Posted: Today | Category: Gospel Reflection,
"So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him." What did Zebedee think about all of this? His sons and his partners, James and John, suddenly left their post and followed Jesus. So there he stood in the boat with a crew of employees, but not one of his sons. We can't help but wonder whether Zebedee was in favor of this promise that his heirs would become "fishers of men." Most likely, this event was the cause of some familial tension.
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus instructs us to love and serve others for the love of God. But the Lord also makes it clear that our devotion to him is meant to trump our devotion to anything-or anyone-else. For our part, we are called to allow this divine allegiance to exist in those we love, even when it means a sacrifice for us as well. Parents for example, like Zebedee, are called to encourage their children to follow the Lord's call. A son or daughter's vocation to religious life certainly exemplifies this kind of sacrifice for a parent who might have had a different plan in mind. But in truth every son and daughter has a vocation from God and parents have the opportunity to support and assist their children as they seek to hear and follow God's special plan for their lives.
We don't know for sure how Zebedee responded to the vocation of his sons, but we know that James and John were counted among the Twelve Apostles and that their devotion and dedication helped to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Regardless of what he might have thought as he stood in that boat, we can be quite sure that looking back now, Zebedee can rejoice heartily in the choice of his sons to leave their nets and follow Christ.
Posted: Jan 15, 2018 | Category: Gospel Reflection,
Sharing the Gospel
"Keep trying. You're doing great. I'm so proud of you." Every child should hear words like that. Every child wants to feel God's love. As Jesus grew from a boy to a man, he showed he was ready to live for God. At Jesus' baptism, God told Jesus, "You are my own dear Son, and I am pleased with you." God loves you as his child, too.
God, I am so glad you love me.
Something to Draw
Draw a picture of yourself telling someone special, "I love You"
Mission for the Week
Be careful to use kind words with your family and friends.
Posted: Jan 14, 2018 | Category: Gospel Reflection,
"He first found his own brother Simon and told him, 'We have found the Messiah.'" After spending the day in the company of Christ, Andrew took action. He shared the good news! Instead of keeping his newfound friendship with Jesus all to himself, Andrew invited his brother into the fold. Andrew found Simon and "brought him to Jesus." This was no small matter because Simon would become Peter, the first pope! How important it is to bring others along with us to meet Christ!
Yet, how often do we reach out with the kind of confidence that Andrew had? Are we ready and willing to share our faith with our family and friends? Do we consider our relationship with Jesus a gift to be shared, or a fact to be safely hidden away in our personal prayer corner?
Part of our call as Christians is to evangelize others, to share with them the good news of salvation. Loving Jesus and following his moral commands is essential, of course, but it is not the end of the story. The Gospel message is meant for all people, and we are meant to be its messengers. Sometimes this requires us to step out of our comfort zone. It may mean speaking up when we'd rather be silent. It may mean inviting someone to Mass when they might say no. But it might also mean a conversion for someone we care about. It might mean a new minister for the Church. Ultimately, it might mean another saint in heaven.
None of that is up to us, however. What we can control is only whether we share our faith joyfully and ex-tend the invitation to others to experience the peace that comes from knowing Christ.
Posted: Jan 8, 2018 | Category: Gospel Reflection,
Sharing the Gospel
Jigsaw puzzles are fun. Solve a puzzle with your whole family, and it comes together even faster. God helped the wise men solve a puzzle. They wanted to find the newborn king. Together the wise men read God's promises, did their homework, and followed the star. When all of their answers fit, they found baby Jesus.
God, thank you for all the people who helped me find Jesus.
Something to Draw
Draw a picture of the people who help you learn more about Jesus.
Mission for the Week
Solve a puzzle together with your family. Work together like the wise men did.
Posted: Jan 7, 2018 | Category: Gospel Reflection,
"Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh." What a wonderful example the Magi give us in their visit to the infant Jesus. First of all, they demonstrate profound faith in God's word, spoken through the prophet Micah: "And you, Bethlehem ... from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel" (cf. 5:2). Embarking on a long and difficult journey, they trust that they will find this newborn king of the Jews in Bethlehem as the prophecy announced.
On their arrival at the home of the Holy Family, the Magi also give us an example of profound humility. These important men, to whom kings look for guidance and advice, do not hesitate to bow down, to "prostrate themselves" and give homage to a tiny babe. Putting their own position out of their minds, they reverently worship the infant Lord even as he sits on the lap of his mother.
The generosity of these three "kings" is also evident as they open their treasure boxes and give to the poor child the richest of gifts. Traditionally, we understand the gold to symbolize the earthly kingship of Christ, the frankincense to represent his divinity, and the myrrh to stand as a symbol of the anointing he will receive upon his death.
Finally, the wisdom of these men is evident in their decision to return to their country "by another way." Understanding the threat that King Herod posed to Jesus, they followed a plan that would help keep the divine child safe even though it meant inconvenience to themselves.
Faith, humility, generosity, and wisdom. These gifts are the real legacy of the Three Kings. Today, let us ask God for the blessing of having these gifts in our lives.
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