Fourth Sunday of Advent (Dec. 18th) – Cycle A



Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.



FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.


  1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


  1. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?



SECOND DAY                                 READ ISAIAH 7:10‑14                            FIRST READING

(“Therefore, the Lord himself will give you this sign.”)

  1. To whom did the Lord speak and through whom did he speak?       Isaiah 7:10 & Isaiah 7:3


  1. Who is Ahaz? Isaiah 7:1


  1. For what was Ahaz to ask God? Isaiah 7:11


  1. What was Ahaz’s answer to this question? Isaiah 7:12


  1. What did Isaiah say to Ahaz? Isaiah 7:13


  1. What did the Lord give Ahaz? Isaiah 7:14


  1. What was the sign he gave him? Isaiah 7:14


  1. What did the Pharisees and teachers of the law say to Jesus, and what was his answer?   Matthew 12:38‑40


  1. What was the sign given to the shepherds? Luke 2:12, 16‑17


Personal – In what way have you wearied God by constantly looking for signs other than the virgin birth? How is Jesus your sign?



THIRD DAY                                     READ ROMANS 1:1‑7                       SECOND READING

(“Through him we have been favored with apostleship.”)

  1. Who was sending greetings and how does he refer to himself?       Romans 1:1


  1. What is he called to be and for what is he set apart?           Romans 1:1


  1. Where is recorded what he promised long ago through his prophets?   Romans 1:2


  1. Whom is the Gospel concerning, from whom did he descend and how did he descend from him?   Romans 1:3


  1. How was he made Son of God? Romans 1:4


  1. For what two reasons have you been called? Romans 1:5


  1. What are we to spread concerning his name? Acts 4:12


  1. To whom have we been called to belong? Romans 1:6


  1. To whom was Paul speaking? Romans 1:7


  1. To what did he say they had been called and what does he greet them with from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ?            Romans 1:7


Personal ‑ In what way do you see yourself called to spread the name of Jesus just as Paul was? How can you become an apostle for Jesus to your family and friends?



FOURTH DAY                              READ MATTHEW 1:18‑24                                        GOSPEL

(“She is to have a son and you are to name him Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.”)

  1. How did the birth of Jesus Christ come about? Matthew 1:18


  1. Through the power of whom was Mary found to be with child?     Matthew 1:18


  1. Who was Joseph and what kind of a man was he? Matthew 1:19


  1. What was Joseph’s intention, how did the angel of the Lord appear to him, and what did he say to him? Matthew 1:19-20


  1. When was another time an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, what did he tell him to do, and what was his response?       Matthew 2:13‑14


  1. What did the angel say Mary would have, what was she to name him, and for what reason?   Matthew 1:21


  1. Why did all this happen, who was the prophet, and what did he say?  Matthew 1:22, Isaiah 7:14


  1. What does his name mean and what did Joseph do when he awoke?           Matthew 1:23-24, Isaiah 8:8, 10


  1. As Joseph recognized God speaking to him through an angel, what did his obedience show?   John 14:21


  1. What did he not do before Mary bore a son, and what did Joseph name the child?   Matthew 1:25


  1. What do the following scriptures say about the name of Jesus?

John 14:13

Acts 2:21 and 4:12

Philippians 2:9‑10


Personal ‑ When and where do you experience the presence of God the most in your life? What do you need to do to experience “Immanuel, God is with you” more completely in your life? How often do you think, feel, experience and call upon the name of Jesus in your everyday life?



FIFTH DAY                                       READ PSALM 24:1‑6

(“He shall receive a blessing from the Lord.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 24:1‑6.

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?




ISAIAH 7:10-14

This passage shows us the incredible generosity of God in his urging Ahaz to ask him for a sign. This sign would show Ahaz that God wanted to protect him and crush his enemies. The King refused and appeared almost righteous by stating that he would not test God with a sign. The truth of the matter was that God had told him to ask but Ahaz was not really sure what God would say. Many of us use the same excuse, saying that we do not want to bother God with our puny problems. This keeps us from being realistic and communicating honestly with him.

We need to seriously remember and hold fast to the scripture in 1 Corinthians 2:9: “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on man what God has prepared for those who love him.” God loves us so much that he is constantly giving us signs of his presence and love. We need to reflect for a moment on how many times he has been present to us in the form of other people who are in our lives. God gave Ahaz and all of us the greatest sign of all time. He stated that a child shall be born to a virgin and she shall call him “Immanuel.” This means “God is with us” and he will always be with us even to the end of time (Matt. 28:20). This was a great prophecy of the Messiah.

Jewish people waited for over seven hundred years and when Christ was born in a lowly cave and took on the role of a helpless infant, the sign of all signs was ignored and missed by the non‑ believers. There are many people in the world today who are non‑ believers and who are looking for a sign. You are that sign, you are called to be that light. You are called to be an ambassador for God. They will know God is present by the sign of the way we love one another.



ROMANS 1:1‑7

This passage was written by Paul who had not yet been to Rome. It was unthinkable to hear a Roman citizen call himself a slave; and yet, that is what Paul called himself, a slave to Jesus Christ. Paul chose to be completely obedient and dependent on his beloved Jesus. We need to reflect on our own attitude toward Christ. Is Christ your Master? Are you dependent on and obedient to Jesus Christ? Paul tells about Jesus being part of the Jewish royal line and being born and then dying and rising from the dead. Paul believed totally that Jesus was the promised Messiah, and the resurrected Lord. Paul tells the Romans of his agreement with the teaching of all scripture and of the traditional oral teaching of the apostles. Paul really emphasizes that God’s grace is an undeserved privilege and that it is also accompanied by a responsibility to share God’s forgiveness with others. This is our responsibility, to witness to the world. God may never call you to witness overseas, but he is calling you to witness where you are now. Rome was the capital of the world. The city was wealthy, literary, and artistic. It was a cultural center but in terms of morality, it was dying. Many great cities in the world are facing that same fate today. Christianity was at odds with many elements in the Roman culture.

The Romans trusted in their military power to protect them against their enemies. Does this type of thinking sound familiar? Christians were being exhorted to hold fast to their views on morality. We might well look around our own society and see whether the traditional family values such as sanctity of life, marriage, and chastity are being threatened by a godless way of life. Paul showed his love toward the Roman church by expressing God’s love for them, and we need to do just that too. We need to reach out and affirm our church leaders and tell them that we love them and support them in this ministry. We need to witness to Jesus’ commandment to “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34).


MATTHEW 1:18‑24

This passage addresses why a virgin birth is so important to the people of the Christian faith. Because Jesus was born of a woman, he was fully human. Also being the Son of God, he was both fully human and divine. We can relate totally with Jesus because he was human and he was like us and because he experienced every kind of temptation we experience today. In his whole life, Jesus never committed a sin. Because of this he understands our weakness and he offers us his forgiveness.

We can approach God with a reverence and yet boldness when we pray because we know that he truly understands our complete needs. We do not need to feel uncomfortable when we go before the Lord in prayer, as he loves us so much and he has been where we are now, and has the ability to help us. We need to understand the importance of the virgin birth in order to accept the situation that surrounded the birth of Jesus Christ. Mary was betrothed to Joseph when she became pregnant, and Joseph was confronted with only a few options to resolve the issue of his bride‑to‑be being pregnant, but not by him.

The Jewish marriage was the culmination of three stages. The first was when the couple became engaged, generally after their families agreed to their union. Later on, when a public announcement was made, the couple became “betrothed.” This was considered binding and broken only by divorce or death. There was no sexual relationship allowed however, until after the couple was married. The “betrothal” time was planning where to live, stocking the place with furniture, etc. Mary’s pregnancy displayed an apparent unfaithfulness that carried a severe social stigma. Joseph had a right according to Jewish law either to divorce her or to have her stoned in front of her father’s house (Deut. 22:23, 24). Joseph was told in a dream to follow God’s will and to take Mary for his wife. He was told by the Lord that Mary had conceived this child by the power of the Holy Spirit. Reflect for a moment how you would react to this type of a situation. Joseph chose to obey God’s command to marry her in spite of the obvious humiliation that they both experienced through the towns people. Joseph’s actions revealed several admirable qualities that the young men of today would do well to emulate. He displayed a stern principle, discretion and sensitivity. He was very responsive to God and displayed tremendous self‑discipline.

Joseph took God’s option and that was to marry Mary. God shows us that if we obey him, he will show us more options on how to live according to his will than we think possible. We must never forget that God took on the limitations of humanity so he could live and die for the salvation of all who believe in him.



The first reading shows us that God wants us to communicate (prayer) with him so that he can shower us with his incredible generosity. The second reading tells us that obedience and dependency on Jesus Christ is the only way to freedom. The Gospel reveals that boldness and reverence are what he wants from us in prayer.

Get down on your knees and thank Christ for coming to earth so that he could die on the cross for your sins. Then ask him to take control of your life and ask the members of your family to join you as you fall on your knees and give him praise and adoration for coming to be with you. That is why they called him “Immanuel.”

Third Sunday of Advent (Dec. 11th) – Cycle A




Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.


FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

  1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
  1. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?



SECOND DAY                                                      READ ISAIAH 35:1‑6, 10                                 FIRST READING

(“They will meet with joy and gladness.”)

  1. What will exult and bloom and for what reason? Isaiah 35:1-2


  1. What is the response to seeing the glory of the Lord?         Isaiah 35:2
  2. What are we to do with hands that are feeble and knees that are weak?   Isaiah 35:3
  3. What are we to say to those whose hearts are frightened? Isaiah 35:4


  1. Why should we not fear? Is 35:4 41:10 and Zechariah 8:13
  2. What will happen to the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf?   Isaiah 35:5


  1. What will happen to the lame and the tongue of the dumb? Isaiah 35:6


  1. Who will return and what will they enter Zion doing? Isaiah 35:10
  2. With what will they be crowned, and what will flee from them?     Isaiah 35:10

Personal ‑ In what way do those in your family, or your friends or co‑workers, see joy and rejoicing in your life? How can you, in a joyful way, show your appreciation for what God has done for you?



THIRD DAYREADJAMES5:7‑10                      SECOND READING

(“Steady your hearts, because the coming of the Lord is at hand.”)

  1. What must we be until the coming of the Lord? James 5:7


  1. What does the farmer do? James 5:7


  1. What must you do and for what reason? James 5:8


  1. What does 1 Corinthians 13:4 say about patience?


  1. What must you not do and for what reason? James 5:9


  1. Who stands at the gate? James 5:9


  1. Who is the one to judge us? 1 Corinthians 4:5


  1. For what has God set Jesus apart? Acts 10:37‑42


  1. Who are our models in suffering hardship? James 5:10


  1. In whose name did the prophets speak? James 5:10


Personal ‑ In what way have you suffered hardship for speaking the name of Jesus? In what way have you been a model to your family, friends or work associates? How does patience fit into your life? Reflect on this.



FOURTH DAY                                                      READ MATTHEW 11:2‑11                              GOSPEL

(“The poor have the good news preached to them.”)

