Thursday, November 26, 2009

Acts 9:1-6, 13-16 - Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me

Acts 9:1-6, 13-16 - Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me
But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him. And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do."
But Anani'as answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to thy saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon thy name." But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name."

Comment: He chooses us. We are called to serve and live our faith.
Who would have thought that he would become the great St Paul?
Damascus in his sights, Saul's agenda would have been set for that day. But you had other plans, Lord, and he did not see this coming. Blinded by your light, falling to the ground and stunned by your presence, he became a new creation. In an instant, his story was changed forever.

What would have gone through his mind, I wonder, as he lived in total darkness for three days? All he could do was pray until you restored his vision at Ananias' touch and filled him with your Holy Spirit. From violent persecutor to bold disciple--who would have thought that he would become the great St Paul?

His conversion must give even the most hardened sinner hope for transformation--absolutely no one is beyond repair--but we must be serious about rejecting sin, proceeding in love, and leaving all to God's grace. We cannot do this alone and must accept the fellowship and guidance of other good and trustworthy believers.

We may never experience such dramatic divine intervention. But whether he instantly seizes us, or gently beckons, our life journey will always be empty if we do not say yes to Jesus.
Source: Daily Prayer Online

Gen 2:7 – The Breath of Life

Gen 2:7 – The Breathe of Life
Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

Comment - The birth of the Church
The birth of the Church, accomplished in the mystery of Christ’s Passover, is concretely manifested in important gestures and in words: ‘The evening of the same day, the first day of the week...Jesus came...and said to them: “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so am I sending you”.

After saying this he breathed on them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven”’ (Jn 20:21–23).

Very sensitive to biblical symbolism, John notes that the event dates from the first day of the week. According to the biblical account, creation began at the beginning of a week. The Breath of God hovered over the water; through the action of the Breath, Adam awakened to life. On this other first day of the week, Jesus breathes on the disciples. The gesture is creative, the Church is created in the Spirit of the risen Jesus.

Source: Holy Spirit of God
Scott Hahn

Matthew 21: 12-13 – Money Changers In The Temple

Matthew 21: 12-13 – Money Changers In The Temple
And Jesus entered the temple of God and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, "It is written, `My house shall be called a house of prayer'; but you make it a den of robbers."

COMMENT -The Money Changers

The reason why they would have money changers in the Temple is because people would come in with Roman coins which had the image of Caesar – a pagan idolaters image on it.

You couldn’t have that coin in the Temple, so they would change it to a Tyrian coin from the City of Tyre which didn’t have pagan images.

So when you dedicate money or buy sacrificial animals you couldn’t use Roman coinage. You would have to use Tyrian coinage so the money changers were necessary.

Jesus goes over to the table and flips it over. Why does He do it?

Doesn’t it seem like Jesus is losing his temper?

Jesus was a prophet. He was more than a prophet. Prophets spoke a message but they also embodied that message in their life, in their action.

For example, Isaiah said “This city will be stripped of all its possessions” A message saying the city you will be despoiled and conquered. So God said speak that message but while you speak that message I want you to run around naked for three years. Hosea said to Israel you have become unfaithful, like a harlot. So God said you should marry a young girl and God selects for him a prostitute who will be unfaithful to him.

Jesus overturns the table to signify the Temple will soon be destroyed and that sacrifices are about to cease. This is the imagery that Jesus is evoking.

Source: The Gospel of Saint Matthew Bible Study
Dr Tim Gray - Professor of Scripture - St Augustine Institute

Matthew 14:25-33 – Walking on water

Matthew 14:25-33 – Walking on water
And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea.
But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear.
But immediately he spoke to them, saying, "Take heart, it is I; have no fear."
And Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water."
He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus;
but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me."
Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, "O man of little faith, why did you doubt?"
And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."

One of the reasons why all of us in the Church are growing cold in faith is because we are doing what Peter did. When Our Lord came to His struggling apostles in the boat, who had been rowing against the storm, Peter said to Him: “Lord, bid me to come to You on the water.” And Peter began to walk on the water. Then he sank! And this is strange: he sank! Now Peter was a swimmer, and if you read the Gospel closely, you will discover the reason why he sank. Why? Like Peter we have taken our eyes off Christ.

Source: Watch One Hour With Christ - Archbishop Fulton J Sheen

Matthew 10:22 – Hated for My Names Sake

Matthew 10:22 – Hated for My Names Sake
and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.

Today’s words from Matthew tell us that the mission we are called to, as followers of Jesus, will bring suffering.

As followers of Jesus, the apostles were to go forth proclaiming that the kingdom of heaven was near. As part of this proclaiming they were, like him, to cure the sick, cleanse the lepers and cast out devils.

Matthew tells us how Jesus warned them that they would not do these things, as his followers, without paying the price themselves. They, like him, would suffer in his cause.

Lord Jesus, I know that as someone striving to follow you I, like the apostles, am called to mission and to suffer as I serve.
I pray for the grace to respond to your call to mission and for the grace to persevere with it.
SOURCE: Daily Prayer Online

John 8:38-43 - Fatherhood

John 8:38-43 - Fatherhood
I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father." They answered him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would do what Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God; this is not what Abraham did. You do what your father did." They said to him, "We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God." Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.


Why emphasise Fatherhood?
What about motherhood, brotherhood or sonship?
Make them more foundational!

Fatherhood is not appreciated these days.

Without fatherhood, you can’t have motherhood, brotherhood or sonship.

Fatherhood is the basis for life.

It is the source of love and the origin of authority.

