Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (January 9th) – 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?




(“Here is my servant whom I uphold.”)

l. Fill in the blanks in the following scripture: “Here is my ______ whom I uphold, my  ______ with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my ___________; he shall bring forth _____________ to the nations” Isaiah 42:1


2. To whom do the following scriptures refer? Luke 1:38, 48; John 12:26; Acts 3:13; Acts 4:29-30


Personal – Do you see yourself as a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ in your home or at work? Share how you are a servant of Christ.


3. Who are the chosen ones? Read the following scriptures:

1 Chronicles 16:13 ________, Tobit 13:11 __________, Psalm 89:3-4 _______________, Psalm 106:23 _______________, Ephesians 1:3-5 __________________.


Personal – Do you feel you are among the chosen ones of God?


4. In the following scriptures, who are receiving the Spirit or have the Spirit of God working through them? 2 Samuel 23:1-2 ____________, Matthew 3:16 ______________, John 20:19-22 ______________, Acts 8:14-19_______________.


Personal – Do you have the power of the Holy Spirit working in your life?  If not, read Matthew 7:7-8 and see what you must do to receive this power.


5. In the following scriptures, who brings forth justice to the nations? Deuteronomy 10:17-18 ___________________, Psalm 9:8-9 _______________, Acts 17:31 ___________________.


6. In what way was this prophecy in Isaiah 42:1-4 fulfilled? Matthew 12:16-21


7. Whom has God grasped by the hand, formed, and set as a covenant of the people? Isaiah 42:6


8. Whom has he made a light to the nations, and what are we to do? Isaiah 42:6-7


Personal – Are you a light to others? Do those in your family, your work and your environment see the love of Christ shining out of you?  If you are yielding to the Spirit of God dwelling in you others will see the light.




(“I begin to see how true it is that God shows no partiality.”)

1. Who was addressing the people, and what did he say? Acts 10:34


2. In the following scriptures, what does God’s Word say about showing partiality?

Leviticus 19:15 _________________________________________,

2 Chronicles 19:7 _______________________________________,

Wisdom 6:7 ______________________________________________.


3. What must we do to become acceptable to God? Acts 10:35


4. What does it mean to fear God? Daniel 6:27, Isaiah 8:13, Malachi 2:5


5. Through whom is the good news proclaimed, and who is the Lord of all? Acts 10:36


6. What was reported all over Judea about Jesus, and where did it begin? Acts 10:37-38


7. What was the baptism John preached? Matthew 3:11 Acts 19:4


8. Who anointed Jesus, and with what? Acts 10:38


9. Did God intend for us to be anointed with the Holy Spirit? John 14:14-17


10. What is one of the functions of the Holy Spirit? John 14:25-26


11. What did Jesus go about doing, and who was with him? Acts 10:38


Personal – When you receive the Holy Spirit, do you also receive the power to go about doing good works and healing as Jesus did? Is this evident in your life?




(“…He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”)       

1. With what were the people filled, and what were they asking? Luke 3:15


2. What did John tell the people? Acts 13:25


3. With what did John say he was baptizing? With what two things did John say the One mightier than he would baptize? Luke 3:16


4. What happened to the disciples on the day of Pentecost? Acts 2:3-4


5. What does fire do? 1 Corinthians 3:13-16


Personal    How have you been baptized by fire?


6. Who were baptized, and what were they doing? Luke 3:21


7. What opened up, Who descended upon Jesus, and how was it done? Luke 3:21-22


8. What did Jesus say we will receive when the Holy Spirit comes upon us? Acts 1:8


Personal – What is the evidence of the Holy Spirit in your life?


9. What did the voice from heaven say when the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus? Luke 3:22


10. How is God pleased with us? Hebrews 13:16


Personal – What have you done that has pleased the Father this week?




(“The voice of the Lord is power;”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 29:1-4, 9-11.

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


How can you apply this to your life?




ISAIAH 42:1-4, 6-7

This week’s reading from Isaiah comes from a section sometimes called Second Isaiah (Chapters 40-55) and is generally considered to have been written by an unknown poet who prophesied near the end of the Babylonian exile.  In 520 B.C. the city of Jerusalem fell, the walls and palaces were destroyed and the sacred temple burned. King Zedikiah and the rest of the population were marched to Babylon in chains.

From these chapters come the great messianic oracles known as the Song of the Servant. In each song a different viewpoint of the mysterious “servant” is given. The destiny of suffering and glorification is fulfilled in the passion and glorification of Jesus Christ.

Isaiah is calling upon a figure, who represents Israel, and yet still addressed as “her.”  The “servant” is both a single individual and a nation as a collective individual. He talks about the qualities of the past, and he makes his “servant” very much a key figure of the future.