  1. Where was John when he heard about the works Christ was performing and whom did he send to ask Jesus a question? Matthew 11:2


  1. What was John’s message and why was he in prison?Matthew 3:1‑2 14:3‑4


  1. What was the question John sent his disciples to ask Jesus? Matthew 11:3


  1. What was Jesus’ reply, especially noting who has the good news preached to them?   Matthew 11:4‑5


  1. What two things did Jesus say to report to John and who is blest? Matthew 11:4, 6


  1. To whom does the reign of God belong? Luke 6:20


Personal ‑ In what way are you being blest by what you hear and see going on around you?


  1. As the messengers went off, about whom did Jesus speak to the crowds, and what question did he ask them as to what they were looking for? Matthew 11:7‑9


  1. As what did Jesus affirm John and what did scripture say about John?   Matthew 11:9-10


  1. What did Jesus say history has done? Matthew 11:11


  1. Whom does Jesus consider greater than John the Baptist? Matthew 11:11


Personal ‑ In what way has Jesus affirmed you by the actions you have taken in dealing with those around you?



FIFTH DAY                                                         READ PSALM 146:6‑10

(“The Lord sets captives free.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 146:6-10.

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?

How can you apply this to your life?


SIXTH DAY                                                         READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY

ISAIAH 35:1‑6, 10

Isaiah has delivered a message of judgment on all of the nations in almost all of the thirty‑four previous chapters. His message includes Judah and Israel consistently rejecting the God of Abraham, Jacob and Moses. There were times of relief and restoration in the history of the chosen people but these seemed to be only at the most crucial times. A small remnant of faithful believers prevailed during these times of God’s wrath and judgment.

We see in this passage Isaiah bringing to the people a vision of hope, beauty and encouragement. The people are shown a God of judgment, but also are shown a God of incredible mercy. We see a God that is perfect in his love and complete in his hatred of sin. God has shown his love for all of these he has created through his never ending mercy. Many have failed to respond to his love because of the temptations of the world. He has in his all encompassing love extended his full range of mercy on all who have repented and come back to him. We too enjoy the benefits of his mercy, and we too will be part of the final kingdom, which is described so beautifully in this passage.

This will be the kind of world you and I can look forward to after the judgment, when all of creation will rejoice in God. The talk and times of tribulation end with the beginning of this passage. Life after the final judgment will be peaceful and joyful because we will be “home” praising the living God forever and ever. Even now as we read this, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, is preparing a place for us (John 14:1‑6) and he is preparing the road for us. He will walk with us on this road “home”. This road will run from the desert of suffering to the blessings of eternal life. It can be traveled only while following God. Our Lord Jesus will never stop pointing the way for us. He is always beside us as we go. Let us follow that vision. Let our highway be holy. Let us all respond to God’s call and lead others on to God’s holy highway to heaven.


JAMES 5:7‑10

To understand this passage, one has to realize that the early church lived in expectation of the immediate second coming of Jesus Christ. James is exhorting the people to be patient for the few short years that remain. He tells about the farmer who has to wait patiently for the early and late rains in order for his crops to mature. The farmer needs much patience to wait until nature does her work, and the Christian needs much patience in his life until Christ comes again. During this time between planting and harvesting, they must confirm their faith, by affirming and helping each other in all the circumstances. A farmer depended greatly on his neighbors to help him at harvest time and support was needed, not criticism.

Today we do not have as many farmers, but we still are busy planting the seeds of life. We too must be ready to help our neighbor, not only in times of harvest, but also in times of disaster. The early church was mistaken in thinking that Jesus would return within a generation, but the call to support and love one another is still a major part of the Christian walk. It is interesting to note that both the Christians and the farmers must live by faith. Many people blame others when things begin to go wrong in their life (Genesis 3:12, 13). Our reluctance to own up to our own share of responsibility causes many to strike out and blame others. This method is easier and more visible, but it is also destructive and sinful.

We need to reflect on what is being said in this passage and apply it to our own lives. What is being said is that before any of us judges others we should be very much aware that Christ, the ultimate judge, will come to evaluate us (Matthew 7:1‑5). Our patience needs to be in our ability to put the needs of others before our own. We also need to pray for courage; that will sustain us in the battle against sin. It is only as we go through the trials and sufferings that we gain the grace and courage of patience. History has shown us how much the prophets of the Old and New Testament have patiently suffered for the love of Jesus Christ. We who are called to the Christian walk can expect our cross of suffering which we in faith and patience will carry everywhere that the people cry out “I thirst.”


MATTHEW 11:2‑11

John the Baptist’s career had ended in shambles. He was now in prison, put there by King Herod. John never sought to soften the truth and was incapable of seeing evil without taking a stand against it. King Herod stole his brother’s wife and lived with her in sin. John spoke out fearlessly and Herod took his revenge. John reflected while in prison about whether Jesus really was the Messiah. John thought that his role was to be out preaching to the people and preparing them for Jesus. How could he do this while in jail? Sounds kind of familiar, doesn’t it?

Many times, in our lives we think that we are being blocked from doing what we think is the best way to go. We may be stopped by poor health, old age or even lack of natural ability to do what we think the Lord is calling us to do. Jesus answered John’s doubts by telling him to look around and see what was being done in the community. The blind were able to see, the deaf able to hear. Lepers were being cured and people were being raised from the dead and preaching the good news. Jesus’ answer to John was the kingdom of God is at hand (Mark 1:15). Jesus’ identity was obvious to John when he heard the answer that Jesus sent him.

We too need to reflect on our own salvation and our own level of doubt. We need only to look at the evidence in scripture and the changes in our own life. We have seen how he has forgiven us of our sins and when we doubt, we do not need to turn from him. In fact, when we have feelings of doubt then we should turn completely to him. We need to observe John and see who and what he was. He was a man who lived in the desert and was very close to the earth. He had no fancy clothes and he ate no exotic food. Some of the people thought he was mad, yet they flocked to hear and see him. He spoke with authority and humility. He was abrasive to the lawless and in total submission to Christ. Today John’s style would probably be laughed out of town because his message was too simple and too clear. John’s basic message was “Repent, the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15).

Many people today do not want to repent because “repent” means a complete change of life. We are all sinners (Romans 3:23) and we are all called to repent. Fall on your knees and be still and listen to our God (Psalm 46:10). Then ask him to create in you a new clean heart that is filled with clean thoughts and desires (Psalm 51:10). John’s message was “Good News” and that was that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah and he had come to begin God’s personal reign on earth. Jesus offered freedom to the poor, the oppressed, and the hopeless, and he does no less than that even today. So repent and be of good cheer, for the kingdom of God is surely at hand.



The first reading shows a God that is just and merciful. The second reading tells us that patience is a godly virtue, and the Gospel reveals a call to repentance now!

This week, let your actions speak for themselves in your home, work, and school area. Patience and kindness are clear signs of love. To repent means to change. Start being humble and patient today. Let others be the first in line, the first to eat, the first to speak. Be the first to give and give freely. Your witness will be a tremendous sign that “the kingdom of God is at hand.”

Second Sunday of Advent (Dec. 4th) – Cycle A





Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.



FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

  1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


  1. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?


SECOND DAY                                  READ ISAIAH 11:1‑10                           FIRST READING

(“The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him.”)

  1. What shall sprout from the stump of Jesse and of whom is Jesse the father?  Isaiah 11:1, 1 Samuel 16:11‑13


  1. Who is the sprout? Luke 3:23‑33


  1. What shall rest upon him? Isaiah 11:2


  1. Who baptized Jesus and what happened when he was baptized? Mark 1:9‑11


  1. What seven things did the Spirit give Jesus? Isaiah 11:2-3


  1. How does he not judge? Isaiah 11:3


  1. Whom does he judge, whom does he strike and how? Isaiah 11:4


  1. What is the band around his waist and the belt upon his hips?         Isaiah 11:5


  1. What will then happen? Isaiah 11:6‑9


  1. On that day, of what will the earth be full? Isaiah 11:9


  1. What is the root of Jesse set up as, who shall seek him out and why?   Isaiah 11:10


Personal ‑ In what way did you have the power of God’s Spirit rush on you as Jesus did when John baptized him. How old were you? Jesus was about 30 years old. Luke 3:23



THIRD DAY                                     READ ROMANS 15:4‑9                     SECOND READING

(“Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God.”)

  1. Why was everything written before our time and what do we derive from this instruction?   Romans 15:4


  1. What do the words from the scriptures give us? Romans 15:4


  1. By whom is Scripture inspired and for what is it useful? 2 Timothy 3:16


  1. Of what is God the source and what does he enable us to do?   Romans 15:5


  1. What does this enable us to do with one heart and voice? Romans 15:6


Personal ‑ In what way are you learning patience from God’s Word?


  1. What are we to do with one another; why and for what reason?      Romans 15:7


Personal ‑ In what way have you accepted those in your family, at work, etc. right where they are? In what way have you been encouraging them in their walk? How have you recognized God’s patience toward you?


  1. Why did Christ become a minister of the circumcised? Romans 15:8


  1. Why do the Gentiles glorify God? Romans 15:9


  1. What two things does scripture say we shall do? Romans 15:9



FOURTH DAY                                READ MATTHEW 3:1‑12                                        GOSPEL

(“He it is who will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire.”)

  1. Who made his appearance in the desert of Judea, what was he doing and what was his theme?   Matthew 3:1-2


  1. Who spoke the same message as John? Matthew 4:17


  1. When Jesus sent the 12 apostles out for the lost sheep of Israel, what did he tell them to announce?   Matthew 10:7


  1. How was John dressed and who was going out to him? Matthew 3:4‑5


  1. What were they doing as they were being baptized by John and to what does repentance lead?  Matthew 3:6, Mark 1:4


  1. What did John say to the Pharisees and Sadducees who were stepping forward for the baptism, what did he ask them to do,    and on what did he tell them not to pride themselves? Matthew 3:7-9

Personal ‑ What evidence can you produce that shows you have repented of the sin of unbelief?


  1. What would be the reason for cutting down a tree? Matthew 3:10


Personal ‑ What kind of fruit are you producing? Ask family, friends or co‑workers to evaluate you and have them tell you what kind of fruit they see coming from you.


  1. Why does John baptize in water and how does he see himself next to the one who will follow him?   Matthew 3:11


  1. Who is the one to whom John is referring and how will he baptize us?  John 1:14‑17, Matthew 3:11


  1. What is in his hand and what will he do with it? What will he gather and what will he burn?   Matthew 3:12


  1. Who are the ones he will gather and who are the ones who will go into the unquenchable fire?  Matthew 12:31‑37, Jeremiah 15:7


Personal ‑ Evaluate yourself before you began reading God’s Word and now. What changes do you see in yourself?



FIFTH DAY                          READ PSALM 72:1‑2, 7‑8, 12‑13, 17

(“In him all the tribes of the earth shall be blessed.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?




ISAIAH 11:1‑10

This passage tells us about a new shoot that would grow from the stump of the tree called the royal line of David. The new shoot would be called the Messiah and he would be greater than the original tree (David) and would bear much fruit. This coming Messiah, the perfect king, perfect priest and spiritual king would come from David’s line to reign over Israel. He was given the name of “The Lord of Righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:6).