Source: Scott Hahn

Matthew 6:21 – Don’t Be Anxious About Your Life

Matthew 6:21 – Don’t Be Anxious About Your Life
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Let not the needs of your life and those of others ever remove you from the union with God

Reflections of St Vincent Pallotti

Matthew 7:21 – Lip Service – Lord, Lord

Matthew 7:21 – Lip Service – Lord, Lord
Not every one who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven

Lord, may it not just be lip service what I say about you.
But that I truly believe it and that I am deeply convinced in my heart

Source:Reflections of St Vincent Pallotti

Matthew 16:24 – Deny Yourself

Matthew 16:24 – Deny Yourself
Then Jesus told his disciples, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
Consider this thought:
God sends us all hardships out of infinite love.
Reflections of St Vincent Pallotti

Matthew 17:20 – Your Little Faith

Matthew 17:20 – Your Little Faith
He said to them, "Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, `Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you."


Unless you are willing to do the ridiculous, God will not do the miraculous.
Mother Angelica

Mother Angelica said in 1978 after removing her show from a major (one of very few) TV station in the city when they refused to stop broadcasting a blasphemous tv show.
The vice president of the TV station Hugh Smith said “You leave here, and you’re off television. You need us.”
“No, I don’t. I only need God!” Mother Angelica responded.
“I’ll buy my own cameras and build my own studio”.
“You can’t do that!” said Hugh
“You just watch me!” responded Mother Angelica

After that conversation, Mother Angelica wondered how 12 Nuns with no funds or business plan were going to start an independent television network.

Defying reason (for example the rising debt in 1980 was over $1Million), Mother Angelica clung to her inspiration and to her God.

“He expects me to operate on a faith level, not a knowledge level,” Mother said. “He expects me to operate – if I don’t have the money, if I don’t have the brains, if I don’t have the talent – in faith. You know what faith is? Faith is one foot on the ground, one foot in the air, and a queasy feeling in the stomach.”

This was to become the worlds largest religious media empire, which started in the garage of a Birmingham, Alabama monastery.

Source: Mother Angelica – The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles
By Raymond Arroyo

1 Kings 19:4-5 – Elijah, Arise and Eat

1 Kings 19:4-5 – Elijah, Arise and Eat
But he (Elijah) himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree; and he asked that he might die, saying, "It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am no better than my fathers." And he lay down and slept under a broom tree; and behold, an angel touched him, and said to him, "Arise and eat."
Comment - 'Where is God? - Seeing God

God speaks even when he doesn't say anything, Benedict XVI told 500,000 young people in reference to the "dark night" of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.

Mother Teresa's spiritual suffering was one of the topics covered by the Pope on Saturday night, during his question-and-answer session with 500,000 youth in Loreto, Italy.
The session, held in the esplanade of Montorso, was part of a two-day encounter of Italian youth with the Holy Father.
A young Italian woman, Sara Simonetta, explained to the Pontiff that she believed "in the God that had touched my heart, but I feel a lot of insecurity, questions, fear."

"I feel human solitude, and I would like to feel God close. Holiness, in this silence, 'Where is God?'" she asked.

Benedict XVI responded that "we all, even though we believe, experience this silence of God."

"A book was just published on the spiritual experiences of Mother Teresa, and what we have known is now more openly presented: With all her charity, her strength of faith, Mother Teresa suffered the silence of God," he said.

The Pope was referring to the book "Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light," written by Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, postulator for the cause of canonization of the founder of the Missionaries of Charity. The book, published 10 years after the nun's death, is a compilation of her letters and writings.

Benedict XVI continued: "On one hand, we have to endure this silence of God, partly in order to understand our brethren who don't know God."

On the other, he said, "we can always yell out again to God: 'Talk, show yourself!' And without a doubt, if the heart is open, we can discover the great moments of our life in which the presence of God is truly perceptible, even to us."

Seeing God

The Pope explained how it is possible to see God.

Before all, the Pontiff said, "the beauty of creation is one of the sources in which we can touch the beauty of God, we can see that the Creator exists and is good, that it is true what sacred Scripture says in the creation account."

Second, he explained, it is possible to perceive the divine presence "listening to the word of God in the great liturgical celebrations, in the great music of faith."

Benedict XVI then told the story of a woman who converted to Christianity after having listened to the music of Bach, Handel and Mozart.

Third, the Pope told the assembly of youth, one can discover God through "personal dialogue with Christ."

"He doesn't always respond, but there are moments in which he really responds," the Pontiff said.

A last way of discovering God, according to the Holy Father, is "friendship, companionship in the faith."

Benedict XVI continued: "Now, here, gathered in Loreto, we see how faith unites, how friendship creates a companionship of journeying persons.

"And we experience that all of this does not come from nothing, but has a source, that the silent God is also a God who speaks, who reveals himself, and above all, that we can be witnesses of his presence, that our faith truly brings about light, even for others."

The Pope added: "On one hand, we have to accept that in this world, God is silent, but we shouldn't make ourselves deaf when he speaks, when he manifests his presence on so many occasions, above all in Creation, in the liturgy, in friendship within the Church. And, full of his presence, we can also give light to others."

Source: VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 4, 2007 (

Rev 3:20 – I Stand At The Door and Knock

Rev 3:20 – I Stand At The Door and Knock
Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

A popular picture in many Christian homes is the one of Jesus knocking at the door.

It eloquently describes the words of St. John: ‘I stand at the door and knock…’

Looking at it in my early days, someone drew my attention to the fact that there was no handle on the door! Now, isn’t that strange?

