Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent, December 16
We Should Take “no offense” at God’s Love for You and Me, and the Message That We Are to Live His Love in the World, for He Is Our God and There Is No Other.
“And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.” – a rather strange saying, until we understand what our Lord truly meant.
It is an innate and natural trait of the human character to desire happiness. It is inherent in our very nature to desire love, peace and joy in our lives. We yearn for it; we pray for it; some may even lie, cheat and steal in the hope of gaining it. Yet, the world is, in fact, filled with an untold number of unhappy people. This is not what God desires for His children, as both our Readings for today illustrate.
In our First Reading today from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, we are reminded that God our Creator made the world to be lived in and enjoyed, not to be a wretched wasteland – “Let justice descend, O heavens, like dew from above, like gentle rain let the skies drop it down. Let the earth open and salvation bud forth.”
Even our psalmist illustrates God’s will for His children when he writes, “Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss. Truth shall spring out of the earth, and justice shall look down from heaven.”
And in today’s Gospel, Jesus describes to John’s disciples His mission among His own children as the Christ, the “Anointed One”, “…the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.”
It is God’s earnest desire that we be happy in this life, but the only way that this happiness can ever be realized is if we freely open our hearts and turn to Him in love and trust, placing our hearts and our very lives deep within His Most Sacred Heart – giving ourselves and all that we are over to Him, so that He may mold us, as a potter molds clay, into the image that He desires us to be.
Jesus invites each of us to accept Him. Even in the midst of all the materialistic seductions which surround us, even in the midst of the trials and tribulations which may confront us at times, He invites you and me to believe in Him to the extent that we set aside our own wants and desires, to the extent that we remove from ourselves our own sense of ego and self-importance – removing from ourselves that sense of pride which keeps us separated from God.
Throughout the Scriptures, and from the teachings of the Church, God is asking that we stop making false gods out of the pleasures of this life, which are fleeting and do not give lasting happiness. He is asking that if we do all this freely without restraint and without resentment, then our relationship with Him is one which shall last and which shall give us an everlasting peace, an everlasting sense of joy and happiness.
In the midst of our total surrender, in the midst of the opening of our hearts and embracing His will, not ours, then the words truly begin to take meaning which we find at the end of today’s Gospel, “And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”
In just a few more days, we will be commemorating the awesome Solemnity of the Birth of our Savior, the Word made flesh, the Son of Man who took upon Himself our humanity, so that He may give us life – and through Him, we may have life to the fullest!
It is sad that there are those who simply ignore the religious significance of Christmas! There is no question for you or me about whether or not the Christ Child is “…the One who is to come.” Our hearts have freely embraced His Truth, and, for this, we have been blessed!
And from a heart filled with faith, how would we respond to someone who walked up to us and sincerely asked, our of innocent ignorance, about the figure of the Holy Child in the crèche – the manger scene with the Infant Jesus together with His Mother Mary and Saint Joseph? How would we explain it? Why is this Child a source of hope to us?
Advent is that special time of year in which we remember the past – wherein God reassures us that He is faithful to His promises – in that God, in the Person of Jesus Christ, became present among us and from whom the Holy Spirit has been given to us to guide and counsel us throughout life.
Advent is that special time of year wherein we are called to always live the present moment – living a life of selfless love, giving joy and happiness to others through our expressions of love as a constant expression of the Christmas spirit.
I am sure that most or all of us are familiar with the Charles Dickens story, A Christmas Carol – the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, whose character was so consumed with materialism that He took offense that the world would take a day off just to celebrate the spirit of love and selfless giving. And I am sure that we can all recite Scrooge’s famous dismissal of Christmas: “Bah! Humbug!”
Thank goodness there are many faithful people who truly live the spirit of the closing line from Tiny Tim: “And may God bless us, everyone!”
And Advent is that special time of year wherein we look forward with great hope and expectation to the fulfillment of God’s Kingdom here on earth, just as it is in Heaven – which we pray for daily in the Lord’s Prayer.
The Gospel message of our salvation is the “good news” for us today to which no one should take “offense”, but always be eternally grateful – for, the birth of the Christ Child is the fulfillment of our hopes, our dreams and desires.
For Christmas is a time of year in which we remember that our God is a God who will always watch over His children and will never abandon us. For, as the Spirit speaks through the prophet Isaiah today, “For thus says the LORD, The creator of the heavens, who is God…I am the LORD, and there is no other.”
And for this constant and unfathomable Love which God has for you and me, a Love which bears us up in times of distress, a Love which consoles us in times of sorrow, a Love which fills us with an enduring and lasting hope in the life that is to come – we should truly take “no offense” –
– for He is our God, “…and there is no other.”
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.” (Luke 7:23)
- “Let justice descend, you heavens, like dew from above, like gentle rain let the clouds drop it down. Let the earth open and salvation bud forth; let righteousness spring up with them!” (Isaiah 45:8abc)
- “Love and truth will meet; justice and peace will kiss. Truth will spring from the earth; justice will look down from heaven.” (Psalm 85:11-12)
- “For thus says the LORD, The creator of the heavens, who is God, The designer and maker of the earth who established it, Not creating it to be a waste, but designing it be lived in: I am the LORD, and there is no other.” (Isaiah 45:18)
- “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
- “Yet, LORD, you are our father; we are the clay and you our potter: we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:7)
- “Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Mark 3:35)
- “Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that you may do the will of God and receive what is promised.” (Hebrews 10:35-36)
- “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard…the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.” (Luke 7:22bh)
Prayer for the Day
“Come, long-expected Jesus.
Excite in me a wonder at the wisdom
and power of Your Father and ours.
Receive my prayer as part of my service of the Lord
who enlists me in God’s own work for justice.
“Come, long-expected Jesus.
Excite in me a hunger for peace:
peace in the world, peace in my home, peace in myself.
“Come, long-expected Jesus.
Excite in me a joy responsive to the Father’s joy.
I seek His will so I can serve with gladness, singing and love.
“Come, long-expected Jesus.
Excite in me the joy and love and peace
it is right to bring to the manger of my Lord.
Raise in me, too, sober reverence for the God who acted there,
hearty gratitude for the life begun there,
and spirited resolution to serve the Father and Son.
“I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, whose Advent I hail. Amen.”Anonymous