All of us long for fair treatment from others but sadly all of us do not give that fair treatment to others. We hate those who base their judgments on the way people look, talk or even by the color of their skin. We see or read about people being judged on false evidence or hearsay and we hate it. Yet, many times, we ourselves are quick to judge others using those same standards. Christ is the only one who is clothed in truth. He is the only one who is not prejudiced. Jesus is the only one who can be a perfectly fair judge. We need to give our hearts to him completely. Only then can we learn to be as truthful and fair to others as we would want them to be to us.

Today the need to be truthful is needed more than at any other time in history because we are surrounded by so much distortion and outright lies. Satan is the father of lies and he lies to us in his presentation of pornography, drugs, homosexuality and abortion. Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ is the only answer to deceit and conflict, whether it be in a family or a nation. The passage goes on to show wild animals living at peace with one another. Even more incredible is for hostile people to live at peace with one another.

Only in Jesus Christ can hostilities be laid to rest as true love prevails; this is the peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). A golden age was predicted in this passage and it still is to come today and it will when Jesus Christ reigns over the entire earth. We can, until that time, carry out our commission and live to bring others to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior (Matthew 28:19).


ROMANS 15:4‑9

The deeper the hunger and thirst is to know God’s Word in scripture, the more our attitude towards the past, present and future will be affected. Scripture has shown over and over that God has continually kept his promise of salvation to those who believe in him. The more we know of scripture, the more we know about what God has done for us. This leads to a greater confidence in what he will do for us in the days ahead.

Our daily study of the holy scripture followed by prayerful reflection and action will increase our trust that God’s will is the best choice for us. We are being called to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and this means being in harmony with his teachings and sharing his values and perspectives. We cannot hope to live in harmony with others until we first learn patience, steadiness, and encouragement from Jesus.

We can be in harmony with others only when we have the attitude of Christ (Philippians 2:2‑11). We need to develop an attitude of love toward other Christians as well. As we become more capable of maintaining this attitude of love for people of all cultures throughout each day, we will learn how to live in harmony with each other. To live in harmony means to love and respect each other regardless of creed, race or color and regardless of being rich or poor, young or old, sickly or well.

We are called to welcome each other warmly into the church. This means we are to love one another as he has loved us (John 15:12). We are called to affirm each other, and forgive one another. We are called to repent of our sinful actions towards God and man (Mark 1:15). Repentance means to change our lives completely. We are called to make our beloved church not only a haven for saints but a hospital for sinners. Jesus said to us on the cross, “I thirst” (John 19:28) and we are called to satisfy that thirst by loving one another and living in harmony with all of God’s creation.



MATTHEW 3:1‑12

John came onto the scene like the thundering voice of Almighty God. He courageously spoke out against wrongdoing wherever he saw it. He spoke out against the evil doings of King Herod, living with his brother’s wife and against the ritualistic formalism of the self‑righteous Sadducees and Pharisees. John spoke out against evil in the state, in the church and in the crowd on the streets. John not only denounced men for the evil they had done, but challenged them to be what could be in accordance with the moral standards of God. Many thought John the Baptist was in reality Elijah who had returned to herald the coming of the Messiah (King) (Malachi 4:5). John was preparing the way for the King. The preacher, the teacher with the booming prophetic voice, points not at himself, but at God.

John was recognized as a prophet, because he had in him that special authority which clings to the man who comes into the presence of men out of the presence of God. John strongly warns the people that being just the descendants of Abraham does not guarantee their entrance into heaven. To the Israelite, this was an incredible statement because Abraham was unique in his goodness and in his favor with God. John was warning the people that they could not live on the spiritual deeds of the past. He told them that a degenerate age cannot hope to claim salvation for the sake of a heroic past. An evil son cannot hope to plead on the merits of a righteous Father.

We need to reflect on John’s presence and his message of warning to our own society. Do we as a people live in obedience to the teachings of Jesus Christ? Do we love one another as he loved us (John 15:12)? Do we practice in our daily living the message that we preach in our churches? Do we expect to be saved because we belong to a certain type of denomination? Do we really believe that Jesus Christ is the only bridge to salvation? The silence of God’s voice in today’s world of violence, pornography, abortion and drugs is deafening.

The message of John, calling out to the people to make way and prepare themselves for the coming of the Lord, is no less urgent today. John’s promise to the people that the baptism of the Holy Spirit would fill them with the fire of love and power was like a measure of cool water given to a man thirsting in the desert (Isaiah 44:3). The Spirit of God is the Spirit of Power. When the Spirit of God enters into a man, his weakness is clothed with the power of God. His tired, lack‑lustre, appearance of defeat of life is gone, and a new surge of life enters him. Do you really believe this?



The first reading tells us only the truth can set us free and the truth is Jesus (John 8:32). The second reading reveals scripture has shown over and over that God has kept his promise of salvation to those who believe in him. The Gospel tells us to prepare ourselves, for the kingdom of God is at hand.

This week, let us practice what we preach by keeping a list of the things that we have done throughout the day. Then at evening time, reflect on how close your actions match your words. Try this for one week and get ready for a miracle.


First Sunday of Advent (Nov. 27th) – Cycle A





Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.


FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

  1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


  1. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?



SECOND DAY                                    READ ISAIAH 2:1‑5                             FIRST READING

(“Come, let us climb the Lord’s mountain.”)

  1. Who saw something concerning Judah and Jerusalem and whose son was he?   Isaiah 2:1


  1. What will happen to the mountain of the Lord’s house, who will come towards it, and when will this happen?   Isaiah 2:2


  1. What will the people say who come to it? Isaiah 2:3


  1. Who is to instruct us in his ways, in whose paths are we to walk, and from where will instruction come?   Isaiah 2:3


  1. Where is Zion? 1 Kings 8:1, Joel 4:17, 21


  1. In days to come, from where will the Word of the Lord come?      Isaiah 2:3


  1. Where does the Word of God come from today? John 1:1,14


  1. How do we know he is speaking to us if he is not walking and talking with us as he did with the apostles two thousand years   ago?   John 16:7


  1. In days to come, how will there be a judgment? And what will end?   Isaiah 2:4


  1. What are we to walk in and who is the light of the world?   Isaiah 2:5, John 8:12


Personal – How are you anticipating with joy our Lord’s coming? Do your family and friends know that Jesus will come again? How are you preparing for his coming and how is your family preparing for it?


THIRD DAY                                   READ ROMANS 13:11‑14                   SECOND READING


(“Let us cast off deeds of darkness  and put on the armor of light.”)


  1. What is the summation of all the commandments? Romans 13:9-10


  1. When should we wake from sleep? Romans 13:11


  1. When will our salvation be completed? Revelations 1:7, 1 Thessalonians 5:2


  1. What does it mean to “accept the faith? ” Write out the following verses John 3:16, John 14:6


  1. What does verse 12 of Romans 13 say about the day and night, what must we cast off and what must we put on?   Romans 13:12


  1. What is the armor of light? (Light representing Jesus, John 8:12) List all of the armor that we are to put on:

Ephesians 6:10-17

Helmet ‑

Breastplate ‑

Belt ‑

Footgear ‑

Shield ‑

Sword ‑


  1. According to Romans how are we to live and how are we not to live?   Romans 13:13


Personal ‑ According to verse 13, what is one of the major reasons for divorce today? What is one of the major causes of automobile accidents? What is one of the major causes of abortion today? What is one of the major causes of division in our churches today?


  1. To put on the Lord Jesus Christ, how must we conduct ourselves?   1 John 2:6


  1. For what are we not to make provision? Romans 13:14


  1. How do we not give in to the desires of the flesh? Galatians 5:13


Personal ‑ Do you know Jesus well enough through his Word to walk as he did? In what way can you better learn about him?



FOURTH DAY                              READ MATTHEW 24:37‑44                                      GOSPEL

(“Stay awake, therefore, you cannot know the day your Lord is coming.”)

  1. Who is the Son of Man? Matthew 1:18, 23


  1. What will he repeat? Matthew 24:37, Gen 7:11-23


  1. What were the people doing in the days before the flood and what did the flood do to them?   Matthew 24:38‑39


  1. What will happen when Jesus comes again? Matthew 24:40‑41


  1. What must we do, why must we do this, and what must we not allow?   Matthew 24:42-43


  1. Who are the thieves? John 10:1, 8


  1. What do the thieves come to do? John 10:10


  1. What must we be before the Son of Man comes? Matthew 24:44


  1. How can we be best prepared? John 8:31


Personal ‑ In what way are you living according to his teachings? How do you know his teachings?




FIFTH DAY                                      READ PSALM 122:1‑9

(“We will go up to the house of the Lord.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 122:1‑9.

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?




ISAIAH 2:1‑5

The emphasis in this passage is peace through obedience to God. This is the only kind of peace that will be permanent. The temple is mentioned, not so much because of its architecture, but because of the presence of God in the Old Testament scripture. The temple was a symbol of religious authority, and all worship was centralized through the temple. The temple was a symbol of God’s holiness, and it was the setting for many of the great visions of the prophets. The temple was a symbol of God’s covenant with Israel.

The temple was a symbol of God’s forgiveness, and it prepared the people for the coming of their long-awaited Messiah. The temple was a testimony to human effort and creativity, and finally, above all else, the temple was a place of prayer. Isaiah was prophesying what was going to happen to Jerusalem, and that was that Jerusalem would not only be freed of her bondage, but that she would become a leader to all nations.

The new Jerusalem is a city of God where there will be no more tears, no more sorrow, no more crying, no more pain and no more death. Have you ever wondered what heaven will be like? The Holy City, or New Jerusalem is described in scripture (Rev. 21) as a place where God dwells among his people amid the absence of pain, sorrow and death.

This is a tremendous comfort for us, because no matter what we may be going through, it is not the last word. God has written that last chapter and he has promised us that if we believe in his Son (Jesus), we will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). We are told in this passage that a wonderful day of peace will come when we are taught God’s laws and then obey them. We know that sin causes war, conflict, sickness, and disruption.

We are encouraged to begin to obey God, not in the next world but rather, in today’s world. He has given us his Word for direction and guidance. We will not have to wait until we die to enjoy the benefits of his love, we will begin to enjoy them immediately. We will become changed, and that change will affect our family, friends, and fellow co‑workers. We must never forget God made a covenant with us. He will never break his promise, and his promise is to be with us until the end of time. (Matt. 28:20).



ROMANS 13:11‑14

In this message, Paul really stresses the urgency of changing our lives before Jesus Christ comes back again. No man knows when God will rise and bid him go. The time grows shorter, for we are every day one day nearer that time. Paul stresses that we too must have all things in our life ready. St Augustine, in his story “Confessions” tells of finding conversion in the last verses of this passage. He wondered how long it was going to take to end his life of sinfulness.