Most doors I know have either handles or latches on the outside too.

You must really feel left out when you find yourself on the ‘outside’ of a door that seems so impregnable…and you’re at the mercy of the one inside…You get one of two messages: either you will be let in or you won't be 'welcome.'

The door in the picture resembles the entrance to the human heart …or at least I think that’s what the artist had in mind. Now, how often is the door of your heart open to the Lord? It’s strange how often or how seldom you open your heart to people, sentiments, impressions... or even to the Lord. With so much going on in your life you have very little time to scan who enters and who leaves your ‘secret precincts’… It’s a very private place and besides not letting anyone in, you are very guarded about how much of its contents you reveal to those who even peep in through its windows.

During this holiday season (or at any other time) your heart could be deprived of the presence of this Wonderful Companion…and you have to admit that empty feeling…It’s then that you realize that the Lord was lingering around the door humbly and patiently…even helplessly waiting like a beggar content to remain outside until you think of opening to him. You are so caught up in your own schemes and anxieties, your aspirations and frustrations that you are nervous about letting anyone into your heart…most of all, the Lord. Would you risk him upsetting your status quo?

Yet he does not threaten…and he is never harsh…as some of our friends might be…they want to be ‘brutally frank’ with us because they say ‘they care.’ The Lord is not like that; his knock is light, his voice is gentle and his presence is always friendly.

He wants to be there for you …to bring peace back to your life…to soothe your anxieties and your stresses…and even to share your fun... Then, when you're full of him and you gradually become comfortable in his presence, you can go to some other door and knock…and be as gentle and kind as the Lord has been with you. It’s a double-sided blessing.

If you’re having fun with family and friends, will you give a thought to someone who might not be able to go out or who is ‘shut in’ with no one to take them out? Would you ‘stand at their door and knock’? The verses in Scripture need not only describe the good Lord's could describe yours too.

Someone is yearning to open the door to you if you only knock… then you could simply walk in and say: Hello

SOURCE: Don Bosco’s Madonna Magazine - Mumbai

Rev 12:9-11 – Dragon Thrown Down

Rev 12:9-11 – Dragon Thrown Down
And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world -- he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.

"Take Heart, It Is Love That Wins in the End!"

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

At the time when St John wrote the Book of Revelation, this dragon represented for him the power of the anti-Christian Roman Emperors, from Nero to Domitian. This power seemed boundless; the military, political and propagandist power of the Roman Empire was such that before it, faith, the Church, appeared as a defenceless woman with no chance of survival and even less of victory.

Who could stand up to this omnipresent force that seemed capable of achieving everything? Yet, we know that in the end it was the defenceless woman who won and not egoism or hatred; the love of God triumphed and the Roman Empire was opened to the Christian faith.

The words of Sacred Scripture always transcend the period in history. Thus, not only does this dragon suggest the anti-Christian power of the persecutors of the Church of that time, but also anti-Christian dictatorships of all periods.

We see this power, the force of the red dragon, brought into existence once again in the great dictatorships of the last century: the Nazi dictatorship and the dictatorship of Stalin monopolized all the power, penetrated every corner, the very last corner. It seemed impossible in the long term that faith could survive in the face of this dragon that was so powerful, that could not wait to devour God become a Child, as well as the woman, the Church. But also in this case, in the end love was stronger than hate.

Today too, the dragon exists in new and different ways. It exists in the form of materialistic ideologies that tell us it is absurd to think of God; it is absurd to observe God's commandments: they are a leftover from a time past. Life is only worth living for its own sake. Take everything we can get in this brief moment of life. Consumerism, selfishness and entertainment alone are worthwhile. This is life. This is how we must live. And once again, it seems absurd, impossible, to oppose this dominant mindset with all its media and propagandist power. Today too, it seems impossible to imagine a God who created man and made himself a Child and who was to be the true ruler of the world.

Even now, this dragon appears invincible, but it is still true today that God is stronger than the dragon, that it is love which conquers rather than selfishness.


Hebrews 9:3-4 and Luke 1:30-33 – Ark of the Covenant

Hebrews 9:3-4 and Luke 1:30-33 – Ark of the Covenant
Hebrews 9:3-4
[3] Behind the second veil was the tabernacle called the Holy of Holies,
[4] in which were the gold altar of incense 4 and the ark of the covenant entirely covered with gold. In it were the gold jar containing the manna, the staff of Aaron that had sprouted, and the tablets of the covenant.

Luke 1:30-33
[30] And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
[31] And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
[32] He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,
[33] and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end."

Some parallels seen in the above two passages - taken from Steve Ray’s article about the Ark of the Covenant.
• “Here we have the law of God inscribed on stone, but in the womb of Mary we have the word of God in flesh, a person.
• “Here we have the urn of manna, which was the manna come down from heaven that if we ate of it we would still die, but in Mary’s womb is the Bread of Life come down from heaven, that if we eat of it we will never die.
• “And here we have the rod of Aaron, which budded to prove the true priesthood, but in Mary’s womb, is the true priest.

2 Maccabees 2:4-8 and Revelation 11:19 – 12:2 – Ark of the Covenant

2 Maccabees 2:4-8 and Revelation 11:19 – 12:2 – Ark of the Covenant
2 Maccabees 2:4-8
The same document also tells how the prophet, following a divine revelation, ordered that the tent and the ark should accompany him and how he went off to the mountain which Moses climbed to see God's inheritance. When Jeremiah arrived there, he found a room in a cave in which he put the tent, the ark, and the altar of incense; then he blocked up the entrance. Some of those who followed him came up intending to mark the path, but they could not find it. When Jeremiah heard of this, he reproved them:
"The place is to remain unknown until God gathers his people together again and shows them mercy.
Then the Lord will disclose these things, and the glory of the Lord will be seen in the cloud, just as it appeared in the time of Moses and when Solomon prayed that the Place might be gloriously sanctified."

