In Honor of our Lord – Christmas Season and Beyond – Luke 2:4-20
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
In Jesus Name
Awhile back, the angels asked me to dedicate Sundays to the Gospels. With Love and Gratitude, here is the Gospel of Luke 23:35-43. With a loving message behind it.
The rulers sneered at Jesus and said,
“He saved others, let him save himself
if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.”
Even the soldiers jeered at him.
As they approached to offer him wine they called out,
“If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.”
Above him there was an inscription that read,
“This is the King of the Jews.”
Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying,
“Are you not the Christ?
Save yourself and us.”
The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply,
“Have you no fear of God,
for you are subject to the same condemnation?
And indeed, we have been condemned justly,
for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes,
but this man has done nothing criminal.”
Then he said,
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
He replied to him,
“Amen, I say to you,
today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ, the King of the Universe. We recognize and celebrate that Jesus is Lord over all of God’s Kingdom. Lord of Heaven, Earth and the Universe. Jesus is Lord over even the stars, all religions, belief systems, and even those who do not believe in him. This very special Sunday falls the very week before we begin the Advent season, which is the following weekend.
The Mercy of God is great, as well as the Mercy and Passion of the Lord. Note that Jesus has handed himself over for his bitter Passion, and is in complete agony on the cross after being scourged. When the thief to the left of him recognizes Jesus, and uses faith and humility, asking Jesus Christ to remember him when he goes in front of the Father, Jesus doesn’t say,”Well , hang on and I will think about it .” He doesn’t say, “Whew! You sure did mess up big time! Let me talk about it with God first.” No, Jesus forgives him on the spot, the moment the thief asked and announces that the thief will be in Paradise with the Lord , when he goes to the Father. Jesus knows that Mercy of God is Eternally Great, and knows He has Authority to forgive sin. The thief received eternal salvation right then and there, the second he asked.
I offer this to you because Jesus and God are both extremely Merciful. Jesus came to save many, and announces to the thief, who has lived not the best life, that he too will be in Paradise. What a Great God we serve ! What A Merciful and Great God. Trust in Jesus and in God’s Mercy. For even when Jesus was in complete and total agony, Jesus was still able to forgive sin, and bring this son of God to Heaven with him.
In Jesus’ Name
Awhile back, the angels asked me to dedicate Sundays to the Gospels. With love and gratitude, here is the Gospel of Luke 20:27-38. With a loving message behind it.
Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection,
came forward and put this question to Jesus, saying,
“Teacher, Moses wrote for us,
If someone’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child,
his brother must take the wife
and raise up descendants for his brother.
Now there were seven brothers;
the first married a woman but died childless.
Then the second and the third married her,
and likewise all the seven died childless.
Finally the woman also died.
Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be?
For all seven had been married to her.”
Jesus said to them,
“The children of this age marry and remarry;
but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age
and to the resurrection of the dead
neither marry nor are given in marriage.
They can no longer die,
for they are like angels;
and they are the children of God
because they are the ones who will rise.
That the dead will rise
even Moses made known in the passage about the bush,
when he called out ‘Lord,’
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;
and he is not God of the dead, but of the living,
for to him all are alive.”
The Pharisees set out to mock the belief in life after death by posing a preposterous scenario, which they believe will undermine the resurrection. But they have chosen the wrong target, for Jesus has no trouble besting their efforts to stump him.
Jesus easily brushes aside their simplistic logic, asserting that marriage is a thing of this “age” and those found worthy of the resurrection will not be defined or bound by such labels. That Heavenly Life will transcend our categories; there, death will be no more and we will be simply “children of God” enjoying life with the angels, in an angelic existence.
Jesus then cites their own law, that (Deuteronomy 3:6) how could Moses refer to God as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob if those patriarchs are no longer living? The declaration that the Lord is “not the God of the dead , but the God of the living” is the truth Jesus came to proclaim both through his life and teaching- but most of all, through His own Resurrection from the dead. [see reference]
Reference: Workbook for Lectors, Gospel Readers and Proclaimers of the Word.
Awhile back, the angels asked me to dedicate Sundays to the Gospel Readings. With love and gratitude, here is the Gospel of Luke LK 19:1-10. With an angel inspired message behind it.