Isaiah points out that the servant’s role is not limited to Israel, but would become universal. He saw his people in chains and exiled to Babylonia, which was one thousand miles away from Judah. The need for a messiah was of great importance, and the hope of being restored to their lost homeland was in great danger of being completely demolished. The “servant” is being described as different from other leaders, not relying on military might or upon treaties with other nations. He will not be a victorious warrior or king, nor like other prophets shouting out their warnings. What the servant is will speak much louder than his words. The servant will be empowered by the same “Spirit” that rushed upon David when he was anointed king by Samuel (1 Samuel 16:13). Isaiah exhorts the people to look to the servant as God’s chosen one.


ACTS 10:34-38

In this passage, Peter is preaching to the crowd that God shows absolutely no partiality.   We see this truth being reaffirmed constantly in the Old Testament.  The Lord shows no partiality, nor does he fear the famous or powerful (Lev. 19:15 and Wis. 6:7).  God will have no part of activity like that.  Peter challenges his listeners to fear the Lord and act upright, which means to be in reverence and awe of the Lord and to follow his commandments.  We are told that fear of the Lord is to hate evil (Proverb 8:13).

Peter tells the crowd that God has sent to all the people of Israel a Messiah, in Whom he baptizes people in the power of the Holy Spirit.  He preached that Jesus is Lord of all,  a message that still is being presented today to a waiting,  hungry world. The Good News began when John baptized people in the name of repentance.  Jesus was baptized by God in the power of the Holy Spirit.

We have been anointed with the same power and Spirit as Jesus.  Jesus went forth doing good works and healing the sick. Peter’s message is very much alive today as we see in our newspapers and television how bribes, fear of the powerful, and partiality to favored people can be very destructive to our society. We are called to go forth in the power of the same Spirit and do good works and heal the sick in the name of Jesus (Acts 1:8). Jesus wants us to carry on through word and sacrament (Baptism and Confirmation), and to be witnesses to the world that he is alive here and now.


LUKE 3:15-16, 21-22

In today’s Gospel we see a prophet bursting upon the scene, and the people becoming highly agitated.  It was well known that there had not been a prophet in Israel for many years, and it was widely believed that when the Messiah would come, prophecy would reappear (Joel 3:1-2).

John looked and spoke like the prophets of old. His message was direct and hard. He told the people to share what they had with those who needed it, and whatever your job is, do it the best way you can.  John had no time to comfort those who lived careless or selfish lives. He was calling the people to right living. He told them to turn from their sins to avoid punishment and then turn to God for his blessing. This is a message for all times and all places. John spoke with urgency because he was preparing the people for the coming Messiah.

John’s baptism with water symbolized the washing away of sins. Jesus’ baptism by fire (Holy Spirit) includes the power needed to do God’s will. The church received baptism of fire on Pentecost when the Holy Spirit in the form of tongues of fire came upon the believers.  They were then empowered to proclaim Jesus’ resurrection in many languages. The baptism of fire also symbolizes the power of the Holy Spirit in bringing God’s judgment on those who refuse to repent.

Jesus in the true sense of humility chose not to be baptized in a big service in Jerusalem. He chose to be with simple people who were repenting. As Jesus prayed, God spoke to him and confirmed his decision to go forth in his ministry. God was breaking into human history through Jesus Christ. Jesus’ mission on earth was to identify with our humanity and sin. He began his journey to Calvary for us on that very special day.



The first reading reveals to us that the Messiah is to be a “servant.”  The second reading reveals that God has no favorites. In the Gospel, God speaks to us, even today, with his voice from heaven, “This is my beloved Son, listen to him.”

This week be a servant to your family, a friend, or to someone in the community who is sick.  Be available, be specific, be consistent, and be ready to see the joy of Christ in their eyes as you live what you believe. Let the joy of the Father be reflected in the way you love others.  “You are his beloved child, and he is well pleased with you.”

Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (January 2nd) – 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?




(“But upon you the Lord shines.”)

l. To what are the Israelites being called, whose light has come, and what shines upon the Israelites? Isaiah 60:1


2. How did the glory of the Lord appear in the following scriptures?

Exodus 16:7, 10

Exodus 24:16, 17

Leviticus 9:6, 23, 24

Ezekiel 3:12-13

Luke 2:9


Personal – In your life, in what way has “the glory of the Lord” appeared to you?


3. What covers the earth and the unbelievers? Isaiah 60:2


4. Upon whom does the Lord shine, and what appears over them? Isaiah 60:2


5. Fill in the blank: Nations shall walk by your _____________ and kings by your shining radiance. Isaiah 60:3


6. Who is the light? John 8:12


7. Why must we raise our eyes, and who comes to the light? Isaiah 60:4


8. Who shall be radiant, whose heart shall overflow, and what will happen to the sea and the nations? Isaiah 60:5


9. What will the camels do, and from where will they come? Isaiah 60:6


10. What shall they bear, and what will they be proclaiming? Isaiah 60:6


Personal – In what way is the light of Christ shining through you in your family, your work, and your environment? Are people drawn to you because they see that light within you?




