God’s Faithfulness

Memory and Hope – First Reading in Preparation for Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)

Memory and Hope – First Reading in Preparation for Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)

How can those who sit in ruins break out in song? I asked a friend who knows and she said, “they sing in trust and hope”. They hope in the promises of restoration that God has given, here to Jerusalem, and in Jesus to every one of us wherever we are and whatever the ruins of our life. No matter how broken, no matter how hurt, no matter how wounded, Jesus has promised to heal and restore. And He promised that this restoration shall be greater than we have ever dreamed. And they trust in him who promised for, “No word of the Lord has ever failed.” From the memory of the Lord’s faithfulness in the past dawns the sure hope of his deliverance today.

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The God Who Keeps His Promises – First Reading in Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

The God Who Keeps His Promises – First Reading in Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

During those 600 years of waiting, the cry of every faithful Israelite must have been, “How Long, O Lord, How Long?” But no matter how great the darkness, no matter how impossible the situation seemed, God did not fail in his promises. To the contrary he fulfilled them more abundantly than they could have ever imagined. He fulfilled them in Christ. As you look to the Christ child this Christmas, see there not simply a babe in a manger, but the supreme and earth-shattering evidence of a God who does not fail in his word, even when we fail him. For he is the God is the God of Love, the God who keeps His promises.

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He Came to Save – First Reading in Preparation for the Third Sunday in Advent

He Came to Save – First Reading in Preparation for the Third Sunday in Advent

Our lives are left impoverished by sin, our hearts are broken because of sin, and we find ourselves imprisoned by our sin and its effects …Even if we just think very superficially we can see the toll our envy, self-centeredness, anger, and pride have taken on our own happiness and those around us. Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life and have it abundantly.” Isn’t that, then, the same as Paul saying, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”? By saving us from sin he restores us to life, life abundant and life eternal. Best of all he restores us to relationship with Life itself, to relationship with God, in whom is our only true life and happiness.

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Rooted in Hope- Second Reading in Preparation for the Second Sunday in Advent

Rooted in Hope- Second Reading in Preparation for the Second Sunday in Advent

Despite popular opinion, hope is not merely happy thoughts about an uncertain future; it is “the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises” (CCC 1817)
Such hope is certain for does not depend on our strength, but on the help of the Holy Spirit and the faithfulness of the one who has promised. Indeed, it is one of the primary means by which we open ourselves up to be infused by the very life of God who makes us “capable of acting as his children and of inheriting eternal life” (CCC 1813)

“Therefore let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23)

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Heralds of Good News – First Reading in Preparation of the Second Sunday in Advent

Heralds of Good News – First Reading in Preparation of the Second Sunday in Advent

It is not just John the Baptist who is commissioned to prepare the way of the Lord; every Christian is meant to be one who joyously announces His coming and the difference it makes. The job of some Christians is to contend for the gospel in the public arena and convince others of its truth. The job of all Christians is to witness, to announce with joy the good news of Jesus. Not out of pride or arrogance, but out of humility and hope. As the former president of the World Council of Churches said once, “Evangelism is one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.”

Jesus said. “I am the bread of life” and we who have found him should be thrilled to share him.

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The Assurance of Hope – Second Reading in Preparation for the First Sunday of Advent

The Assurance of Hope – Second Reading in Preparation for the First Sunday of Advent

This is a vastly important message for all who would follow Christ and hope to reach heaven. It is knowing that we can’t lose that gives us the courage to try, to strive, and to persevere even in the face of strong opposition. It is the knowledge that God is for us that emboldens us to face every enemy. Perhaps this is the very message you need to hear today: That God is for you! That He will finish what He has started in you! That He will sustain you to the end! And that nothing can separate you from His love!

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Waiting and Longing – First Reading in Preparation for the First Sunday of Advent

Waiting and Longing – First Reading in Preparation for the First Sunday of Advent

The irony of Advent has always been, for me, the waiting and longing for someone who has already come. Why do we do it? Why not go straight to Christmas? I think that part of the reason is that we can’t receive a Savior who we don’t realize we need. The value of Advent is remembering just how much we need him, pondering our exile, realizing how we got there, and remembering how helpless we are to be our own deliverer. In Advent we remember that we are all addicts taking the first three steps in a twelve step program: facing our addiction to sin and the harm it has done to ourselves and others, admitting we are powerless over it, coming to believe that only Jesus can deliver us, and deciding again to turn our will and our lives over to the Savior.

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The Shepherd and Guardian of our Souls – First Reading of the Solemnity of Christ the King

The Shepherd and Guardian of our Souls – First Reading of the Solemnity of Christ the King

Jesus is the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls. In him, in his living presence with us even now, all the affirmations of Psalm 23 become incarnate and are fulfilled. The Lord Jesus is our Shepherd and we shall not want. Jesus makes us lie down in green pastures and leads us beside still waters. Jesus restores our soul. Even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, Jesus is with us, comforting us with his rod and staff. And, because of him, we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. This is no wishful thinking; it is the experience and sure hope of untold multitudes of those who, over the last two thousand years, have heard and recognized the Shepherd’s voice and followed Him.

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Swallowed Up by Life – Gospel Reading for the Solemnity of All Souls

Swallowed Up by Life – Gospel Reading for the Solemnity of All Souls

This is the hope to which we are to hold tenaciously, both for ourselves and for our loved ones: that where now it seems as if death and mortality have the final say, we will ultimately see that same death and mortality swallowed up, that is completely engulfed, consumed in the the life that flows forth from the One who is the Lord of life, and who has promised give that life abundantly and graciously gives to all who entrust themselves to him.

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A Hope That Doesn’t Disappoint – Second Reading for the Solemnity of All Souls

A Hope That Doesn’t Disappoint – Second Reading for the Solemnity of All Souls

There is something truly powerful about reminding ourselves of God’s faithfulness when we least feel it, or being determined to have an “attitude of gratitude” for God’s blessings even when they seem scarce. It is neither escapism nor the power of positive thinking. It is simply reminding ourselves that the deepest reality of all is God and His love for us. It is only as we do this that we grow stronger in our hope.

Whatever it takes, hold on to hope for “Those who trust in Him will not be disappointed.” (Isaiah 49:23)

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