At that time, Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.
Now a man there named Zacchaeus,
who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man,
was seeking to see who Jesus was;
but he could not see him because of the crowd,
for he was short in stature.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus,
who was about to pass that way.
When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said,
“Zacchaeus, come down quickly,
for today I must stay at your house.”
And he came down quickly and received him with joy.
When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying,
“He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”
But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord,
“Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor,
and if I have extorted anything from anyone
I shall repay it four times over.”
And Jesus said to him,
“Today salvation has come to this house
because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.
For the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save what was lost.”
One of the items in this scripture passage, that was pointed out today in church, was that Zacchaeus placed himself in a position for God’s Calling. Jesus didn’t say to Zacchaeus, ” Maybe I should stay at your house”
Jesus said ” I must stay at your house.” – This was pre-ordained by the Heavenly Father and Christ/God Authority. Zacchaeus placed himself in a position for this calling- from tax collector to disciple.
Additionally, this Gospel reading also states that Zacchaeus received Jesus with joy.
Placing our own selves in a position of God’s Calling or Christ’s Calling and Blessings is something we are all called to do- and to rejoice and receive God and Jesus with joy when receiving him in communion, prayer and/or when receiving Jesus and the One who sent Him in the Word of God.
In Jesus’ Name
Awhile back, the angels asked me to dedicate Sundays to the Gospel Readings. With love and gratitude, here is the Gospel of Luke 18:9-14. With a loving message behind it.
Jesus addressed this parable
to those who were convinced of their own righteousness
and despised everyone else.
“Two people went up to the temple area to pray;
one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.
The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself,
‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity –greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector.
I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’
But the tax collector stood off at a distance
and would not even raise his eyes to heaven
but beat his breast and prayed,
‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’
I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former;
for whoever exalts himself will be humbled,
and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Jesus is speaking to and about those who laud themselves while despising everyone else. It is not the sense of accomplishment that reeks, but the sense of superiority. The pharisee is not grateful for what God has given him, but for the ways he “outshines” his neighbors; and especially the despised tax collector. He doesn’t realize his condition results from God’s grace and mercy; instead he believes his own accomplishment and all of his effort is done in vain.
The tax collector does not even raise his head; for it is weighed down by the burden of his sin. Looking to where God resides in his heart and beating on its door, he simply begs for Mercy; offering his sincere contrition.
The pharisee mistakes God’s role as that of a passive listener who hears performance reports and assigns gold stars. The tax collector recognizes God’s true role- to welcome and love every honest and contrite heart, to generously dispense mercy, and to justify us in a way we could never do on our own. [see reference]
Reference: The Workbook for Lectors Gospel Readers and Proclaimers of the Word
Awhile back, the angels encouraged me to dedicate Sundays to the Gospels. With love and gratitude, here is the Gospel of Luke 18: 1-8, with an angel message and angel inspired message behind it.
Jesus told his disciples a parable
about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.
He said, “There was a judge in a certain town
who neither feared God nor respected any human being.
And a widow in that town used to come to him and say,
‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’
For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought,
‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being,
because this widow keeps bothering me
I shall deliver a just decision for her
lest she finally come and strike me.’”
The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says.
Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones
who call out to him day and night?
Will he be slow to answer them?
I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.
But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
This is a message about steadfast prayer to God; having complete faith that God is with us; knowing that God loves His people beyond our human capacity in His Divinity. God has sent His only begotten son, whose name itself means” God is With us” and whose name is above all other names in Heaven, Earth and the Universe. Jesus is asking us to not only have steadfast faith in God, who is the One who sent Him, but to believe in Him and the Promises of God sent through our Redeemer and Lord.
Lift up any prayer to God now and always without hesitation. God who answers all prayer with His Steadfast Love, knows the reason you are coming to Him. Ask God to help you and your family in all matters (this is a question worth asking!). Knowing that Faith in God and Jesus is what Jesus is asking. – the angels
God will be faithful, and Jesus’ last question poses the question, both then and now in our hearts- where will the Risen Christ find faith on the earth? [reference]
Reference: The Workbook for Lectors, Gospel Readers and Proclaimers of the Word