(“In Christ Jesus the Gentiles are now co-heirs with the Jews.”)

1. Who heard of the ministry which God gave Paul, and for whose regard? Ephesians 3:2, Ephesians 2:11


2. What was revealed? Ephesians 3:3


3. What was unknown to men in former ages? Ephesians 3:4-5


4. Who has revealed this mystery, and to whom was this mystery revealed? Ephesians 3:5


5. Read the following scriptures: John 14:26, Acts 11:12, 1 Corinthians 2:13


Personal – Do you listen each day for the Holy Spirit’s instructions for you? What has he taught you as you have been reading his word? Remember to pray before you read God’s word, asking the Holy Spirit to teach you and give you wisdom, knowledge, and obedience to follow his plan for your life.


6. Who were some of the holy apostles and prophets, and by whom were they sent? Isaiah 1:1, Jeremiah 1:1, John 1:35-50, Romans 1:1


7. What is the mystery revealed? Ephesians 3:6-8


8. How do the Gentiles and the Jews become co-heirs? Ephesians 3:6


9. Whom has God commissioned to preach the Gospel? Ephesians 3:6 Matthew 28:18-20


Personal – In what way have you ever felt called to teach or share God’s Word with others? A good beginning is to share with your spouse, children or a close friend how the Lord has touched you in his Word or from the homily on Sunday.




(“They prostrated themselves and did him homage.”)

1. Where was Jesus born, who was king at that time, and who arrived from the east? Matthew 2:1


2. Read the following scriptures: Daniel 2:27 and Daniel 4:4.


According to these verses, are those who read the stars able to know God’s plan for their lives?


3. Who is the only sign we follow? Isaiah 7:14 Luke 11:30


4. For whom were the astrologers searching, and what did they observe? Matthew 2:2


5. How did King Herod react, and who reacted along with him? Matthew 2:3


6. Whom did King Herod summon, and what did he inquire of them? Matthew 2:4


7. What did the chief priest and scribes tell Herod, and to what prophet were they referring? Matthew 2:5, Micah 1:1 5:1


8. What is the ruler to do? Matthew 2:6


9. Read the following and write out your favorite verse: John 10:11, John 10:14, John 10:16, Acts 20:28, 1 Peter 2:25, 1 Peter 5:3-4, Revelation 7:17


Personal – Share the scripture you chose and tell how it has affected your life.


10. What did King Herod find out from the astrologers? Matthew 2:7


11. Where did he send them, and what were his instructions to them? Matthew 2:8


12. What was the astrologer’s reaction to the star as they followed it? Matthew 2:10


Personal – Have you had any insight to God’s light in his Word? What is your reaction to this?


13. When the astrologers found the child with his mother, Mary, what did they do? Is this in fulfillment of the Old Testament prophesy? Matthew 2:11, Isaiah 60:5-6


Personal – Have you bowed before the Lord? How have you prostrated yourself in homage before our Holy God? In his presence in the Eucharist, have you knelt to do him homage, or do you do it just out of habit? Reflect on this.




(“For he shall rescue the poor man when he cries out.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 72:1-13.

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


How can you apply this to your daily spiritual life?




ISAIAH 60:1-6

This week’s reading from Isaiah comes from a section sometimes called Third Isaiah (Chapters 55-66), and is generally considered to be written by an unknown poet. The time of this passage is about 535 B.C. and it prophesies the role of the temple and offers to open its doors to all other nations. The invitation was given to the whole world to join the ranks of Israel as the Lord’s chosen people.

Isaiah is calling on the people to rise up in the splendor and radiance of the Lord (verse 1). He tells them that the glory of the Lord shines in them and through them (verse 3). He urges them to be confident in that love and they will become leaders of all nations and many from all nations will be drawn to them (verses 4-5).

Today we are being called to rise up and become symbols of light and hope. We are called to be a light to a world that is covered with much darkness. We can be a light to the world only as long as we walk in the light of Christ. Each one of us is called by the Psalmist (Psalm 119:105) to be a light unto each other’s path. We are being called today, as in the time of Isaiah, to let the glory of God’s light shine through all of us.


EPHESIANS 3:2-3,5-6

Paul wrote this letter while in prison awaiting trial before Nero. He reflects on his mission to the Gentiles (those who do not believe in the Jewish faith), and he speaks about his own conversion as being a great mystery of Christ.

Paul was on a journey to Damascus to persecute disciples of the Lord when suddenly a light flashed around him that seemed to come from heaven. He was challenged by the Lord to stop persecuting him and to come follow him. Paul did and his whole life changed. He uses that conversion experience to bring others to the Lord (Acts 9:3-9). He claimed his place as an apostle because he was an eyewitness to the Lord during his “metanoia” or conversion experience.