Revelation 11:19 – 12:2
Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, voices, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail. And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery.

The small empire built up by David and expanded by his son Solomon broke up after Solomon died (see 1 Kings 12). The two small kingdoms of Israel and Judah could not stand up against the great world powers. First Israel fell to Assyria (see 2 Kings 17:1-6); then Judah fell to Babylon (see 2 Kings 25).

The prophet Jeremiah had warned the people of Judah that God's judgment was coming upon them. But he had also predicted a time when God would build up His people again and make a "new covenant" with them (see Jeremiah 31:27-34).

A story in 2 Maccabees 2:4-8 tells us that Jeremiah prepared for that time by hiding the Ark of the Covenant on Mount Nebo.

Since that time, the Ark has never been seen on earth again.
The Ark would not be seen again until the time when God showed His mercy and gathered His people together again. But when would that be?

Luke uses parallel language and images to make his point about the Ark of the Covenant. But John, the author of Revelation, tells us directly that he saw the Ark of the Covenant - the holy object that had been lost since Jeremiah's time - in a vision. This is a strange string of images, almost overwhelming - like much of the book of Revelation. But certainly the statement that the Ark of the Covenant was visible must have caught the attention of the first people who heard the vision.

If the Ark had been seen, then the time Jeremiah spoke of must have come: the time when "God gathers his people together again and shows them mercy," the time when "the glory of the Lord will be seen in the cloud, just as it appeared in the time of Moses" (see 2 Maccabees 7-8)

And indeed the sights and sounds are the same as in the time of Moses - storm and earthquake:
"There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a violent hailstorm" (see Revelation 11:19).

"On the morning of the third day there were peals of thunder and lightning, and a heavy cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled . . . Mount Sinai was all wrapped in smoke, for the LORD came down upon it in fire. The smoke rose from it as though from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently" (see Exodus 19:16, 18)

Naturally, we want to hear more about the rediscovered Ark of the Covenant.
And John goes on to describe what he sees: "a woman clothed with the sun" (see Revelation 12:1).

In our modern Bibles, there is a chapter division between the appearance of the Ark of the Covenant and the description of the "woman clothed with the sun."

But chapter divisions were added in the Middle Ages (in the twelfth century) to make the books of the Bible easier to refer to.

John did not make any divisions: he wrote straight through from Revelation 11:19 to Revelation 12:1 without a break.

In the dream-like but deeply significant logic of John's vision, the Ark of the Covenant is "a woman clothed with the sun."

But does this passage in Revelation really refer to Mary? Some say the woman represents Israel or the Church, and certainly she does. John’s use of rich symbolism is well known, but it is obvious from the Bible itself that the woman is Mary.
The Bible begins with Genesis with a real man (Adam), a real woman (Eve) and a real serpent (the devil) — and it also ends with Revelation with a real man (Jesus, the Last Adam, 1 Cor 15:45), a real woman (Mary the New Eve, Rev 11:19—12:2) and a real serpent (the devil of old). All this was foretold in Genesis 3:15.

Source: a Bible Study from (that is why you see all of the scripture references in brackets) 
Plus the inserted text at the end is from
Steve Ray’s article about the Ark of the New Covenant

2 Samuel 6:12-14 and Luke 1:39-43, 56 – Ark of the Lord

2 Samuel 6:12-14 and Luke 1:39-43, 56 – Ark of the Lord
[9] And David was afraid of the LORD that day; and he said, "How can the ark of the LORD come to me?"
[10] So David was not willing to take the ark of the LORD into the city of David; but David took it aside to the house of O'bed-e'dom the Gittite.
[11] And the ark of the LORD remained in the house of O'bed-e'dom the Gittite three months; and the LORD blessed O'bed-e'dom and all his household.
[12] And it was told King David, "The LORD has blessed the household of O'bed-e'dom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God." So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of O'bed-e'dom to the city of David with rejoicing;
[13] and when those who bore the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling.
[14] And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.
Luke 1:39-43, 56
[39] In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah,
[40] and she entered the house of Zechari'ah and greeted Elizabeth.
[41] And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit
[42] and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
[43] And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
[44] For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.
[56] And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.

Soon it will be the season of Advent where many will focus on the scripture leading up to and including the Birth of Jesus, our Saviour.
Some of this weeks scripture touches on Advent but also follows the theme that Ben introduced two weeks ago on the ‘Ark of the Covenant’
I hope to present some verses from the New Testament which relate to the Ark of the Covenant but in a ‘new’ way.
There are an incredible number of similarities found in the Old and New Testaments – the Ark of the Covenant is but one topic of many.
Christians for the last 2000 years have seen these similarities and probably the best quote to reflect this understanding is from Saint Augustine (354-430AD):
The Old Testament is revealed in the New and the New is concealed in the Old.

Some parallels seen in the above two passages - taken from Steve Ray’s article about the Ark of the Covenant.
• Mary arose and went to the hill country of Judea. Ein Kerem where Elizabeth lived and O'bed-e'dom from which the Ark was carried are a stone’s throw away from each other. Mary and the Ark were both on a journey to the same hill country of Judea.