With his Word God had spoken to St. Augustine and he will speak to us if we will let him. We do not search for God; he is already searching for us. God’s Word can always find the human heart, no matter how much darkness surrounds it. Let Jesus come into your heart right now and put on the clothes of light and the armor of right living.

In Roman society, a young man put down the clothes of his childhood and put on the toga, a sign of an adult, with its rights and responsibilities. Paul is saying we have laid aside the clothes of the law and now we are putting on Christ’s clothes of righteousness. We are to do the same, we are to cast off and throw away our rotten garments of sin and put on the clothes of grace. Paul was appealing to the commitment the believers had made in their baptism (2:12). They understood baptism to symbolize the death and burial of the old way of life, followed by resurrection to a new life in Christ. When we think of our old life in sin as being dead, we then have a powerful motive to resist sin in our lives today. Today we must consider ourselves dead and unresponsive to the deadly desires of sins of attitude as well as to sins of the flesh. Attitudes lead to action, just like hatred can lead to murder. Jealousy can lead to fighting, and lust can lead to adultery. We must be ourselves, as clean on the inside as we are on the outside when Christ returns again.



MATTHEW 24:37‑44

The message in today’s Gospel is to be alert and be prepared for Jesus’ return to earth. We call this special time Advent as we prepare for the celebration of the birth of the Christ Child on Christmas Day. As we prepare for this blessed day in our Christian calendar, we need to especially remember that what we are celebrating is the anticipation of Christ coming again on this earth to bring the “Good News” to all who have believed in him. As we are told in today’s passage, we are fortunate not to know when that special day comes because we might become lazy in our work for Christ. Some would probably keep on sinning right up to the end and then try to turn to God in the nick of time.

Our goal in life is not just to get to heaven; we also have a commission (Matt. 28:19) right here on earth. We must continue on in our life, living out the reality of God’s presence until we see the triumphant return of our Savior. Our Lord’s second coming will be instantaneous and there will be no time for last minute repentance or bargaining. The choice we have already made today will determine our destiny. Have you made a choice today to let Jesus Christ become the Lord of your life? In today’s passage, Jesus is not telling us about his return to put fear or doubt in our heart. He is not trying to get us into making all kinds of predictions. He is warning us to be prepared. He is giving us a warning of love, because he wants no man or woman to perish.

The bottom line in today’s message is: Will you be found faithfully doing his work on the day of his return? We have those who say we can work our way to heaven alone, and others who say we need only faith to be saved. A story was told of a man in a rowboat taking passengers from the dock to the waiting ship. He had painted on one oar “Faith” and on the other oar “Works.” When he used only the oar that said “Faith,” the boat went in a circle to the left. When he used only the oar marked “Works,” the boat still went into a circle, only this time to the right. When he used both oars the boat went ahead to its desired goal. Jesus wants us, in faith, to continue our good works until he comes again in glory.



In the first reading, we saw the emphasis being placed on obedience. The second reading stressed the urgency of changing our lives, and the Gospel tells us to be alert and prepared.

This week, be alert and prepared to do battle against temptation and sin by being obedient to those who are placed in authority over us. Therefore, let us curb our tongue when we are in conversations at work, school or in the privacy of our own home. The example you provide will allow your co-workers, classmates and family to see the gifts and fruits of the Spirit in your life.



Thirty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time – Christ the King (November 20th) – Cycle C








Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.



FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.


  1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


  1. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?



SECOND DAY            READ 2 SAMUEL 5:1-3          FIRST READING


             (“You shall shepherd my people Israel…”)


  1. Who came to David and what did they say to him? 2 Samuel 5:1 


  1. Where was David? If you can locate this place on a bible map, give location.  2 Samuel 5:1


  1. Who led the Israelites out and brought them back?     2 Samuel 5:2


 4. Who did the tribes of Israel say spoke to David and what did he say to him?  2 Samuel 5:2, Ezekiel 34:23-24


Personal – Who, then, do you think appoints those to shepherd the people?  Are you following the One whom God has appointed King of kings for all times?


  1. To whom was David speaking? 2 Samuel 24:17


Personal – How does God speak to you and how do you speak to him   as David did?


  1. What will happen to the shepherd God has appointed that does    not listen and submit to the words of God? Zechariah 11:17 and Jeremiah 25:34-36


  1. Who is our Great Shepherd? Read and write out the following scriptures:

      Genesis 48:15

     Psalm 23:1

     John 10:6-7, 11

     John 10:16


  1. Who was made king of Israel? With whom did the king make an agreement before and who anointed him?  2 Samuel 5:3


Personal – What do you see as the difference between a good shepherd, a good king, and a bad king?  What are you?





(“Through him we have redemption, the forgiveness for our sins.”)             


  1. For what are we to give thanks to the Father? Colossians 1:12


  1. What does it mean “the saints in light” and who is the light?      John 8:12


  1. Who rescued us and from whom did he rescue us? Colossians 1:13


  1. Who is the power of darkness? Acts 26:18


  1. When he rescued us, where did he bring us?  Colossians 1:13


  1. What do we receive through Jesus? Colossians 1:14,     1 Peter 2:9


Personal – Have you been redeemed?  Have you asked the Lord to cleanse you and make you whole?  Reread verse 14.  This is a promise from God.  Write out this verse and meditate on it.


  1. Who is the image of our God we cannot see and who is the first-born of all creatures?  Colossians 1:15


  1. Read and write out:

     Psalm 89:28

     John 1:3

     John 1:18


Personal – How do you see God the Father?  How has Jesus revealed him to you personally?  Is he holding a rod ready to punish you or is he gentle, kind and forgiving?  As you see Jesus, you see the Father.


  1. What was created in him and where was it created?     Colossians 1:16, 1 Corinthians 8:6


  1. For what reason was all created? Colossians 1:16


  1. How does everything continue its being? Colossians 1:17


  1. Who began the church and who is the head of it?     Ephesians 1:22, Revelation 1:5, Colossians 1:18


  1. Onto whom did Christ pass this headship? Matthew 16:18


  1. How have we been reconciled with the Father?     Colossians 1:19-20


Personal – Have you allowed Jesus to wash you with his blood and   bring you to peace with the Father?  What changes can you see in your life since you have done this?




FOURTH DAY               READ LUKE 23:35-43               GOSPEL

                (“This is the King of the Jews”)

  1. Who stood there watching? Who was jeering at Jesus, and what were they saying?  Luke 23:35


  1. Was there anyone else making fun of Jesus? What did they offer him, and what were they telling him to do?     Luke 23:36-37 


Personal – Why do you think Jesus did not come down off the cross and save himself from this agonizing death?  Luke 22:42


  1. Was it the Father’s will that Jesus, his only begotten Son, die on the cross and why?


     Read and write out:

     1 Timothy 2:4

     John 12:47

     John 3:16

     John 10:10


  1. If Jesus was obedient to the Father and hung on the cross and      suffered from the weight of our sins in order to save us, what must we do?  John 1:12, Revelation 3:20


  1. How are we to follow Jesus’ example? Matthew 16:24-25, Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24


  1. Was it through any effort of our own that we have been saved?     Titus 3:4-5


  1. What was the inscription written over Jesus’ head?     Luke 23:38


Personal – How have you made Jesus your King of Kings and Lord of Lords?  1 Timothy 1:17, Revelation 17:14, Revelation 19:16


  1. What did the one criminal say to Jesus in Luke 23:39?


  1. About whom was he concerned? Luke 23:39


  1. What did the other criminal do and say?  Luke 23:40-41


Personal – In what way are you like either one of the criminals?  Who was denying himself and how do you deny yourself?


  1. What did he say to Jesus in verse 42 of Luke 23 and what was Jesus’ reply?


  1. Read Matthew 25:33-34, 41. How can this be compared to Luke     23:39-40?


Personal – Are you the one on the left or the right?  In what ways have you denied yourself this week for your spouse, children, friends, neighbor, business associates, or school friends?




FIFTH DAY             READ PSALM 122:1-5              


             (“Give thanks to the name of the Lord.”)


Read and meditate on Psalm 122:1-5.

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?





                         2 SAMUEL 5:1-3

     David was finally anointed king over all Israel, and this was a fulfillment of God’s promise.  He first was anointed king in private by Samuel (1 Samuel 16:13).  David was just a teenager then and spent many years in the service of King Saul.  David was thirty years old when he was crowned King of Judah, which was the southern half of the Promised Land (2 Samuel 2:4).  He was crowned king of the whole country at the age of thirty-seven and reigned for forty years. 


     When David was young and an outlaw, his future looked very bleak, but God’s promise to make him king was now fulfilled.  David had to wait very patiently for God’s promise to be fulfilled, even though he had been promised the kingship many years earlier.  We need to reflect on the patience and humility that David practiced in his long wait.  He went on to become a great king, warrior, poet, singer, musician, writer and spiritual leader of his people.  David was anointed by God and he knew that in time, God’s time, the plan would come into being. 


     David’s time of waiting prepared him for the very important task of being the good shepherd that his country needed. We too need to wait on the Lord and trust that he will direct us in our walk through the kingdom.  David was a leader because he was a follower of God.  Later David took his eyes off of God and he fell into great sin.  David repented and saw how puny his kingdom was next to God’s and he came back and received God’s gift of grace and forgiveness. We too can be like David; we can all come back to God’s holy light by repenting and realizing that God is our only good shepherd, and he will never fail to go out and save the lost sheep.  Let us follow David’s example and let our baptismal anointing be the beginning of our eternal life with the “Good Shepherd,” Jesus, who will set us all free forever (John 8:32).


                        COLOSSIANS 1:12-20

     Paul was bringing to light a heresy in the Colossian church that was the beginning of Gnosticism.  The word “Gnosticism” means knowledge and the word “heresy” means a teaching contrary to true doctrine.  The Gnostic heresy attacked Christianity in several ways. It held that important secret knowledge was to be kept from most believers, and it taught that the body is evil.  Paul responded to this heresy by stating that Jesus chose to dwell in a human body.  This heresy denied the humanity of Christ and Paul insisted that in Jesus we see one who is fully alive, human and good. 


     Gnosticism was beginning to get known and it could easily sway believers’ minds that did not know God’s will through the teachings of the church.  We see many signs of this heresy still lingering on in our church.  Today, as in the times of Paul, the best way a church can remain true to the teachings of the Lord is through personal study and church teachings.  Paul lists five benefits that Jesus gave us through his death on the cross.  He made us to be part of his kingdom.  He rescued us from Satan and made us his children.  He brought us into his eternal kingdom (Eph 2:5-6).


     The Colossian church was caught up in believing that all matter is basically evil.  They believed that God, being a spirit which is all good, would never come to earth as a true human being (being human is part of matter).  They believed that Christ did not make the world, because they believed God would not create anything that was evil.  They believed that special and secret knowledge was the only way people could find God.  Paul told them that only Christ has the power to save.  Paul told them that Jesus is not only equal to God (Phil 2:6), he is God (John 10:30). 


     We need to understand that Paul is combatting a heresy that tries to put knowledge above the saving aspects of God.  We, like the Colossians, must believe that Jesus Christ is God and not simply some great prophet.  Our faith will be hollow, misdirected, and meaningless if we see Jesus as anything less than God.  