Paul gained a deeper understanding of God’s plan of salvation through Christ. He reveals to us in this letter that into his life had come the great secret of God. That secret was that the love and mercy and grace of God were meant not for the Jews alone, but for all mankind. When Paul met Christ on the road to Damascus there was a sudden flash of revelation that affected his whole life. That “metanoia” is open to all of us, and we are being called to bring to the world that same message. It was to the Gentiles that God sent Paul, to open their eyes that they might turn from darkness to light. We hear Paul stating very boldly that God’s love and mercy are given to all, Jews and Gentiles alike.


MATTHEW 2:1-12

We celebrate the feast of Epiphany, which means the visitation of the seekers or as they are often called, the Magi, and Christ’s manifestation of his glory to them. It was in Bethlehem, a little town six miles south of Jerusalem, that Jesus was born.

The name Bethlehem means “house of bread,” and the manger in which Jesus slept was used to feed the animals. It is significant that Jesus was born in a place called “house of bread,” as he chose to feed us with his Word and in his presence in the Eucharist. He calls himself “Living Bread,” in John 6:35-66, and we share his living bread in our liturgies in accordance with scripture (Luke 22:14-20), in churches throughout the world.

Bethlehem was where Jacob buried Rachel (Genesis 48:7) and it was there that Ruth married Boaz (Ruth 4:13). This city was the home of David (1 Sam. 16:1, 17:12, 20:6) and it was in Bethlehem that the Jews expected God’s Anointed One to come into the world (Micah 5:1-2). When Jesus was born, there came to Bethlehem seekers from the east to do him homage. The Magi were holy and wise men and were skilled in philosophy, medicine, natural sciences, soothsaying, and interpretation of dreams. Many later became members of a tribe of pagan priests in Persia and functioned much like the Levite priests in Israel.

About the same time that Jesus was born, the Roman poet, Virgil, was praising through his writings and poems the “savior of the world,” the emperor, Augustus Caesar of Rome. So it was to a waiting world that Jesus came and the astrologers from lands far away gathered at his cradle. It was the first sign and symbol of the world’s conquest by Jesus Christ.

Today many of the learned men and women are coming to praise the King of Kings, Jesus; but many are not. What about you? Is Jesus your King and are you bringing him your presence as a gift? We need to reflect on the gift given to all who believe in the Christ Child of Bethlehem. The gift is being co-heirs of his kingdom, members of the one body and sharers of the promise. Have we made someone feel like an unwanted stranger? Have we dared label anyone a foreigner, alien, outsider, or pagan? Have we welcomed all to our “manger scene?” Is the light in our hearts drawing others to him, as the star did in Bethlehem? The manifestation of the star’s brilliance spoke to the Magi of the entry of a King into the world. The glory of God’s love for all is called to be manifested in us through the power of the Holy Spirit and in the saving name of Jesus Christ.



Isaiah urges us to look at the glory of God being unfolded before us, and calls upon the people to rise up from the shackles of captivity. In Ephesians Paul describes God’s secret plan, and in Matthew we see the wise men overjoyed at the results of following the star.

This week, like the wise men or Magi, let us bring Jesus our gift. Yours might be a gift of joy or love, peace or patience, etc. Then you need to share this gift with someone in your family or work place. The wise men came in humility and left encouraged and full of hope. We can expect no less, when we bring Jesus our gift.

Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph (December 26th) – 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?




(“He who honors his father atones for sins.”)

l. Where does the Lord place a father over his children, and what does he confirm over sons?  Sirach 3:2


2. What happens to one who honors his father? Sirach 3:3


3. What do we store up when we revere our mother? Sirach 3:4


4. By what is the man gladdened who honors his father, and what happens when he prays?  Sirach 3:5


5. What will happen to him who reveres his father? Sirach 3:6, Exodus 20:12


6. What is he doing who brings comfort to his mother? Sirach 3:6


7. What are we to do, and what are we not to do when our father gets old? Sirach 3:12


8. To whom are we to listen, for what reason, and whom are we not to despise? Proverbs 23:22


9. How are we to treat our father, even if his mind fails? Sirach 3:13


10. What will not be forgotten, and as what will it serve? Sirach 3:14


Personal – In what ways do you listen to and honor both your earthly father and your heavenly Father?  In what ways has your earthly father become a burden to you in his old age?  Compare your relationship with your heavenly Father and your earthly father. Repent where it is necessary.




(“You children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord.”)

1. With what five things are we to clothe ourselves, and for what reason? Colossians 3:12-13


2. What are these five qualities called, according to Galatians 5:22?


3. What are we to do with one another, and what are we to do over any grievance we may have for another? Colossians 3:13


4. Why are we to forgive? Colossians 3:13


5. What did Jesus say as he was dying on the cross, and to whom was he speaking? Luke 23:34


6. In the Lord’s Prayer, what are we saying and what is the Father saying? Matthew 6:12-15


Personal – How have you sinned and received the forgiveness of God? In what way is that reflected by your forgiveness of others when they have hurt you?


