23 December, Monday – God’s Promise

Dec 23 – Memorial for St. John of Kanty, presbyter

John (1390-1473) was a Polish country lad. A brilliant student at the University of Krakow, Poland, he became a priest and professor of theology at the University of Krakow, where he was falsely accused and ousted by university rivals.

At the age of 41, he was assigned as parish priest at Olkusz, Bohemia. He took his position seriously, and was terrified of responsibility, but did his best. For a long time that wasn’t enough for his parishioners, but in the end he won their hearts. After several years in his parish, he returned to Krakow and taught Scripture for the rest of his life.

John was a serious, humble man, generous to a fault with the poor, sleeping little, eating no meat and little of anything else. He was a pilgrim to Jerusalem, hoping to be martyred by Turks. He made four pilgrimages to Rome, carrying his luggage on his back. When warned to look after his health, he pointed out that the early desert fathers lived long lives in conditions that had nothing to recommend them but the presence of God.

At the time of his death, John was so well loved that his veneration began immediately. For years his doctoral gown was worn by graduates receiving advanced degrees at the University of Krakow. He was declared patron of Poland and Lithuania in 1737 by Pope Clement XII, 30 years before his final canonization.

  • Patron Saint Index

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Malachi 3:1-4,23-24

The Lord God says this: Look, I am going to send my messenger to prepare a way before me. And the Lord you are seeking will suddenly enter his Temple; and the angel of the covenant whom you are longing for, yes, he is coming, says the Lord of Hosts. Who will be able to resist the day of his coming? Who will remain standing when he appears? For he is like the refiner’s fire and the fullers’ alkali. He will take his seat as refiner and purifier; he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and then they will make the offering to the Lord as it should be made. The offering of Judah and Jerusalem will then be welcomed by the Lord as in former days, as in the years of old.

Know that I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before my day comes, that great and terrible day. He shall turn the hearts of fathers towards their children and the hearts of children towards their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a curse.

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Luke 1:57-66

The time came for Elizabeth to have her child, and she gave birth to a son; and when her neighbours and relations heard that the Lord had shown her so great a kindness, they shared her joy.

Now on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother spoke up. ‘No,’ she said ‘he is to be called John.’ They said to her, ‘But no one in your family has that name’, and made signs to his father to find out what he wanted him called. The father asked for a writing-tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And they were all astonished. At that instant his power of speech returned and he spoke and praised God. All their neighbours were filled with awe and the whole affair was talked about throughout the hill country of Judaea. All those who heard of it treasured it in their hearts. ‘What will this child turn out to be?’ they wondered. And indeed the hand of the Lord was with him.

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All those who heard of it treasured it in their hearts…And indeed the hand of the Lord was with him.

Today we read of God keeping to His faithful promises throughout the generations. We see how Elizabeth, even in her old age. was able to bear a child — the child being named John and how the power of speech returned to his father.

God continues to work in our present lives, even in our busyness and neglect of Him, He is still with us –Emmanuel.

God has a plan and it is that of salvation, of each and every one of us returning to Him in paradise, for eternity.

As we approach Christmas, Christ is once again calling out to us to open the door of our hearts for it is there that He desires to dwell, even if it is dark, cold and doesn’t seem to have any proper space. Christ still chooses, just as He chose the manger, to be born again into our lives. He desires to keep His promise of forgiveness, mercy and grace and this eternal victory and salvation that He has won for us. We, however, need to make the first step to choose to receive Him and allow Him to transform our lives, just as He did towards the wise men, leading them off in another direction.

It is already so hard to trust man nowadays, and now we are called to trust a spirit? Or even ‘something’ that’s seemingly not tangible? That I don’t even know if what the scriptures say is true? Indeed, this is why we proclaim that this is our faith — we will never fully understand until we see Him face to face, but we are called to be like St John the Baptist, or like the wise men; to trust in God’s Promise, whether to make a way for the Lord or to follow the star.

It is indeed a journey that cannot be qualified nor quantified. A journey that may take us to many places and through many various trials and joys in life; but, it is the destination that we need to be sure of.

The question we usually ask is, “Lord, where do you want me to go? Where do I need to go?” Brothers and sisters maybe, just for today, we can say Lord come, let me adore.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Benjamin Mao)

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to listen to your voice, to know that you have been, that you are and that you always will be with me. Help me to trust in Your promise. Come Lord Jesus, I want to adore you.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for the many signs and people that you have blessed me with. Thank you for helping me understand the true gift of Christmas is in giving you to all. Amen.

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