• When David saw the Ark he rejoiced and said, “Who am I that the Ark of the Lord should come to me?” and what does Elizabeth say? She shouts out almost the same words, “Who am I that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?”
• When David approached the Ark he shouted out and danced and leapt in front of the Ark. He even wore an ephod which was the clothing of a priest. When Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant approaches Elizabeth John the Baptist leapt in his mothers womb – and John was from the priestly line of Aaron. Both leapt and danced in the presence of the Ark. David was filled with the Spirit to dance and rejoice; Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
• The Ark of the Old Covenant remained in the house of Obed-edom for three months and we are told that Mary remained in the house of Elizabeth for three months

Mark 2:1-12 – You’re Sins Are Forgiven

Mark 2:1-12 – You’re Sins Are Forgiven
And when he returned to Caper'na-um after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room for them, not even about the door; and he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and when they had made an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay.
And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "My son, your sins are forgiven." Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, "Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, "Why do you question thus in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, `Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, `Rise, take up your pallet and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins" -- he said to the paralytic -- "I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home."
And he rose, and immediately took up the pallet and went out before them all; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"

Comment - Who would I ask to carry me to Jesus?
If I were in the situation of the paralytic, would I ask family members or friends? Which four people would I choose, and why? Who could I trust so totally that I could lie peacefully on a stretcher, letting them work out how to overcome the obstacles to reaching Jesus through the crowd. Could I relax as I watched them remove roof tiles and prepare to lower me down? How tense would I be as I hung in mid-air, dependent on their care and skill to hold the stretcher level?

Have I ever told these and other special people, how much I value, trust and enjoy them? Would they and others allow me, in turn, to help them?

Jesus, let me be someone who helps people find their way to you.
Source: Daily Prayer Online

Mark 14:38 – The Flesh is Weak

Mark 14:38 – The Flesh is Weak
Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

If a man knows the art of swimming, he ducks under a great wave until it goes past and then goes on swimming unharmed.

Our monk from the Gaza monastery uses this surfing example in the chapter of his book entitled : On Enduring Temptation Calmly and Thankfully. The title of the chapter indicates a man whose approach to life is very positive. He says if you try to swim through a really big wave, you just get thrown backwards.

He draws the conclusion about temptations: if you are experiencing a temptation about chastity, don’t argue with it, don’t carry on a discussion with it or let your imagination dialogue with it. Just “dive under it” by turning your thoughts to another subject, or short circuiting the bad desire by a prayer of the heart.

Dorotheos loved those words of Jesus in Matthew 11:29.
“Shoulder my yoke and learn from me… and you will find rest for your spirit”
Temptations are a yoke, but if we accept Jesus’ invitation, He will put his neck and shoulders under the wooden yoke and pull with us. Then the yoke of temptation becomes the source of new blessings, of deeper familiarity with the Lord.

Many a person has fallen into serious sin by vainly believing oneself advanced enough in wisdom and strength to be able to handle temptations quite “reasonably”, allowing them to come into the imagination and get a hearing.

Don’t let a wave knock you flat, says Dorotheos. It’s more powerful than you, so use your common sense and dive under it before it engulfs you.

Source: The Wayside Stream – Reconcilliation – by Paul Glynn

Luke 38-42 – Martha, Martha

Luke 38-42 – Martha, Martha
Now as they went on their way, he entered a village; and a woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her."
What is hospitality about?
Jesus goes to the house of his friends Mary and Martha, and they seem to give welcome. Mary arranges herself at Jesus’ feet and focuses clear wide eyes upon him while Martha bustles about getting dinner ready.

But in response to Martha’s request (exasperated) that Mary help out a little, Jesus remarks that, no, Mary has chosen the better part.

How fair is Jesus’ judgment? Someone has to do the chores of making the meal. Or should a host just say, “Welcome to dinner, but we are not having any food, we are just going to sit and look at you.”

Is Mary the winner, therefore, and Martha the loser, the one stuck with the drudgery?

No. Martha’s only mistake was not that she tended to the food, but that she forgot about Jesus, the guest.

She was anxious and worried about many things, Jesus says.

The moral of the story actually is this: real hospitality means a two-way relationship. Host and guest open to each other and become present to each other in various ways. Yes, hosts do work on the details, and work hard. But they always remember the visitor during the preparations. They do not become distracted from the relationship. Excellent hosts manage somehow to get everything ready but then to truly listen to the one who has come.

Martha was apparently in danger of forgetting. So are you and I.

We busy ourselves about many things and sometimes do not even listen to what the other person says. “But there is need of only one thing,” Jesus says.

Keep your eyes on God and God’s children, even as you bustle about.

Fr. John Foley, S. J. of the Center for Liturgy

Luke 13:24 – The Narrow Door

Luke 13:24 – The Narrow Door
"Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able."

The question about the number of those who are saved teases our minds even today.
According to Jewish thought in the time of Jesus, the chosen people, as a body, would be saved.

Jesus re-minds them, and us, that mere ‘membership of the club’ is no guarantee of salvation.

Personal effort is required.

Luke uses a term (strive) from sporting contests, meaning something like to ‘go flat out’.
It is possible to postpone effort till it is too late, till the race is over and the door is shut.
In verse 30 there is a reversal of expectations.
Many of the last (the Gentiles) will be first and the first (the Jewish people) will be last: yet it is implied that they will be saved.
Father, give me the grace to understand your message and the strength to act on it

Source: Daily Prayer Online

Luke 24:15-17, 25-32 – Road To Emmaus

Luke 24:15-17, 25-32 – Road To Emmaus
While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, "What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?" And they stood still, looking sad.