7. What virtue do we put on over all the rest? Colossians 3:14


8. What must reign in our hearts, of what are we members, to what are we called, and to what must we dedicate ourselves? Colossians 3:15


9. What must dwell in us, how are we to treat one another, and how are we to sing gratefully to God? Colossians 3:16


10. Whatever we do, in speech or action, in whose name are we to do it, and to whom are we to give thanks? Colossians 3:17


11. How are husbands to act toward their wives, and how are wives to act toward their husbands? Colossians 3:18-19


12. How are children to act toward their parents, and how are fathers to act toward their children? Colossians 3:20-21


Personal – What do you think causes the most break-ups in the family today?  How do you think this can be remedied? In what ways are you obeying or disobeying what God says in Colossians 3:18-21. Reflect on this, and make changes where necessary. Remember, we receive grace from the sacrament of reconciliation.




(“Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”)

1. Where did Mary and Joseph go each year, and what did they do when Jesus was 12 years old? Luke 2:41-42


2. When Mary and Joseph were returning home, what did they not know? Luke 2:43


3. Where did they think Jesus was, what did they do, and where did they go when they did not find him? Luke 2:44-45


4. What is not the will of your heavenly Father? Matthew 18:14


5. Where did they find Jesus, what was he doing, and what was the reaction of all who heard him? Luke 2:46-47


6. Who instructs us in everything? John 14:26


Personal    What have you learned the last time you sat and listened to your teacher?


7. What was the reaction of Jesus’ parents when they saw him, and what did his mother say to him? Luke 2:48


8. What did Jesus say to his parents, and what was their understanding of it? Luke 2:49-50


9. What did Jesus do, what was he to his parents, and what did his mother do? Luke 2:51


10. Who are we to obey, and who does this please? Colossians 3:20


Personal – How have you advanced in wisdom and knowledge of God’s will for you in your personal life?




(“Happy are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 128:1-5.

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


How can you apply this to your life?




SIRACH 3:2-6, 12-14

Sirach was a pious and learned Jew who lived in the second century B.C.  He wrote a collection of sayings to help others live their lives in accordance with God’s Holy Word.  In today’s passage he speaks of family. He shows us that the family unit has been honored as the foundation of the human race.

The foundation of the family was traditionally the father and he had the place of honor. The father was given the right to be respected and obeyed by his family.  We see the mother also shares the authority with the father in the home. The authority of both parents in accordance with God’s Word is to be respected by the children.

This passage really applies very strongly to today’s families because the family structure is under a severe attack by Satan. Children who respect their parents are not only doing God’s will, but also are storing up spiritual rewards for themselves. Over the centuries it has been shown that children who respect their parents generally have children who will respect their parents.

We see that prayer is very important for a family’s growth and that all prayer is answered. The call to love, honor, and respect your parents carries with it the reward of your children’s care for you in your old age with love and respect, a long life thus becomes a sign of God’s blessing for those who follow his commands.

Children are called to give their aging parents loving care. The child who has learned to respect his parents is respecting God. No matter how feeble, mentally or physically, one’s parents may become, it is the children’s responsibility to care for them. This is not some social health care program’s slogan; this is in accordance with God’s Holy Word. God wants love, kindness, respect, honor, sacrifice, comfort, safety, etc.



Paul wrote this letter while imprisoned in Rome. He was told by a follower, named Epaphras, that recent converts to the Christian faith were being disturbed by false teachers. Paul’s letter spells out some very practical rules for the Christians; to clothe themselves with compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness and patience. Paul is telling them that these virtues must be secure in their hearts in order for the community to live out the Christian vision.

Forgiveness is one of the main virtues of a Christian. This is what separates us from the non-believers. God wiped out all our sins in Baptism and is constantly waiting to wash away the sins of a repentant sinner in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We also must imitate God and be willing to forgive a repentant brother or sister. Paul again shows Christ as the head of the body and the source of unity, harmony and peace. We hear that it is not enough to know the doctrines of Christ, but we must live Christ’s life, and our lives must be witnesses of good and bearing fruit.

Today, as then, we are called to help each member of the family of God. Paul deals with the family by telling the husband to “love your wife,” and wives to be subject to the spiritual authority of the husband. Children are called to obey their parents. This may sound common today, but in Paul’s time, wives had few rights and were often considered to be the property of the husband. Paul’s call to “love your wife” brings her into equality and a full sharing in the authority of the family. Paul also tells fathers not to provoke their children. The authority of a father comes from God, and this authority is to lead, to love, and to serve his family. A loving father leads his children by serving them in the name of the Lord.  A loving father puts on the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:2-5).


