiled by great winds; plants grow up, and then they wither and fade; animals roam the earth and impress us with their power and beauty, but in a matter of a few years, they fade away. Everything in the cosmos passes—and indeed the cosmos itself passes.

Next, we hear about political chaos: nations will be in tumult. Well, one is tempted to ask, “What else is new?” Even the most casual survey of history shows that nations have always been in tumult. Politics has always been a blood-sport. Peace is usually just a brief pause between battle, a chance for the two sides to take a breath.

So, in light of this collapse and political chaos, do we just fall into depression? No! We realize again the liberating truth that nothing here below lasts, neither in nature, nor the cosmos, nor politics, nor our own bodies. Everything passes. Therefore, don’t expect to find your ultimate fulfillment in any of it! Look elsewhere; look higher. Look to the Son of Man.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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11/30/15 12:05 P

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Advent Day 2 - Three Advent Practices

What practically can we do during this season of waiting and vigil keeping? What are some practices that might incarnate for us the spirituality of the season?

How about the classically Catholic discipline of Eucharistic adoration? To spend a half-hour or an hour in the presence of the Lord is not to accomplish or achieve very much, but it is a particularly rich form of spiritual waiting.

As you keep vigil before the Blessed Sacrament, bring to Christ some problem or dilemma that you have been fretting over, and then pray, "Lord, I'm waiting for you to solve this, to show me the way out, the way forward. I've been running, planning, worrying, but now I'm going to let you work." Then, throughout Advent, watch attentively for signs.

Also, when you pray before the Eucharist, allow your desire for the things of God to intensify; allow your heart and soul to expand. Pray, "Lord, make me ready to receive the gifts you want to give," or even, "Lord Jesus, surprise me."

A second - and more offbeat - suggestion: Do a jigsaw puzzle. Find one of those big, complex puzzles with thousands of small pieces; one that requires lots of time and plenty of patience, and make of it an Advent project. As you assemble the puzzle think of each piece as some aspect of your life: a relationship, a loss, a failure, a great joy, an adventure, a place where you lived, something you shouldn't have said, an act of generosity. So often the events of our lives seem like the thousand pieces of a puzzle lying incoherently and disconnectedly before us. As you patiently put the puzzle together, meditate on the fact that God is slowly, according to his own plan and purpose, ordering the seemingly unrelated and incongruous events of our lives into a picture of great beauty.

Finally, take advantage of traffic jams and annoying lines-really anything that makes you wait. And let the truth of what 18th-century spiritual writer Jean-Pierre de Caussade said sink in: "Whatever happens to you in the course of a day, for good or ill, is an expression of God's will." Instead of cursing your luck, banging on the steering wheel, or rolling your eyes in frustration, see the wait as a spiritual invitation this Advent.




Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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11/29/15 2:14 P

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Advent Day 1 - Adventus

Advent (Adventus) means arrival. Arrivals can be wonderful and joyous, but they can also scare the life out of us. They can be terrifying for something breaks in to upset and re-arrange the current state of affairs.

Jesus speaks of such an arrival and says to his disciples, "The coming of the Son of Man will repeat what happened in Noah's time" (Mt 24:37). Those are not very reassuring words. Then he adds that people were eating and drinking, marrying and being given in marriage, right up to the time of the flood, and then, when it came, they were destroyed with shocking suddenness. The end of an old world had arrived, but the inhabitants of that world were clueless. A new world was coming, but its prospective citizens had no idea how to prepare for it.

What would that look like in our day? Well, imagine a huge comet crashing into the earth. Scientists tell us this would destroy civilization and life as we know it. But what if we knew that a comet was coming and we did nothing about it? We didn't adjust in any way to it? This was the situation of those in Noah's time and, Jesus suggests, those in his own time.

Jesus breaks into our sinful world like a cleansing fire or like a wild storm --or like a comet--and he brings a revolution. That's the way he arrives.


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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