And he said to them, "O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further, but they constrained him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent." So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight. They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?"

Comment: Didn't our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us
It could be said that our Christian faith begins with the Resurrection. Before this, Christ's teachings regarding the kingdom were ill-understood by the disciples.
They hoped for a temporal kingdom free from Roman oppression.
After the Resurrection, and particularly Pentecost, they believed Jesus' kingdom was not of this world, but a kingdom of love, joy, peace, truth and service.
Today's gospel suggests a return to the scriptures and to prayerful meditation on them.
We will then come to know Jesus better as our Saviour, brother, companion and friend who will never abandon us.
Source: Daily Prayer Online

Luke 22: 40-42 – Remove This Cup

Luke 22: 40-42 – Remove This Cup

And when he came to the place he said to them, "Pray that you may not enter into temptation." And he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed, "Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done."

Obedience will never cost anyone as much as it cost Jesus Christ.
Reflections of St Vincent Pallotti

Luke 14:25-33 – Hate Your Father and Mother

Luke 14:25-33 – Hate Your Father and Mother
Now great multitudes accompanied him; and he turned and said to them, "If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, `This man began to build, and was not able to finish.' Or what king, going to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends an embassy and asks terms of peace. So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Luke has Jesus giving this teaching to 'great crowds'; it is not teaching for an elite group, but teaching that all those who call themselves his followers should take to heart.
We must not be misled, of course, by the stark Semitic turn of phrase he uses.
He does not tell us that we should have no love for the things most precious in our lives, our many bonds of kinship, even our own life itself.

He is telling us that even these things must not be given a preference in our decisions that would amount to a renunciation of Christ and what he stands for.

"This does not mean abandoning or ignoring them, but loving them less than they love God."

He is showing us the seriousness of the mysterious mission he has received from his Father, as he makes for the Holy City to take up his cross.
If we are to be his true followers, we must 'carry his cross and come after him'.
Our following must not be half-hearted, his two parables tell us.
We must weigh up fully the implications of our decision not to allow any consideration to destroy our commitment to him; we must be ready to carry it through to the end.
Otherwise our situation will be like that of the man whose half-completed building is a monument to his foolishness; or worse, like that of the king whose lack of foresight leads him to defeat and death.

"There is a cost to being a disciple of Jesus – you can not act on impulse, but only on a carefully considered program of involvement"

The final words of the gospel are the most challenging of all: 'none of you can be my disciples unless he gives up all his possessions'.
But these very words help us to understand that Luke is not holding up to us an impossible ideal.
Luke stresses the place of poverty in the Christian life; the wording of his first beatitude is blunt: 'Happy are you who are poor' (Lk 6:20); but what follows makes it clear that he does not expect all followers of Jesus to give up all their possessions – they are urged to 'lend, without hope of return' and to 'give' generously.

What the Lord asks for is that, in our life commitments, we place all that is most dear to us in his hands, ready to accept whatever he asks of us. Some Christians, of course, receive a personal call to immediate renunciation – a reminder to us all of the seriousness of our following of Christ.

Source: The Emmaus Series - John Thornhill SM
Source: St Charles Borromeo reflections (in inverted comma's)

Luke 6:37 – Judge Not

Luke 6:37 – Judge Not
"Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

One the path going towards the Lourdes Grotto, Martin moved like a sleep walker, brooding on his destroyed life but became suddenly aware that a young woman was speaking to him: “Monsieur, it’s a hot day. May I offer you a glass of cool water?” Startled out of his preoccupation, he mumbled something, took the proffered glass and drank. Embarrassed, he quickly handed back the glass mumbled a thanks and moved away from her.

As he neared the Grotto he heard a French priest preaching at the Grotto “Father, forgive us as we forgive others” and it made Martin’s anger flare up. Spinning around as if stung by a wasp, he headed back toward the train station, galled that anyone should tell him to forgive!

It was years since he had acknowledged a priest. He now despised them, and had always ignored any greetings from the jail chaplain. But he responded to a priests invitation this time by pouring his bitterness all over him. “I thought he was my friend at school. The bastard’s lying accusations put me in a stinking jail, put me there for 12 hopeless years living with scum. “

He concluded with unveiled animosity: “And don’t you start thinking I have come here to Lourdes to pray. I’m only here because my wife asked my to come. She was full of faith and never stopped praying, and where did that get us! That creep down at the Grotto had the hide to tell me to forgive the mongrel who ruined me and my wife. You can both stick all that sentimental crap!”

The priest did not answer for some time. Then he said: “I can see you really loved your wife. Why don’t you just do what she asked, which is to go down and stand at the Grotto. You will always feel bad about it, if you have only half done what she asked with her dying breath””

Who should he meet as he neared the Grotto but the young woman who had handed him the glass of water.

He asked her: “What brought you here?”
Her face clouded over. “My father is dying. The doctor said his heart can’t last longer and I’m not praying for his cure. But he is dying with terrible guilt. After the war he betrayed a boyhood friend to one of those tribunals and the man was given a 20 year jail sentence. My father is convinced God will never forgive him because he can never undo the evil he did.”

Martin could hardly believe his ears. He looked at her face and gasped, “You’re Marguerite!”
“How do you know me?” she shot back.
“Because I now remember you when you were little. I am the man your father betrayed!”

She went white and turned to run. He grabbed her wrist “Marguerite, stop! You were kind to me this morning. Now do me one more favour. I can’t recite the last part of the Our Father. I think you know the part I mean. Please!”

