Daily Reading and Prayer

December 2017

Dec 31

December 31, 2017

Luke 2:22-40 Mary and Joseph followed the Jewish law by bringing Jesus, their firstborn, to the temple and having him circumcised. We are told that after doing so, they returned home and raised their son to be and to become what God willed him to be. At the threshold of a new year, we pray that God will watch over us, protect us from all evil,...
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Dec 30

December 30, 2017

Luke 2:36-40 Anna, the prophetess, never leaves the temple, and she fasts, day and night. In the quiet of Anna’s holy life, God has revealed to her the identity of the child Jesus. Lord, though I remain caught up in the busyness of this time of year, I am reminded by the story of Anna that the only way to keep your light shining within me...
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Dec 29

December 29, 2017

Luke 2:22-35 Jesus is brought to the temple by his parents for his presentation and circumcision, fulfilling the prescriptions of Jewish law. They encounter Simeon, a good and faithful Jewish man who spent his days in the temple waiting for the coming of the Messiah. Filled with God’s Spirit, Simeon recognizes Jesus. Human words cannot...
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Dec 28

December 28, 2017

Matthew 2:13-18 The Holy Family become refugees in a country where their ancestors were held captive. They are safe, but in their homeland Herod has the male infants slaughtered. It is a despicable act of a leader desperate to defend his throne, not unlike Pharaoh’s slaughter of the Israelite children. I pray for all those displaced by...
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Dec 27

December 27, 2017

John 20:1A and 2-8 Mary Magdalene is the first to arrive at the tomb, and her immediate response to her discovery is that someone has stolen Jesus’ body. John arrives, observes, but defers to Peter in entering the tomb. Peter is perplexed by what he sees. John, however, sees and believes. The Lord has risen as he said he would. Which of...
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Dec 26

December 26, 2017

Matthew 10:17-22 Jesus tells the disciples that speaking in his name will have dire consequences. They will be betrayed perhaps by their own family members. He encourages them to rely on the Spirit throughout. In the end, they will be saved. Lord, on this day I pray for all those men and women throughout the world who suffer because they follow...
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Dec 25

December 25, 2017

Matthew 1:1-25 or Matthew 1:18-25 If the longer version of the gospel is proclaimed, both the genealogy and birth of Jesus are included. These two passages show Jesus’ proper place in the genealogy of the Messiah through Joseph. Once his fears are allayed by his dream, Joseph decides to take Mary as his wife and to assume paternity of...
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Dec 24

December 24, 2017

Luke 1:26-38   It is fitting that this gospel be proclaimed on the threshold of the celebration of the Incarnation. The announcement of Jesus’ birth in time is timeless, since it is for all humankind. Mary’s humble acceptance of her role is for all disciples a reminder of the call to bring Christ to life for all in anticipation...
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Dec 23

December 23, 2017

Luke 1:57-66 Earlier in Luke’s Gospel, when the angel announced the birth of John, Zechariah seemed to ask for proof. At that he became mute. In today’s gospel, Zechariah holds fast to the name of his child given by the angel. At that he regains his speech. The people are in awe of God’s wondrous deed and sense that this...
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Dec 22

December 22, 2017

Luke 1:46-56 Mary’s hymn of praise is influenced by Hannah’s in the first reading today. Both women sing of God’s marvelous works. All human expectation is turned upside down. He fills the hungry and exalts the lowly. He is God’s mercy. I pray that our leaders find their source and foundation in you, O God. May they lead...
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Dec 21

December 21, 2017

Luke 1:39-45 The Visitation is a family gathering at a time of great joy on the part of both women. Yet it is so much more than that. For Elizabeth and for her child, it is an encounter with the Lord. She is humbled to be visited by this holy woman. Gentle Mary, I am humbled by your faith. Pray for me that I learn to set aside my fears and...
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Dec 20

December 20, 2017

Luke 1:26-38 In Luke’s infancy narrative, he parallels the origins of John and Jesus. The angel Gabriel appears to both Zechariah and Mary to announce the surprising news about the births of John and Jesus. The angel assigns their names, and both are circumcised on the eighth day. Zechariah and Mary each express how they feel through the...
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Dec 19

December 19, 2017

Luke 1:5-25 Luke prefaces the story of Jesus with his introduction to Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist. They are steeped in their Jewish faith and tradition. For both of them the news of a child is startling. Zechariah’s request for proof is met with punishment, though temporary. Elizabeth goes into seclusion...
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Dec 18

December 18, 2017

Matthew 1:18-25 Matthew makes it known that history has been moving toward this moment of Jesus’ birth. Though conceived and born in most unusual and humble circumstances, he is God with us, God who will save his people. Blessed is your glorious name, O Lord. I bow my head when I say your name aloud because saying and believing bring hope....
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Dec 17

December 17, 2017

John 1:6-9, 19-28 The verses from the Prologue of the Gospel of John set the stage for John the Baptist’s role as the one who prepares the way. The Prologue is followed by three questions posed to John about his identity. He does not tell them who he is but who he is not and goes on to announce that there is one coming far greater than he....
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Dec 16