                          LUKE 23:35-43

     In this passage, Jesus is placed on the cross; and even in his own incredible pain, he seeks to comfort and to forgive others.  The place where Jesus was led to be crucified was called “Golgotha” which means “the skull.”  This was a small hill just outside of the city walls, alongside a main road.  The Romans made the execution a public display as an example of what happens to those who defy Roman law.  It is ironic that Jesus was asked by James and John for the places of honor next to him in his Kingdom (Mark 10:35-39).  Now that Jesus was preparing to enter his Kingdom through his crucifixion, the places on his left and right were to be taken by dying, convicted criminals.  This is an incredible example for all of us that Jesus’ death was for all men, not just a selected few.  We must take Jesus’ words to his two power-hungry disciples, to our own hearts and remember that anyone who wants to be close to Jesus must be prepared to suffer and die as he did.  The only way to paradise is through the cross.  Even as he hung there dying in agony, Jesus was asking his Father to “forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”  We need to reflect on those words, especially with what is going on in today’s world.


     Do we really understand how horrible sin is to God?  Do we really understand how horrible it is when we let others starve, go homeless, or we fail to clothe the naked?  Do we really understand when we turn our backs on the old, the lonely, the imprisoned, the mentally ill?  Do we really understand how horrible it is when we cause others to live in fear, and when we fail to love?  Jesus understands that we don’t really understand our own cruelty and he shows us the real reason why he died for all of us.  He freed us from the deathhold that Satan had on us and now, in faith, we can choose to love, choose to make all men free, and choose to forgive.  God tells us that if we accept his son, we will live forever (John 3:16). 


     Jesus died for us and forgave us our sins.  We must also forgive others as he has forgiven us (Matt 6:15).  Let us be like the good thief (Dismas) on Jesus’ right, and say, “Lord, will you remember me in your Kingdom?”  He will say to us as surely as he said to Dismas,  “Believe in me and you too shall be with me in Paradise.”  Jesus is the dawn that breaks into the darkness of sin and gives us the light eternal.



     In the first reading, we saw David being patient and humbly waiting to be crowned King in God’s time.  In the second reading, Paul is telling the Colossians that salvation is a person named Jesus, not some intellectual doctrine.  The Gospel shows us that even as he was dying, Jesus was forgiving those who hurt him.

     Let us look at the people and situations around us and specifically say, “Father, forgive so and so for what he or she is doing to me.”  Apply this to family, friends, boss, fellow workers, etc.        

Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time (November 13th) – Cycle C


By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn


Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.


FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?




(“…There will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays…”)

1. What will the day be like that is coming? Malachi 3:19


2. What will happen to all the proud and evildoers? Malachi 3:19


3. How will that day leave them? Malachi 3:19


4. Who says this will happen? Malachi 3:19


5. What do the proud and evildoers do? Malachi 3:5, 13-14


6. For those who fear the name of the Lord, what will arise and with what kind of rays? Malachi 3:20


7. What will you do? Malachi 3:20


8. What do those who fear the Lord do? Malachi 3:16


9. What is the difference between the proud, the evildoer, and the one who fears the Lord? Malachi 3:18


10. To fear the Lord brings what and what does it avoid? Proverbs 14:27


Personal – Examine your conscience over this past week. What ways have you served the Lord and what ways have you not served him? Do you have one foot in the kingdom and one outside? Read Revelation 3:15-16.




(“…That we might present ourselves as an example for you to imitate.”)

1. Who is speaking? To whom are they speaking? What are they asking them to do in 2 Thessalonians 3:7? 2 Thessalonians 1:1


2. Why were they asking the Thessalonians to imitate them? 2 Thessalonians 3:6-8


3. What is the workman worth? Matthew 10:10


4. How  did they want to present themselves and for what reason? 2 Thessalonians 3:9


5. What was the rule that they laid down while they were with them? 2 Thessalonians 3:10


6. With what did they tell them to work, and for what reason? 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12


7. What did Paul and the others hear that some of them were not  doing and how were they acting? 2 Thessalonians 3:11


8. What happens when you don’t keep busy but waste time? 1 Timothy 5:13


9. What did Paul and the others urge them strongly in the Lord  Jesus Christ to do and how were they to do it? 2 Thessalonians 3:12


10. What should we remember when working? Colossians 3:23


Personal – If you are a student, if you are a homemaker or working on a job, or if you are retired, what has your attitude been towards the work you are doing? What kind of example are you to outsiders? Reflect on this.




(“All will hate you because of me,…”)

1. About what were some people speaking? Luke 21:5


2. What did Jesus say to them about the things they were contemplating? Luke 21:6


3. What two things did they ask Jesus? Luke 21:7


4. Who did Jesus say not to follow and what would they be saying? Luke 21:8


5. What is bound to happen first about which we are not to become perturbed? Does the end immediately follow this? Luke 21:9


6. What did Jesus continue to say to them? Luke 21:10-11


7. What did he say would happen to them before all this took place? Luke 21:12


8. What action concerning his name would result in persecution and trial? Acts 5:28


9. What will we be brought to do?  What are we not to do and for what reason? Luke 21:13-15


10. With what did Stephen speak when engaged in debate? Acts 6:9-10


11. Who will deliver us up and what will happen to some of us? Luke 21:16


12. What will all do to us because of Jesus and, yet, what will happen to the hair on our heads? Luke 21:17-18


13. How will we save our lives? Luke 21:19


14. Read the following scriptures and write out what they say about patient endurance:

Hebrews 3:14

Hebrews 6:11-12

Hebrews 10:36


Personal – In what way do you see yourself being persecuted because of the name of Jesus? In what way are you persecuting others for their obedience to God? Where do you stand?




(“He will rule the world with justice and the peoples with equity.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 98:5-9.

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?




MALACHI 3:19-20

We read in this passage that the day of judgment is coming like a blazing furnace for those who have turned their backs on God.  Malachi exhorted and warned the people about being obedient to the Lord or facing terrible consequences. A blazing furnace is white hot and its function is to burn impurities out of precious metal. It requires a hot, dangerous and all-consuming fire. Malachi compared judgment day to this.

Many people were disobedient to God’s will and dishonored his name (Mal.1:6). They offered false worship (Mal.1:7-14), and they led others into sin (Mal.2:7-9). Many became arrogant and proud, and they called “evil” good (Mal.2:17). These were the people who Malachi promised would be reduced to stubble on Judgment Day. We need to reflect on our own lifestyle in these troubled times and see if this warning applies to us also. The name of God is mocked and profaned on television and in the movies with great regularity. Idolatry is as common today in this country as it ever was in the time of Abraham. Today many pay homage to the god of sports, television, pornography, abortion, money, and power. That blazing furnace is as real today as it was in the time of Malachi.

Malachi was not a prophet of doom, and he left them with a strong message of hope and forgiveness. He gave us the image of a loving God who will be like the healing warmth of the sun to those that repent and come back to love and obey him. God wills that no man perish. John the Baptist told about the coming of Jesus and said he was like the dawn about to break with light for those in sin and darkness (Luke 1:76-79). Jesus is the light of the world, and we are called to bring that light everywhere.



Paul takes a strong stand against laziness in the church leaders and in the people themselves. He strongly exhorts them to be responsible and hard-working Christians. Paul certainly did not think that working or insisting that people who should work was an attack on their integrity or dignity.  Paul thought that a person should make the most of his time and talents. Paul exhorted them to provide for themselves and for others as well. Paul stresses very strongly how important example is to a community.

We need to stress that today more than ever to our young people and especially our children. What kind of example are you setting? Do people see you as a hard-working, kind, and patient Christian?  Do you spend too much time watching television? Do you spend time alone every day with the Lord in quiet prayer? Do you read and study Scripture every day? These are the type of examples we need to set for others.

Paul really admonishes the people about wasting time gossiping, a sin against the fifth commandment: “Thou shalt not kill.”  You kill a person socially, emotionally, and even spiritually inch by inch when you are gossiping about him. Gossips breed distrust, division, discouragement, and, finally, despair in the body of Christ. Gossip, in some cases, is exciting to hear; and it means those who are hearing it feel like insiders. Instead of building up, gossiping tears down. Jesus calls us to love others as he has loved us (John 15:12). We cannot be tearing someone down through gossip and think we are loving, obedient Christians. We need to pray to the Lord so that he will heal us of this miserable, bad habit. Our prayers are powerful because our Lord listens and heals (James 5:16).


LUKE 21:5-19

The temple the disciples were admiring was not Solomon’s temple. Solomon’s temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in the sixth century B.C. The temple in Jesus’ day was the one built by Herod the Great, beginning in 20 B.C. It was much larger than the earlier temples. This temple, after many restorations, was destroyed completely in 70 A.D. by the Roman army. The disciples were commenting on the beauty and durability of the temple. Jesus tells them the temple will be knocked down and it will become a pile of rubble. They wanted to know when this terrible event would happen. Jesus warned them about false Messiahs and natural disasters. He told them that he would never leave them and that he would be with them even unto the end of time (Matthew 28:16-20). He warned them about persecution and being dragged into court because of being associated with him. We see that happening today to those involved in a movement to stop abortion by blocking the entrance into the abortion clinics. Many of the protestors have been arrested and hauled into court. A tremendous witness is taking place in our country, so many people have come forward and are being imprisoned for the sake of Christ. Jesus’ warning and his promises still apply to us as we look forward to his return. In response to their question of “knowing when the end of the age will come,” Jesus stated that they should be less concerned about the date and more concerned about being prepared.

We are called to live God’s way constantly so that no matter when he comes, we will be prepared.  The early church thrived despite incredible persecution. In the early second century, the blood of the Christians was considered the seeds of future believers. We need to remember that Jesus’ words are as true today as they were yesterday. Today we have many families who have turned against each other and suffer great persecution at the hands of their own loved ones. We can be assured that no matter how rough the times may get, he is with us, and his Spirit even teaches us what to say in times of trial.

Jesus tells us, “Not a hair of your head will be harmed.” He means that none of his followers will suffer spiritual or eternal loss. You may lose all of your possessions here on earth, and you may be beaten, robbed, and even put to death, but you will be saved forever and ever.



In the first reading, we are choosing to be either hot or cold. In the second reading, we are called to be role models. In the Gospel, we heard that we need to take a stand with God or against him.

Let us choose Christ in every situation we encounter in our homes, church, and jobs. Before we take action in any situation this week let us ask ourselves, “Am I compromising what I believe in by doing this?”

Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time (November 6th) – Cycle C


By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn



FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?




(“We are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our ancestors.”)