They stumbled through the prayer.

He sighed as if a boulder had been lifted off his chest.
“Thank you, Marguerite. Now let us go together to see if we can’t help your father.”

Source: The Wayside Stream – Reconciliation – by Paul Glynn

John 14:27 – My Peace I Give To You (no. 2)

John 14:27 – My Peace I Give To You

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.
Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Peace is a sign of being truly a son and daughter of God.

Reflections of St Vincent Pallotti

John 13:35 – You Are My Disciple If..

John 13:35 – You Are My Disciple If..
By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."


I once asked Mother Teresa how she converted 15,000 men out of the gutters of Calcutta. “How, after dragging these poor mortals into your hospice could you ever evangelise them and teach them the gospel?”

“Well,“ She said, “I didn’t. When I took care of them and showed them love, I would say to them, ‘Would you like to hear about Christ?’
And they would say, ‘Is Christ like you? Is Christ like you?’

‘No,’ I would say, ‘but I try to be like Him.’
Then I want to be a Christian.’ “
It was that simple.
That is the way we should act. So that the world will, without ever hearing a word from us, know about us and what we stand for.

Source: Fulton Sheen

John 12:24-25 – A Grain of Wheat

John 12:24-25 – A Grain of Wheat
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

Comment - Jesus Came to Teach Us to Die

The real trick in knowing how to live is knowing how to die. I feel that the lesson Jesus taught us and made possible for us was how to die in the right way in order that we might truly live. The living part is easy if we know how to die.

To me, dying means to die to destructive self-centeredness. It means to let go of the things I hold on to so tightly: my own way, my own reputation, the respect of others, resentments that eat away like cancer. To die means to let go of what hinders us in order to be free to follow Jesus. “Whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will save it” (Luke 9:24). To die is to displace the self from the throne of our being and enthrone the Lord Jesus. This is also what it means to live. As we are emptied of ourselves, we can be filled with the Spirit of Christ Jesus. It is a dispossession in order that we may be possessed by the Holy Spirit.

In practice, this kind of dying to self and turning to the Lord is often like turning on a light switch. When the switch is flicked on, the darkness is dispelled. The gesture of flicking the switch is a simple one. And Son so it is often that the turning to the Lord is such a simple gesture: calling his name, being aware of his presence, seeking him. The actual turning to the Lord is what is asked of us; it is a sign of our faith in him and desire to seek his will.

Source: excerpt from THE KEY TO EVANGELIZATION - George W. Kosicki

John 11:47-53 – Jesus Dies For The Israel Nation

John 11:47-53 – Jesus Dies For The Israel Nation

So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council, and said, "What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on thus, every one will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation." But one of them, Ca'iaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all; you do not understand that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish." He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So from that day on they took counsel how to put him to death.

The advent of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, changed human history; it inevitably changed Jewish identity.

The passage from Judaism to Christianity rouses the passions of Jew and Gentile alike. The Jew accuses the Christian missionary of attempting to destroy the physical integrity of the people, though not, of course, by physical means. Father Hruby seems to accept the assessment for he says: “If Israel refuses to identify itself with the new Israel, which the Church pretends to be, it is because such an identification would lead, ipso facto, to the end of the Jewish people.”

Christians are surprised to learn that belief in a Jewish Messiah should appear to imperil the existence of the Jewish people. They are bewildered and hurt at the resentment their well-intentioned missionary overtures encounter among Jews. When the so-called “Anti-Mission Law” was passed in the Knesset, the parliament of Israel, the reaction of Christians was one of heated indignation. What is more, the very thought of adding the religious pluralism of the Christian world to that obtaining already in the Jewish world is enough to fill the Jew with horror.

Is it to be wondered at that religious and secularist Jews combine forces to resist the Christian missionary, who proclaims salvation for the individual and prepares the earthly extermination of the people? Jesus of Nazareth had no such intention. Had he not come to save the Jews? (cf. Mt. 1:21) He himself was a Jew, born in Bethlehem of a Jewish mother, Mary, and circumcised on the eighth day of his life. He was of the tribe of Judah (cf. Heb. 7:14), a scion of the royal house of David (cf. 2 Tim. 2:8; Rm. 2:26). Jesus directed his public ministry to the lost sheep of Israel whom he loved and for whom he was to die before dying for others (Jn. 11:51-52).

When the Samaritan woman rounded on him pertly, saying: “You are a Jew. How can you ask me, a Samaritan and a woman, for a drink?” Jn. 4:9), he does not reject the attribution. By announcing to the confused woman that “salvation comes from the Jews” (cf. Jn. 4: 22), he implicitly acknowledges that he was a Jew. The author of the Apocalypse bestowed on the Risen Christ the epithet “Lion of the tribe of Judah” (cf. Rev. 5:5). St. Peter teaches that Jesus had come to grant Israel “repentance and forgiveness of sins” (cf. Acts 5:31), not a destructive aim, surely.

JEWISH IDENTITY by Elias Friedman, O.C.D

John 10:22-30 – My Sheep Hear My Voice

John 10:22-30 – My Sheep Hear My Voice
It was the feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered round him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."
Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one."

Comment: My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
The images of shepherd and sheep can be tough for modern Christians to grasp.

Most Australians are either too far away from the practices of sheep herding or, if they do know a bit about them, have a negative image of sheep as unthinking herd animals.

Is this passage teaching us to follow the crowd without question or to have no mind of our own?
Or is it telling us to expect someone else to take care of us?