LUKE 2:41-52

According to God’s law, every male was required to go to Jerusalem three times a year for the great festivals of Unleavened Bread, Weeks, and Shelters (Deut. 16:16). In the spring the Passover was celebrated, followed immediately by the week-long feast of Unleavened Bread. Jesus has just reached the age of adulthood, so he did not spend a lot of time with his parents during the festival. The people traveled in caravans to the city and it was common for the women and children to travel at the front. A twelve year old boy could have been in either group, and probably Mary and Joseph assumed Jesus was with the other.

The caravan, however, left Jerusalem without Jesus, who was absorbed in his discussion with the religious leaders. He would have been eager to listen and ask probing questions. It was not his youth, but the depth of his thoughts that amazed the teachers. Mary searched frantically, and when she finally found him, she knew she had to let go of her child and let him become a man.

For parents, it is both sweet and painful to see our children as adults. But when the time comes to step back and let go, we must do so in spite of the hurt. Then our children can take flight and soar to the heights God intended for them.

This was the first hint that Jesus realized he was God’s Son. But even though he knew his real Father, he did not reject his earthly parents. God’s people do not reject family relationships or family responsibilities. If Jesus Christ obeyed his parents, how much more we should honor our parents.



The first reading emphasizes that the family unit has been honored as the foundation of the human race. The second reading shows false teachers are destructive to families and society. The Gospel reveals Jesus’ responsibility of obedience to his parents.

Today, let your suffering be for the Lord and for someone else in your family. Maybe you can offer your pain for someone who is on drugs or alcohol. Pick a family member, friends, or a co-worker, and pray for that person all week. Let your soul be pierced so that the heart of others will be laid bare and they will turn to God.

Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) (December 25th) – 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?




(“Your God is King”)

l. Whose feet are beautiful and what does he announce? Isaiah  52:7, Romans 10:15


2. What are we not to be afraid to cry out? Isaiah 40:9


3. Why do the watchmen shout for joy? Isaiah 52:8


4. What are the watchmen never to do? Isaiah 62:6


5. What are we to do together and for what reason? Isaiah 52:9


6. Why does God comfort and encourage us?  2 Corinthians 1:3-4


7. Whom does the Lord redeem?  Psalm 34:23


8. What has the Lord done with his holy arm and in the sight of  whom? Isaiah 52:10


9. What will all the ends of the earth see?  Isaiah 52:10


10. What is to be known upon the earth, among all nations? Psalm 67:3


Personal – To whom have you been announcing peace and good news? How do people see the joy and salvation of the Lord upon you?




(“Let all the angels of God worship him.”)

1. How did God speak in times past? Hebrews 1:1


2. How does God speak to us now, what did he make him, and what  did he do through him? Hebrews 1:2


3. What came to be through him (Jesus)? John 1:3-4


4. Of whom is Jesus the reflection and perfect copy, and by what  are all things sustained? Hebrews 1:3


5. When Jesus accomplished purifications from sins what did he do? Hebrews 1:3


6. How did Jesus accomplish this purification? Colossians 1:15-20


7. What has Jesus inherited, and to what is he far superior? Hebrews 1:4


8. Because Jesus humbled himself becoming obedient to death, what  did God do to him? Philippians 2:8-9


9. What are the questions asked about angels, and what does he say about his first born? Hebrews 1:5


10. Who is ruler of the kings of the earth and who loves us? Revelations 1:5


Personal – How have you been sustained by God’s mighty Word and how have you worshipped his son Jesus this past week?




(“And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us,”)

1. Who was in the beginning? John 1:1,14


2. Who did Jesus say he was to the Father? John 10:30


3. Who was in the beginning with God and what was this life that  came to be through him? John 1:2-4


4. What has the darkness not overcome? John 1:5


5. Who came for testimony, to what did he testify and what did he say about himself? John 1:6-8


6. What does the true light do, how did the world come to be, and who did not accept him? John 1:9-11


7. To those who did accept Jesus what did he give them power to  become, in what did they believe, and how were they born?  John 1:12-13


8. Who can enter the kingdom of God? John 3:5


9. What has not been revealed and what will happen to us when it  is revealed? 1 John 3:2


10. When the Word became flesh of what was he full? John 1:14


11. What did John say about Jesus, what came through Moses, and   what came through Jesus?  John 1:15-17


12. Who has revealed the Father to us?  John 1:18   


Personal – What has Jesus revealed to you about the Father?




(” The Lord has made his salvation known.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 98:1-6

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


How can you apply this to your life?




ISAIAH 52:7-10

In today’s passage God urges his people to draw comfort from past history and to look forward to a greater exodus.  He is telling them that it is time to shake off the grief and lethargy that has overtaken them. There is the sound of Good News that God is about to escort his people home to Jerusalem, God’s holy city, the city with God’s temple. But the people experienced desolation instead of prosperity, and destruction instead of liberty. The people suffered terribly because of their sins, but God promised to restore Jerusalem as a holy city.

God reigns, and today he still is very much in control.  Today’s verse states how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of peace and salvation (v.7).  How beautiful are the feet of those who go forth and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:15).  How welcome are those who bring the message of hope to a broken, hopeless, segment of our world.