1. How many brothers were arrested and who was with them? 2 Maccabees 7:1


2. What did the king do to them? Why did he do this and of what was this in violation? 2 Maccabees 7:1


3. What did one of the brothers say in speaking for the other brothers? 2 Maccabees 7:2


4. What would they rather do than transgress the laws of whom? 2 Maccabees 7:2


5. After killing the first brother what did they do to the second brother and what did he say? 2 Maccabees 7:7-9


6. Who is the King of the world and for what will he raise us up? 1 Timothy 6:14-15, 2 Maccabees 7:9


7. What happened to the third brother and what did he say? 2 Maccabees 7:10-11


8. At what did the king and his attendants marvel, and for what reason? 2 Maccabees 7:12


9. What happened to the fourth brother and what did he choose to do at the hands of men? 2 Maccabees 7:13-14


10. What was the fourth brother’s God-given hope and what did he say there would not be for the torturers? 2 Maccabees 7:14


11. When we die who gives back both breath and life and for what reason? 2 Maccabees 7:23


12. What does the Son, Jesus, do? John 5:19-30.


Personal – In what way have you been willing to suffer for your belief in Jesus? What have you said lately to those around you that took courage to say to them? Pray and ask God to give you the courage to stand up for what you believe in.




(“…console your hearts and strengthen them for every good work and word.”)

1. What did God our Father in his mercy give us? 2 Thessalonians 2:16


2. What does God do for your heart and for what reason does he do this? 2 Thessalonians 2:17


3. For what reason did Paul and the others ask the brothers to pray for them? 2 Thessalonians 3:1


4. What is another reason that Paul asks others to pray for them? Colossians 4:3-4


5. Paul asks them to pray that they be delivered from whom? 2 Thessalonians 3:2


6. What is it that not every man has and that the Lord always keeps? 2 Thessalonians 3:2-3


7. What two things does the Lord do for you against the evil one? 2 Thessalonians 3:3


8. How does God strengthen us? Psalm 119:28, Ephesians 3:16


9. How do we receive this strength? Acts 3:16


10. About what are Paul and the others con dent in the Lord? 2 Thessalonians 3:4


11. In what are they asking the Lord to rule their hearts? 2 Thessalonians 3:5


12. How do we speak and of what is God the tester? 1 Thessalonians 2:4


Personal – In what way has God strengthened you for every good work and word through his Word and the teaching of the Holy Spirit this past week? Be specific.




(“God is not the God of the dead but of the living. All are alive for him.”)

1. Who came forward to pose a problem to Jesus and what did they claim? Luke 20:27-28


2. What was the problem they proposed to Jesus? Luke 20:28-33


3. What did Jesus say children of this age do? Luke 20:34


4. What do those judged worthy of a place in the age to come and of resurrection from the dead do in regard to marriage? Luke 20:35


5. What do those judged worthy become like and what will not happen to them? Luke 20:36


6. Who are the ones that will rise? Luke 20:36


7. What did Moses in the passage about the bush show? Luke 20:37


8. Who does not have God and who does have God? Luke 20:38


9. For what are we alive? Luke 20:38


10. What does Corinthians say about being raised up from the dead? 1 Corinthians 15:12-19


11. What does it take to believe in Christ’s resurrection? Acts 20:21.


Personal – In what way have you already been resurrected and to what do you look forward? In what way do others see the resurrected Christ living in you?



FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 17:1, 5-6, 8, 15

(“Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings…”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 17:1, 5-6, 8, 15.
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?




2 MACCABEES 7:1-2, 9-14

This passage has a powerful message of justice and resurrection. Can you imagine how horrible it must have been for that mother to watch each one of her seven sons being tortured and then executed? Can you just imagine the pain in her heart as she leans closely to her last remaining son and encourages him to save his life by giving it up for God (Matthew 16:25)? What tremendous courage this mother, who is herself later tortured and murdered, and her sons had. We need to reflect on this story.

The fear of pain and death was not in their responses because the hunger and thirst to be at one with God was greater. We must not dismiss this passage as an exaggerated story told to make a point. These young men loved life as much as you or I do. They dreamed about their futures just like you and I do. They knew that to refuse this command meant torture and death. Could we do the same? Today, here in our society, we are being threatened with such a barrage of filth in our movies, television, magazines, and now even in our home videotape recordings. The level of filth and profit is so high that like Habakkuk (1:2), we cry out, how long will I call for help, and you do not hear?

The degree of brutality has never been equaled as it has here in the United States when we look at the 25 million unborn babies we have murdered. Our nation is being savagely attacked, and our throats are being slashed by the incredibly overwhelming use of drugs. The primary motive for this plague of evil is greed and profit. Where are men like these brothers who will stand up and protest against these outrages? Where are these men who will die if they have to? The questions upon us today are: Do we really believe in the Resurrection? Do we really believe that Jesus died to make all men free and live forever with him? I pray that our nation will come forth and give us men and women like the spiritual giants in today’s passage. I pray with confidence because he tells us that he will never turn away anyone who calls out to him (John 6:37).



Paul knew that the pressures of persecution, apathy among the people, worldliness of the people, and false teachers would cause a wavering of faith and a looseness with the truth. He exhorted them to stand firm in the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ passed on to us through scripture and the teachings of the church. We, too, are being confronted with these temptations that try to turn us away from God. We need to more than ever hold onto the truth. This is found in the teachings of Jesus, simply because our lives depend on it.

We must never forget the reality of his life and love. Paul is not only exhorting the people, but he is also warning them about the dangers of evil men in their midst. He is telling them that beneath the surface calm of daily living is the struggle that goes on among invisible spiritual powers. The question we need to ask ourselves is, do we really believe that? Our battle is not against human forces but against the principalities and powers, the rulers of this world of darkness, the evil spirits in regions above (Ephesians 6:12). These evil rulers, satanic beings and evil princes of darkness are not people, but fallen angels over whom Satan has control. They are not fantasies; they are very real. We need only to look around and see how the drugs are tearing Americans’ throats open.

The pornography industry is colossal and it is in every city in the United States. Abortion or murder is accepted and legally protected in all parts of this great nation. Is there any doubt that these demons of Satan are active in these abominations that are crippling our nation? When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and follow the teachings of our Catholic Church, Satan becomes our arch-enemy. He is out to kill us, and we must remember that the Spirit within us is greater than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). Jesus is the only answer to our problems and he has won the victory over Satan for us. He is the one who will strengthen us and guard us against the evil one (2 Thess. 3:3). Let us in the Lord follow the teachings of the church with the same obedience and confidence that Paul had in the Thessalonians.


LUKE 20:27-38

The Sadducees were a group of conservative religious leaders who honored only the Pentateuch (Genesis to Deuteronomy). They did not believe in the resurrection of the dead because they could not find any mention of it in their first five books of the Old Testament. They tried to trick Jesus with a question that always bothered the Pharisees. Jesus answered their real question about resurrection after he addressed their other question on marriage. Jesus based his response on the writings of Moses. The Sadducees respected Moses so much that they honored only the books that dealt with him and his ancestors.

Jesus knew that they respected Moses and his answers upheld belief in the resurrection. Jesus’ answer on marriage didn’t mean that people will not recognize their spouses when they get to heaven; he meant that heaven is not an extension of life as we know it here on earth. Jesus talks about those who are counted worthy of being raised from the dead to heavenly life. We might ask ourselves: What does it mean to be worthy of being raised to heavenly life? We are told that if we believe in Jesus Christ, we shall not perish, rather we shall have eternal life (John 3:16).

Jesus told them they couldn’t compare what we have on earth with what we will have in heaven. He answered their question about “the resurrection” by showing that the writings of Moses proved that there is a resurrection. Moses’ God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This means that the Lord is some person’s God, which means that person is alive, not dead. God sees all men who believe in him as living children of him.

We need to ask ourselves this question: Do we believe in the resurrection? Will we rise from the dead like Jesus did? Will we someday be reunited in heaven with all of our loved ones who died before us? We are told in Scripture to confess with our lips and believe in our hearts that Jesus is Lord and then we are his children and we will be with him forever. The real question for the Sadducees was: “Is the Resurrection real?” God said “YES” when he said that all who believe in his Son will not die but live forever in heaven (John 3:16).



The first reading shows that hunger and thirst for God were much stronger than the fear of pain and death. The second reading calls us to stand rm in the teaching of scripture and the teachings of our beloved church. The gospel tells us that heaven is not an extension of life as we know it here on earth.

This week, let all who come in contact with you see that the message of justice and resurrection is alive in you. Let your prayers be heard in your home. Do not be afraid to give thanks and praise to God for something that happens to you in public. Look around and see where opportunities to witness are present. Your family will see and experience this courage and follow your example.

Thirty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time (October 30th) – Cycle C



FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?




(“For you love all things that are.”)

1. What two things is the whole universe like? Wisdom 11:22


2. What does God have on all and what can he do? Wisdom 11:23


3. What does God overlook and for what reason? Wisdom 11:23


4. Of what is God not unaware and for what does he give man space? Wisdom 12:10


5. What does God call men everywhere to do? Acts 17:30


6. What does God do to all things that are, what does he loathe, and for what reason? Wisdom 11:24


7. What is the Lord to all people and toward all his works? Psalm 145:9


8. Unless God does what, how can anything remain or be preserved? Wisdom 11:25


9. What does God do to all things, for what reason, and of what is he a lover? Wisdom 11:26


10. What is in all things? Wisdom 12:1


11. What does the Spirit of the Lord ll and what does he know? Wisdom 1:7


Personal – How have I accepted God’s love for me? In what way have I overlooked the sins of a family member, friend, or co-worker and given them an opportunity to repent and thus show my love for them?




(“We pray for you always.”)

1. Who is speaking and to whom is he speaking in 2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:2? 2 Thessalonians 1:1


2. What do they do always for the church and for what reason? 2 Thessalonians 1:11


3. How does God fulfill every honest intention and work of faith? 2 Thessalonians 1:11


4. Who begets (brings forth) in you any measure of desire or achievement? Philippians 2:13


5. Who may be glorified in you and you in him and how is this done? 2 Thessalonians 1:12


6. On the question of whose coming, and of who is being gathered with him, how is Paul addressing the brothers? 2 Thessalonians 2:1


7. What two things is he begging them not to let happen so easily? 2 Thessalonians 2:2


8. What three ways is he saying not to be swayed into believing that the day of the Lord is here? 2 Thessalonians 2:2


9. How is the Lord going to come again and what will happen to those who have died in Christ? 1 Thessalonians 4:13-16


10. Personal – In what way have you been preparing for the Lord’s second coming?


11. What will happen to those who are living, the survivors, and what are we to do with this message? 1 Thessalonians 4:17




(“The Son of Man has come to search out and save what is lost”)

1. As Jesus entered Jericho who was there, what was his name, what position did he hold, and what economic status did he hold? Luke 19:1-2


2. Who came to be baptized by John the Baptist and what did he tell them? Luke 3:12-14


3. Which one of Jesus’ disciples was a tax collector? Matthew 9:9


4. What was Zacchaeus doing, why did he want to do this and what prevented him from doing this? Luke 19:3


5. What did he rst do and when that did not work, what did he then do? Luke 19:4


6. What did Jesus do when he came to the spot where Zacchaeus was and what did he say to him? Luke 19:5


7. How did Zacchaeus descend and how did he welcome Jesus? Luke 19:6


8. When this was observed what did everyone begin to murmur? Luke 19:7


9. What did Zacchaeus do and what did he say to the Lord? Luke 19:8


10. What did Jesus say to him? Luke 19:9


11. Why did the Son of Man come? Luke 19:10


Personal – In what way have you repaid anyone you may have defrauded? In what way has Jesus come to search you out and save you personally?



FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 145:1-2, 8-11, 13-14

(“The Lord is good to all.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 145:1-2, 8-11, 13-14.
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?




WISDOM 11:22-12:1

This passage forces us to reflect on how much we are loved and protected by God. We are being told that this awesome universe is like being compared to a small particle used for weighing on sensitive scales. In God there is so much more and yet our universe is as precious to him as early morning dew. We hear about a God who is so majestic that even though he can do all things, he loves being merciful. Wisdom is so precious because it helps us to understand God’s incredible love for us.

God doesn’t miss anything, he sees our failures, and yet he constantly encourages us to go forward. He gives us so much room to repent and to enjoy his kingdom (Mark 1:15). It is so hard for man to understand God’s love, because God loves everything that he has created. God does not make junk, we are not junk, and God will never make junk. That is why he loves us always. God loves us so much he gave us his only Son, so that all who believe in him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). Do you really believe that he loved you so much he died knowing that you would be sinning (Romans 5:8)? He did.

Wisdom is fear of the Lord, not a fear of punishment but fear of offending his love and goodness because true love drives out fear (1 John 4:18). God’s love for us is complete in Jesus. He gives us his command, love one another as I have loved you (John 15:12). Wisdom is knowing that the Spirit of the Lord is given for all men and that the Spirit will instruct us in everything (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit is all-embracing and this means that the arms of Christ were stretched out wide on the cross of Calvary so that you and I can have the incredible privilege of choosing life or death. The wise person will choose life; the fool will choose death.



Paul is now encouraging the people because they had been going through a time of turmoil and confusion about the “last days.”The thought of the world coming to an end and Jesus coming back led many to give up the responsibilities of daily life. Some of the people did not want to go back to work, some did not want to continue to meet their financial obligations. Paul is telling them in this passage that their life and the way that they live is a reflection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Paul also tells them that God calls us to live in honor and have faith in his promise. His promise is that all who believe in him will not perish but instead have eternal life with him.

Paul goes on to tell them that the day which the Lord is to come back is not yet known, but his Spirit will be within us until then (John 14:26). We hear today many new ways to “talk the talk” and “walk the walk.” We hear and see quite a bit of the “new age” theology which calls us to become gods unto ourselves. We really need to reflect on the seduction of the age that Paul spoke about in verse three. When the Church marries the age or times, the church quickly becomes a widow.

Paul is telling them, as he is telling us, that there is only one way to eternal life, and that is through Jesus; and that only God knows when the end days are near. Our faith depends only on the living presence of the power of God in our lives. We are to live our lives as if this is the day that Jesus comes to take us home to the Father.


LUKE 19:1-10

Once again we see Jesus being the classic minister. Jesus knew full well what the local townspeople thought about tax collectors and knew that his actions would provoke a tremendous amount of controversy. He wanted them to love the sinner and hate the sin, but not hate the sinner as well as the sin. He chose to show them that by having dinner with Zacchaeus he was open to healing a person’s heart no matter what his station in life.

Zacchaeus knew that the people thought that he was a crook as most tax collectors were in those days (Luke 5:27- 32). Zacchaeus was wealthy but not happy. He probably was very lonely because he had chosen a way that made him an outcast. He no doubt had heard of Jesus and his love for outcasts like tax collectors and sinners like himself and wondered if he had any “good news” for him. Despised and hated by the local townspeople, Zacchaeus was reaching out for the love and acceptance of God. One has to remember that Zacchaeus was small in stature and he took a great risk to be seen alone in public. He could not see over the crowd so he finally found a tree that he could climb and see Jesus as he walked by.

Can you imagine the thrill that went through Zacchaeus when he heard Jesus’ invitation? He literally jumped out of the tree in joy and shock and proclaimed to the community that he was a changed man. He knew that Jesus was risking the rejection of the crowd by saying that he wanted to stay at the home of a known sinner. Jesus does that today with you and me. He tells us that he wants to stay in our house, which means in our hearts. Zacchaeus then made a decision; he decided to love because he had experienced the incredible gift of God’s love. Because of this love, he then decided to give half of his goods to the poor. In his restitution, he went far beyond what the law required. Only if robbery was a pre-meditated violent act of destruction was a fourfold giving back necessary (Exodus 22:1).

Zacchaeus showed that he was a changed man by his actions not just his words. Zacchaeus was a man who had repented because of love, not force. A man or woman who repents changes completely. Repentance is not only saying “I am sorry.” Zacchaeus’ testimony would have been completely worthless if it was not backed up by deeds. We should reflect on today’s story and see where, in our lives, repentance is needed.

Like Zacchaeus, we need to have Jesus reside in our hearts in order to love and be loved (John 15:12). This passage ends with Jesus telling us that he came to search out and save the lost. Zacchaeus was a Jew, a child of Abraham, and the Lord came to him and brought him back into the kingdom. We have that same loving God who is always ready to come to our “house” and bring us home, too.



The first reading tells us how much we are loved and protected by God in spite of our selfishness. The second reading shows that the way we live is a reflection of what we believe. The Gospel demonstrates through the story about Zacchaeus that actions speak louder than words. Repentance means change.

Pick one specific bad habit and in prayer and faith work on it for this week. Testimony of words without action is worthless, so share your progress with someone special. The way that you talk to your children tells that they are either special or a burden. Let your family know that you are submitting yourself to the Lord and are giving him permission to change you. It works. He changed Zacchaeus and he wants to change you.

Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time (October 23rd) – Cycle C



FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?




(“He who serves God willingly is heard.”)

1. Of what is our God a God, and of what does he not know? Sirach 35:12


2. What does he not accept? Deuteronomy 10:17, 2 Chronicles 19:7


3. Why does God have no favorites? Job 34:19


Personal – How do you treat those in your family, at church, or at work without showing favoritism? Why do you think you should do this?


4. Whose cry does God hear? Sirach 35:13


5. Toward what two people is God not deaf? Sirach 35:14


6. Whose cry does the Lord hear and who should we not wrong? Exodus 22:21-22


7. Who does the Lord hear and what reaches the heavens? Sirach 35:16


8. What does the prayer of the lowly pierce and what does it not do till it reaches its goal? Sirach 35:17


9. What does the prayer of the lowly not do till the Most High responds? Sirach 35:18


10. What does the Most High judge do and who does he affirm? Sirach 35:18


Personal – In what way has God answered your prayer with justice, and in what way were you affirmed by it?




(“The Lord stood by my side and gave me strength.”)

1. Who is speaking, and to whom is he speaking in 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18? 2 Timothy 1:1-2?


2. What did he say was happening to him and was near him? 2 Timothy 4:6


3. What has he fought, what has he finished, and what has he kept? 2 Timothy 4:7


4. To what is Paul to bear witness? Acts 20:24


5. From now on what awaits Paul, how does he refer to the Lord, and what will happen to him and all who have looked for the Lord’s appearing with eager longing? 2 Timothy 4:8


6. What happened to Paul at his first hearing of his case in court and what did he not do? 2 Timothy 4:16


7. Who stood by his side and what did he give him? 2 Timothy 4:17


8. What are we not to do and for what reason? Matthew 10:19-20


9. How was Paul saved from the lion’s jaws? 2 Timothy 4:17


10. What will the Lord continue to do and where will he bring him? 2 Timothy 4:18


11. Who is to get all the glory? 2 Timothy 4:18, Romans 16:27


Personal – What is your reaction when friends or family abandon you when you stand up for your faith? Where do you look for your strength in a crisis? Hebrews 13:6




(“O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”)

1. To whom did the Lord address this parable? Luke 18:9


2. What do the self-righteous do and what does God know? Luke 16:15


3. What two men went up to the temple to pray and how was the Pharisee’s head when he prayed? Luke 18:10-11


4. For what did the Pharisee say he was thankful, who did he say he was not like, and what did he say he did? Luke 18:11-12


5. What three things are important in the eyes of the Lord without neglecting the other? Matthew 23:23


6. What did the tax collector do, and what did he say to the Lord? Luke 18:13


7. What did Jesus say about the self-righteous and the sinner? Matthew 9:13


8. How did the tax collector go home and how did the Pharisee go home? Luke 18:14


9. How do we become justified? Romans 5:8-11


10. What will happen to everyone who exalts himself and what will happen to everyone who humbles himself? Luke 18:14


11. Who is the greatest among you? Matthew 23:11-12


Personal – In what way do you approach the Lord? Examine your prayer life. What do you say to the Lord? In what way do you compare yourself with others? How do you really see yourself? Remember, God reads the heart. (Luke 16:15)



FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 34:2-3, 17-19, 23

(“When the just cry out, the Lord hears them.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 34:2-3, 17-19, 23.
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?




SIRACH 35:12-14, 16-18

This passage stresses that our God does not have favorites. His love for the rich is the same as it is for the poor. It is the same for the young and old, the healthy ones or the sickly ones. His love falls equally on the righteous and the unrighteous. Our God will not, under any circumstances, take a bribe (Deuteronomy 10:17). A just God is one who loves us because of who we are, not because of what we do. He loves the weak, yet he hears the cry of the oppressed. He always responds to our call for support.

Our calls of help do not fall on deaf ears (John 6:37). We are to be persistent, like the widow, in our prayers to our loving God. The petitions of all who call out to God are heard. He knows each one of us by name and knew us when we were formed in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139). We are to respond to his answer with a contrite heart and humble spirit (Psalm 51). Many times we are tempted to give up and forget our petitions and become angry. We must remember that we have a God whose ways are not our ways.

Our God is a just God who will answer us in his time and we must not become anxious (Philippians 4:6,7), rather we must become joyful and give him thanks and praise. A just God loves to bring freedom, and his justice brings love and peace. We need to reject on this Scripture and remember that the God of Justice is the God of Love and the God of Love is Jesus Christ, our Lord, and Savior.


2 TIMOTHY 4:6-8, 16-18

Paul is exhorting Timothy to keep his faith active and to be ready to take over as a leader rather than as an assistant. Paul tells Timothy that his time is running out and it won’t be long before he, Paul, is in heaven. Paul was going to face death just like he was facing living in this world and that was with courage in the Lord. We need to ask ourselves some of these questions that Paul probably did. Is your life preparing you for death? Do you have a deep expectation of meeting Christ when you die?

We can all breathe a little easier because the “good news” is that salvation is not just for spiritual giants like Paul, Moses, or even Timothy. Rather it is for those who confess with their lips and believe in their heart that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:10). Paul gave us these words to encourage us to go on, to keep up the good fight. He wanted us to train and become even better. No matter what the difficulty, we must always remember that the Spirit within us is greater than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4), and we must keep fighting and continue in the race.