December 16, 2017

Matthew 17:9A, 10-13 This passage is a sequel to the Transfiguration. Considering their experience on the mountain, Jesus’ disciples ask him about the return of Elijah that had been foretold. Jesus says that the prophet returned in the person of John the Baptist but was rejected. In the same way, he will be rejected. I pray for strength...
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Dec 15

December 15, 2017

Matthew 11:16-19 John was rejected for his austerity and Jesus for his generous and inclusive ways. Jesus compares “this generation” to fickle and pouty children. In the end divine Wisdom will uphold the mission of both John and Jesus despite their rejection. What will it take for this generation to listen to you? I want to rail...
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Dec 14

December 14, 2017

Matthew 11:11-15 Jesus gives a stern warning to those who reject John the Baptist. John is the fulfillment of the prophets of old and the one who prepares the way for the greatest prophet. Opposition to the preaching of John and of Jesus is opposition to the kingdom of God. Sadly, things have not changed. There are and will always be those who...
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Dec 13

December 13, 2017

Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus invites the people to be his disciples. He offers comfort and consolation. His mission, the fulfillment of God’s law, is not burdensome. He will accompany them on their journey, providing rest in the love and mercy of the Father. Lord, when I find burdensome the work you call me to, it is because I have lost sight of...
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Dec 12

December 12, 2017

Luke 1:26-38 or Luke 1:39-47 There are two alternative gospels on this feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. At the beginning of Luke’s gospel there is the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary with the announcement of the birth of Jesus. She receives this news with great humility. Following this encounter, Mary goes to visit her relative...
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Dec 11

December 11, 2017

Luke 5:17-26 The friends of the man who is paralyzed go to great lengths to get him through the crowds to Jesus. Jesus acknowledges their faith, forgives their sins, and heals their friend. It is Jesus’ statement of forgiveness that causes the religious leaders to question his authority. I see with my eyes incredible things every day. It...
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Dec 10

December 10, 2017

Mark 1:1-8 Mark’s Gospel opens with a powerful statement about Jesus. He is the Son of God. In a sense Mark begins with the end in mind since few will recognize Jesus during his ministry. Unlike Matthew and Luke, he bypasses the infancy narratives and takes the reader to Jesus’ adult life through John the Baptist. Help me to help...
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Dec 9

December 9, 2017

Matthew 9:35-10:1, 5A, 6-8 While continuing to heal the people, Jesus is deeply moved by their innermost needs. They are like sheep without a shepherd or a harvest without workers to bring in the crops. It is time to send the disciples on his Father’s mission. Jesus commissions them and sends them out to minister to the needs of the...
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Dec 8

December 8, 2017

Luke 1:26-38 Mary is our model of Christian discipleship. With great humility she says yes physically and spiritually. “At the message of the angel, the Virgin Mary received the word of God in her heart and in her body, and gave life to the world.” (Constitution on the Church, 53) Lord, I pray for humility and the willingness to go...
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Dec 7

December 7, 2017

Matthew 7:21, 24-27 Today’s gospel begins with how action must follow words. Jesus tells his disciples that it is not enough just to know who he is. It is their relationship with him that spurs them to action. Both word and deed are necessary to lay the firm foundation for gaining entry to the kingdom. I am thankful that you showed me it...
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Dec 6

December 6, 2017

Matthew 15:29-37 In both miracle accounts—the healing of those with a variety of maladies and the multiplying of the loaves and fish for the hungry crowd—Jesus provides for the physical needs of the people gathered. People are drawn to him because of what they have heard and seen. He reveals the divine but not without compassion and...
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Dec 5

December 5, 2017

Luke 10:21-24 Jesus rejoices with the seventy-two upon their return from a successful mission. His joy immediately turns to prayer, praising his Father.  Because of their childlike spirit, their humility, the disciples have seen good triumph over evil. They have seen God revealed. Lord, open my eyes, ears, and heart to your will. I pray...
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Dec 4

December 4, 2017

Matthew 8:5-11 The story of the healing of the centurion’s servant is extraordinary in a couple of ways. The soldier is in command of one hundred men yet surprisingly concerned about the one who serves him. He is a non-Jew who not only addresses Jesus directly but calls him Lord. This story of compassion, the connection between faith and...
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Dec 3

December 3, 2017

Mark 13:33-37 In this gospel passage on the First Sunday of Advent, Jesus instructs the disciples to watch—watch for his return, yes, but all the while taking care of that which has been entrusted to them. This is a reminder to make the time of watching, waiting, and preparing a time of fruitful action. Thank you, Lord, for these weeks in...
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Dec 2

December 2, 2017

Luke 21:34-36 So as not to be caught by surprise and unprepared, Jesus exhorts his disciples to set aside anxiety caused by pressures of life, avoid laziness, and behave in a way that is fitting for anyone awaiting the coming of the Son of Man. I pray for strength to stand ready and be focused on you, no matter what trials and tribulations come....
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Dec 1

December 1, 2017

Luke 21:29-33 Nature has a way of offering clues that change is coming. Jesus uses the example of the budding of the fig and other trees, the sign that summer is near. In the same way Jesus tells the disciples to read the signs of the times that indicate the coming of the Kingdom. As unsettling as the signs of the times might be, you have said,...
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Daily Reading and Prayer

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A spiritual reflection on the daily readings that help cultivate a pattern of daily prayer and a deepening relationship with God