God’s great message of salvation must be through us to others so they can have the chance to respond to the “Good News”.  How will our loved ones hear it unless we take it to them?  How will the nations hear it unless someone takes it to them?  God is calling you to take a part in making his message known in your family and your community.  Think of one person who needs to hear the good news, and think of something you can do to help him or her hear it.  Then you go out and do that act, in Jesus’ name, as soon as possible.



The letter to the Hebrews was written to a group of Jewish Christians who appeared to be having second thoughts about Jesus Christ being their long-awaited Messiah.  They should have been a community of mature christians by this time; instead, they seemed to be sort of withdrawn and inward-looking in their spiritual walk.  They needed a strong reminder that what they now possess in Christ is far better than what they had before they became Christians.

This passage begins with a tremendous affirmation of Jesus’ divinity.  Through Jesus, God has made his supreme and final revelation of himself to man.  Jesus is the living embodiment of the character and majesty of God.  Jesus has dealt with the problem of human sin by sacrificing himself on the cross and paying the ransom for all mankind with his blood. He is now at God’s side in the position of supreme power.  The angels, whom the Jews came very close to worshipping themselves, worship Jesus Christ.  They are spiritual beings and they are to serve and glorify God himself.

The people were well versed in scripture and whether through doubt, persecution, or false teaching, they seemed to be in danger of falling away from their Christian faith.  This danger is very much present in today’s world.  There is much false teaching today and many so-called “Shepherds” are just wolves in sheep’s clothing.  We need to stay in fellowship, pray, and study God’s Holy Word, and follow the teachings of our church.  Take the time this Christmas season to thank the Lord for bringing his light into your heart and bringing about a better relationship with him. Remember, it is Jesus birthday, and the present he wants most is YOU!


JOHN 1:1-18

This passage clearly shows that what Jesus taught and what he did are tied inseparably to who he is.  In today’s reading John shows Jesus as fully human and fully God.  Although Jesus took upon himself full humanity and lived as a man experiencing all the emotions that all of us have, he never ceased to be God who has always existed.  This is the truth about Jesus, and the foundation of all truth.  If we cannot or do not believe this basic truth, we will not have enough faith to trust our eternal destiny to him.  This is the reason John writes this gospel, to build faith and confidence in Jesus Christ, so that we may believe he truly was and is God in the flesh (John 20:30-31).

Jesus’ life brings light to mankind, in his light we see ourselves as we really are: sinners in need of a savior.  We fall on our knees, and like the shepherds at the little cave in Bethlehem, we too give praise and glory to the light of the world, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  The wise men followed the light of a star to see the light of the world.  When we follow Jesus, the light of the world, we can avoid walking blindly and falling into sin.  He lights the path ahead of us so we can see how to live.  He removes the darkness of sin from our lives, and if we have allowed the light of Christ to shine in our lives this Christmas season, then we will never stumble in the darkness.

As the world celebrates the birth of Christ, let yourself be reborn spiritually.  Through faith in Christ this new birth changes us from the inside out – rearranging our attitudes, desires and motives.  Have you asked Christ to make you a new person on Christmas day?  This fresh start is available to all who believe in him.  Merry Christmas.



The first reading tells us how beautiful are the feet of those who go forth and proclaim God’s Word.  The second reading shows that encouragement and discipline lead to a stronger commitment to God.  The gospel reveals Christmas as a time of new birth, a time of giving your life over to God.

This week, give those you love the greatest present you could give them for Christmas.  How beautiful are your feet as you go forth and gift them with the gift of your presence, of your love, of salvation by bringing them to Christ.  Remember, it is Christ’s birthday, and the presents should all be for him, and he only wants you!

4th Sunday in Advent (December 19th) – 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?




(“He shall stand firm and shepherd his flock by the strength of the Lord.”)

1. What is too small to be among the clans of Judah? Who is to come forth from there, and where is his origin? Micah 5:1


2. Who was a son of an Ephrathite named Jesse and where was he from? 1 Samuel 17:12


3. What will the Lord do until the time she is to give birth, and what shall happen to the rest of the brethren? Micah 5:2


4. What does scripture say about the Messiah? John 7:42


5. Where was Jesus born, and whom shall he shepherd? Matthew 2:1, 6


6. How shall he stand and shepherd his flock, with Whose power or strength, and by Whose majestic name will he do it? Micah 5:3


7. What will happen to his flock and for what reason? Micah 5:3


8. What shall he be? Micah 5:4


9. Because of the blood of Christ, what is he to us, and what did he break down? Ephesians 2:13-14


10. If Assyria invades their country, what will the people do? Micah 5:4-5


Personal – Who is ruler or has authority over you, and where do they get their strength?  Over whom do you rule, and where do you get your strength?




(“Behold, I come to do your will, O God.”)