We will realize completely when we are finally at home in heaven with our wonderful Lord Jesus, that the fight and the race were well worth it. Timothy probably did not feel all that strong, with his leader in prison and his church still reeling from exhaustion and expansion. We need to trust in Jesus, as Paul did, and our Lord will use our repentant hearts in a powerful way. We need to remember that God always gives us the strength to do whatever he has commanded, and he has commanded us to go forth and preach his Word. He has called us and commissioned us to evangelize the world (Matthew 28:19).


LUKE 18:9-14

This passage deals with the quality of our prayer life and not the quantity of it. When we come to pray before God, the question is not, “Am I as good as my fellow men?” The question is, “Am I as good as God?” True prayer can only come from setting our lives beside the life of God. We may do well to remember that we are one of a great legion of sinning, suffering, sorrowing humanity, that occasionally comes to kneel before the throne of God’s mercy. Before we can say, “I am glad I am not like that pompous Pharisee,” let us all remember that no man who is proud can pray. It is told that the gate of heaven is so low that no one can enter it unless one is on one’s knees.

In today’s Gospel, we see the men in the temple praying. The devout religious people were always in the temple at about 9:00 a.m., noon, and 3:00 p.m. These were the times when most of the community went up to the temple. The story deals with only two of them, one a highly respected church-goer called a Pharisee; the other man was called a tax collector, someone of poor social standing. The tax collector was a symbol of dishonesty, lying, and cheating. The Pharisee began telling God how much he was doing for him. The Pharisee did not really go to pray; he went to inform God how good he was. The tax collector, on the other hand, stood in the back of the temple and wouldn’t even lift his eyes up to God because he knew that he was a sinner. His prayer was very simple and very direct: “O God be merciful to me, the sinner.”

Let us not pray like the Pharisee, because self-righteousness is dangerous. Pride leads to sin, and the wages of sin are death (Romans 6:23). The tax collector’s prayer should be our prayer because Jesus hears our cry of unworthiness and repentance (Psalm 51:10). Let us call out to him to cleanse our heart and to give us a repentant spirit, and he will do that. Prayer is two persons – God and man – telling each other how much they love each other. God loves you and wants you to be a prayerful person.



The first reading tells us that God does not have any favorites. The second reading reveals that we should update our spiritual inventory on a regular basis. The Gospel shows that the quality of a prayer life is far more important than its quantity.

Let us spend some quiet time alone with the Lord every day this week and listen very carefully to his plan for our life (John 10:10). God wants each one of us to have an abundant grace-filled life. He wants us to call out to him in deep sincerity, and he will heal us. Let your family see you as one in prayerful communion with God.

Twenty-Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time (October 16th) – Cycle C


By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn


Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.


FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?


2. From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?




(“As long as Moses kept his hands raised up, Israel had the better of the fight.”)

1. What did Amalek do at Rephidim? Exodus 17:8


2. Who was Joshua and what tribe was he from? Numbers 13:8,16


3. What did Moses tell Joshua to do the following day? Exodus 17:9


4. What did  Moses say he would be doing and what would he have in his hand? Exodus 17:9


5. What did  Joshua do and who climbed to the top of the hill with Moses? Exodus 17:10


6. What happened when  Moses had his hands raised up and what happened when he let his hands rest? Exodus 17:11


7. When Moses’ hands got tired, what two things did Hur and Aaron do for him? Exodus 17:12


8. How long did they do this? Exodus 17:12


9. What happened on another occasion when Moses extended his hands to the Lord? Exodus 9:29


10. What did Joshua do with Amalek? Exodus 17:13


Personal – In what way have you been fighting a spiritual battle and had a family member or a friend support you, or in what way have you supported or held their hands up to the Lord in their battle? Where have your hands been lifted during physical, spiritual, or emotional battles?




(“I charge you to preach the Word.”)

1. Who is speaking and to whom is he speaking in 2 Timothy 3:14? Timothy 1:1-2


2. What two things have we done that for our part we must remain faithful? 2 Timothy 3:14


3. Who is our teacher? Matthew 23:10


4. How does he teach us today? John 14:26


5. What  did Timothy know since infancy and how was it passed on  to him? 2 Timothy 3:15, 2 Timothy 1:5


6. Of what is the sacred Scripture the source, and what does it  lead to through faith in Jesus Christ? 2 Timothy 3:15


7. What is all Scripture, and for what is it useful? 2 Timothy 3:16


8. What makes the man of God fully competent and equipped for every good work? 2 Timothy 3:16-17


9. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is coming to do what? What does he charge us to do? 2 Timothy 4:1-2


10. With what are we to stay whether convenient or inconvenient, what three things are we to do, and what are we to never lose? 2 Timothy 4:2


11. What are we to teach? Matthew 28:20


Personal – What have you been teaching your children, grandchildren, friends, co-workers, etc? Have you personally been called to teach? What do you see as the difference between worldly teaching and spiritual teaching? John 14:18-26




(“Will not God then do justice to his chosen who call out to him day and night?”)

1. Of what did Jesus tell his disciples the necessity, how did he tell them, and what did he tell them not to lose? Luke 18:1


2. To what did his disciples, the women in their company, and Mary (the mother of Jesus) devote themselves? Acts 1:13-14


3. What did Jesus say about a judge? Luke 18:2


4. Who came to the judge, and what did she say? Luke 18:3


5. What was she doing to him, and why did he settle in her favor? Luke 18:5, Luke 11:8


6. What did the Lord say in Luke 18:6-7?


8. What did he say about justice and about delaying over them? Luke 18:7


9. What did Jesus say God would do? Luke 18:8


10. About what did Jesus ask his disciple when the Son of Man comes? Luke 18:8


11. When the Son of Man comes with what will he come, who will accompany him, and how will he repay each man? Matthew 16:27


Personal – How do you combat the evil that is around you? How is God speaking to you personally in this passage regarding your own prayer life?




(“He is beside you at your right hand.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 121:1-8

What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?


How can you apply this to your life?




EXODUS 17:8-13

This passage clearly shows how tenacity and steadfastness win the day for Israel. The Amalekites were descendants of Amalek, a grandson of Esau. They were a fierce nomadic nation or tribe who lived and controlled the caravan routes between Egypt and Arabia in the southeast desert region of the Dead Sea. They conducted frequent raids on other settlements and many times they killed simply for pleasure. No insult to an Israelite could be greater than calling him “a friend of Amalek.”

The Amalekites saw Moses and his rag-tag band of followers and thought this would be a chance for some fun and profit. They did not know that these people were being led by God, and the wrath of God was about to be spent upon them. Moses commissions Joshua to make the battle preparations and tells him that he, Aaron, and Hur will be positioned on top of a nearby hill. Joshua was the great leader who brought God’s people into the promised land after Moses died. He gained tremendous experience for future battles, especially against the Canaanites.

The incredible stamina and persistence displayed by Moses in keeping his hands raised, with the support of Aaron and Hur, resulted in turning the tide of the battle. It is the courage and example of this one man that inspired a tired band of followers in the hot barren desert to turn a certain defeat into a stunning upset of a victory. We need to look at our spiritual leaders in our churches and help them by supporting them too. We can be like Aaron and Hur and hold them up as they lead us in battle. We can really be warriors of the Lord by taking on some of the responsibilities of the parish community.

We can become strong, committed prayer warriors; and finally, we can offer some life-giving words of encouragement when the battle seems to rage in full fury. Our spiritual leaders need us to be like Aaron and Hur and in faith, we need to call forth the spiritual giants like Moses from among our midst. The God of Moses is also our God, too. Let us persevere in battle and, like Moses, we too shall be lifted up in victory.


2 TIMOTHY 3:14-4:2

Timothy was faced with “watering” down his doctrine of faith. False teachers were trying to put pressure on him and the pressures of a growing ministry were heavy upon his spirit. Timothy’s hometown of Lystra was where Paul was stoned and left for dead (Acts 14:19). Timothy was undergoing pressure, not only for being young and inexperienced but also because Paul was his principal teacher.

Paul exhorts him to hold on, look to his past and hold to the basic teaching about Jesus that are eternally true. Today we are caught up with many false teachers who are trying to “waterdown” the Gospel and many of us are so busy, we don’t even protest. We need to spend time every day thinking about the foundations of our faith and the great truths on which we build our lives.

Timothy was a second-generation Christian and it was not because an evangelist preached a great sermon; it was because he was taught the holy scriptures when he was a child. The parents’ work to teach the child should never be replaced by an evangelist or religious teacher. The teaching of the child by the parent is a sacred duty and we, as parents, should look to the church to help us fulfill this tremendous privilege.

We need to realize the Bible is not a collection of stories, fables, myths, or merely human ideas about God. It is not just a human book. God revealed his plan to godly men through the power of the Holy Spirit–men who then wrote down his message for his people (2 Peter 1:20,21). We believe that even though they used their own minds, talents, language, and style, they wrote what God inspired them to write.

Scripture is God’s inspired Word, and we should read it and apply it to our lives. We can clearly see God speaking to us through his church which speaks in accordance with his holy Scripture. Jesus told us when he was tempted in the desert that he began his defense with “Scripture.” God’s Word will set us free today as it did yesterday and will forever and ever.


LUKE 18:1-8

Jesus began this passage by telling his disciples a story to bring home the power of persevering in their prayer life. He really wanted them to realize that all prayer is answered and they must not get discouraged and quit. The judge in this story was not a Jewish judge. Most ordinary Jewish problems were taken before the elders, not into public courts unless a special situation arose. A Jewish court had three judges, one for the defendant, one for the court, and one that was neutral. The judge in this story was probably appointed by Herod or the Romans, and they were well known as the “Robber Judges.” He kept this woman coming back so many times because he expected her to pay a bribe. A widow symbolized the poor and defenseless, and the only weapon she had was persistence. In the end, fearing his loss of reputation, the judge was worn down; and the persistent widow won her case.

To be persistent in prayer does not mean endless repetition of long prayer sessions. Constant prayer means keeping our requests before him as we live for him day by day, always believing he will answer us. God may delay, but he always has a reason for his delay; we must not confuse delay with neglect. As we, like the widow, persist in our prayer we grow in faith and hope. Our character and our faith are direct indications of the intensity of our prayer life.

We need to reflect on today’s story and realize that if an evil judge can be worn down by the persistence of a defenseless widow, how much more will a person who persists in prayer be heard and rewarded by such a loving God as ours? We are told in scripture to call out to Jesus and he will never turn us away (John 6:37). The prayers of a righteous man have great power (James 5:16). Praying is talking to God, and meditating is listening to God, so be persistent in your praying and be persistent in your listening and you will grow tremendously in faith, hope, and love.



In the first reading, we see the courage of Moses to change defeat into victory over the Amalekites. Then we hear Timothy being challenged to draw on his childhood family training and Scripture when a crisis threatens. In the Gospel, we see the widow persevere and finally wear the judge down and win.

This week, let us read God’s Word to someone who cannot read. This could be a small child, a handicapped person, or an elderly person in a rest home. Share with that person how God has protected you when you thought the battle was lost; and because of God, you also won.