But the sheep in this passage are complicated creatures. They believe in the shepherd's providence, but that belief does not blind them to the terrors that await them along the way. They seem to possess a radical trust rather than blind obedience.

Those who follow Jesus and believe him—his sheep—know that the work Jesus is doing comes from identification with the Father. It is being one with the Father, rather than following blindly as in the image we often have of sheep.
Source: Daily Prayer Online

John 8:3-11 – The Woman in Adultery

John 8:3-11 – The Woman in Adultery
The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?" This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus looked up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again."

To See As Jesus Sees
How we see is critical. In a way it also determines what we see.
For somebody who is trying to be a Christian the endeavour is to see the world as Jesus did.
Seeing people and situations in his light will determine how we respond in the ordinary acts of our lives.

This is not to suggest that the Christian sees another world or shuts out reality.
There are different ways of viewing reality and the deepest truth about life is seen through the eyes of Jesus, the God of ‘love.’

An incident in the New Testament illustrates how Jesus sees people in a deeper and different way.
The scribes and Pharisees bring a woman, caught in the act of adultery, before Jesus and ask him to comment.
They are not interested in the woman herself – they are treating her as a pawn for their own purposes.
Nor are they really interested in learning from Jesus what he might have to say.
Jesus’ attitude is not one of indignation at the woman nor anger at the crowd – he simply asks who amongst us are so perfect that they can stand in judgement on others.
When the crowd has retreated in shame he turns to the woman. He quietly asks her not to sin again and then gently sends the woman on her way.

He Sees What Can Be
How does Christ see the incident? He sees a crowd who are misguided by a religion that has lost its heart and a woman who is terrified and desperate.
In both he sees possibility; by treating the mob and the woman with dignity he allows them to realize for themselves what is right.
I imagine that if we were to behold Christ we would be held in the gaze of one who encourages us to be the best we can, one who believes in us and is on our side.

Seeing With The Heart
The look of Christ would be that of a parent who, despite personal hurt and disappointment, looks at her child with faith, hope and love.
This look is not blind to our faults or shortcomings.
It seems beyond them to what we can be.
The look says that, despite all, you and the world around you are good.
Put another way, the loving heart becomes the organ of vision and truth.
As the fox confides in the story of the Little Prince: ‘It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.’

Source: Don Bosco’s Madonna magazine

John 2:5-7 – Do Whatever He Tells You

John 2:5-7 – Do Whatever He Tells You
His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."
Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.
Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim.

I have come across a few Bible studies where they have said the small details are important.

One sermon I heard from Fr John Corapi was in regard to the above verses.
The point made here was the servants carried out Jesus wishes perfectly – they were asked to fill the jars with water and they filled them up to the brim.

John 1:29 – John Caught Sight of Jesus -The church is John the Baptist

John 1:29 – John Caught Sight of Jesus
The next day, when John caught sight of Jesus coming toward him, he exclaimed: “Look! There is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

In February of 1971, at a prayer meeting in Detroit, a woman stood up and shared with us a prophetic teaching that she had received during the week. She felt it was to be shared at the prayer meeting, but she did not understand it.
She said simply, “The church is John the Baptist,” and sat down.
This word stayed in my mind, without understanding, until September of that year when I attended a week’s symposium on the nature and mission of the church. During the week the speakers kept focusing on the foundation of the gospel: Jesus is Lord. On the morning of the closing day, the speaker became eloquent and said by way of summarizing his presentation: “The church is like John the Baptist; it must point to Jesus.”
Lamb of God
John points to Jesus as the sacrificial lamb who takes away our sin. Jesus is the suffering servant led like a lamb to the slaughter as an offering for our sin (Isaiah 53:7). John points to Jesus as our savior. And so we, the church, are to point to Jesus as the savior. Like John, we must continually point out to the world that only Jesus can take away our sins. This is the fundamental task of the church – to bring people to Jesus for healing, forgiveness and salvation. The church must be constant in its witness to Jesus as the savior and expose the folly of turning to other “saviors” that cannot bring salvation.
He alone gives the power that transforms us and will transform the world. No earthly power will bring about resurrection, but only the power at work in us that raised Jesus from the dead. Only by this power can we be witnesses to the risen Lord. The church must be a constant witness to the risen Lord if men are to be transformed. This witness means that each individual, myself included, must be experiencing this resurrection at work in him.
Now I have seen for myself and have testified: “This is God’s chosen One.” (John 1:34)
The task of the church is to build its foundations on the Lordship of Jesus Christ. He alone is Lord and our one foundation. The Church is to point out to the world that the Father wants Jesus as Lord of our hearts and of the world – and there are to be no other “lords” in our lives.
John Came as Witness
There was a man named John sent by God, who came as a witness to testify to the light. (John 1:6)
John came as a witness, as one who saw, knew, and spoke out in prophecy. Part of the prophecy was positive and part of it negative. In positive prophecy he pointed to Jesus as the Savior, the Christ, and the Lord. In negative prophecy he pointed out what was not of God – to the Pharisees and to Herod. It cost him his head.
The church, too, is to be a witness to the risen Lord and point to Jesus – in both positive and negative prophecy. We are to point out to the world what is of Jesus and also point out what is not of Jesus. It may well cost us our heads. For this reason witnesses are called “martyrs” in Greek.
The church must be like John the Baptist and point to Jesus. And its greatest prophetic statement for my spiritual growth is: “He must increase, while I must decrease.”

Source: excerpt from THE KEY TO EVANGELIZATION - George W. Kosicki