1. What was not desired, and what was prepared on his coming into the world? Hebrews 10:5


2. What was sought not, and what was given? Psalm 40:7


3. In what did the Lord take no delight? Hebrews 10:6


4. What is written of Jesus in the scroll? Hebrews 10:7


5. What was the prayer of Jesus at the Mount of Olives? Luke 22:42


6. What was Jesus’ food? John 4:34


7. With what are sacrifices and offerings in accord? Hebrews 10:8


8. What does Jesus say, and what has he done with the first to establish the second? Hebrews 10:9


9. What was the new Law he established over which he was sorrowful? Matthew 26:38-39


10. How have we been consecrated once and for all? Hebrews 10:10


11. From what does his death cleanse us? Hebrews 9:14


Personal – Whose “will” do you follow on a daily basis?  How often does it occur to you to ask for his will to be done?  How often do you die to yourself to do the will of the Father on a daily basis?




(“Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”)

1. Who traveled to the hill country to a town of Judah? Whose house did she enter, and whom did she greet?  Luke 1:39-40


2. What was Zechariah, where was his wife from, and what kind of people were they? Luke 1:5-6


3. What was Zechariah told by the angel, and what did the child in her womb do when Mary greeted her? Luke 1:13, 41


4. With what was Elizabeth filled? Luke 1:41


5. With what was John filled, even from his mother’s womb? Luke 1:15


6. To whom does the Father give the Holy Spirit? Luke 11:13


7. What did Elizabeth cry out in a loud voice?  Luke 1:42-44


8. Who is the woman to be praised, and what will give her the praise? Proverbs 31:30-31


9. What did Mary do to become blessed? Luke 1:45


10. Who did Jesus say is blessed? John 20:29


11. What confined all things under the power of sin, how was the promise given, and to whom was it given? Galatians 3:22


Personal – When were you filled with the Holy Spirit or became aware of his presence within you?  Can those around you call you blessed, and if so, why?  What effect has Mary’s response had on your life?



FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19

(“Rouse your power, and come to save us.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19.

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


How can you apply this to your life?




MICAH 5:1-4

The prophet, Micah, assures a small, obscure town in Judea that it will be the birth place of the Messiah.  Jerusalem’s leaders were obsessed with wealth and position. Micah not only prophesied that Jerusalem with its wealth and power would be besieged and destroyed, but that its king could not save it. In startling contrast, Bethlehem, a tiny town, would be the birth place of the only king who could save all of his people.  The Messiah would be born as a baby in Bethlehem (Luke 2:4-6) and eventually would reign as the eternal king.

The king that was defeated was Zedekiah, and he was the last of the kings in David’s line to sit on the throne in Jerusalem.   Micah prophesied that the next king in David’s line would be the Messiah, and his kingdom would never end.  The Messiah, although eternal, entered human history as the man, Jesus of Nazareth.

Today’s reading provides us with a very clear Old Testament prophecy of Christ’s coming.  Micah tells us that the Messiah will be our peace (5:4).  Jesus tells us that he is leaving us with a gift, a gift of peace of mind and heart, and the gift is not fragile like the peace of the world (John 14:27). So do not be afraid, fear is useless.  What is needed is trust (Mark 5:36). Christ’s peace gives us assurance even though wars continue.  We need to have no more fear of judgment, no more conflict and guilt. This is what the peace of Christ really means. You can dismiss anxiety, worry about nothing, pray about everything, and you will receive the peace (Phil. 4:6-7) of the “Messiah” which surpasses all understanding.


HEBREWS 10:5-10

Today’s reading shows us that our link with God is not animal sacrifice. We are bound to God through a person and that person is Jesus Christ. We have in him a Savior, who shows us what our love must be like through his example.  Animal blood could not take away sin; it could only take it out of sight until Jesus came to deal with it permanently.

The people in Old Testament times were forgiven of their sins, just as they are forgiven today, through God’s grace which they accepted through faith.  The costly sacrifice of a valued animal’s life impressed upon the sinner the seriousness of his sin before God.  Because Jesus shed his own blood for us, his sacrifice is far greater than an Old Testament offering.  Christ came to offer for us his body upon the cross as a sacrifice completely acceptable to God.

Looking at the incredible gift that he has given us, we should be overwhelmed with a joyful desire to obey him. Today we see so many people trying to fill emptiness in their lives with drugs, alcohol, and immorality and becoming more empty.  The only way one can become full and alive is to first become really clean and free.  If your life is empty and confused, then fall on your knees and accept the incredible gift of forgiveness and salvation that was won for you through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  He tells us in verse 9 of today’s reading that he has come to do the will of his Father, and that is, that we all be united with him through Jesus.  He is the Way (John 14:6), and only he can set you free (John 8:32).


LUKE 1:39-45

The miracle of love is in its sense of expectancy.  Love is far more than a feeling, it is a decision that says “Yes.”  Mary has just received the incredible news that she has been chosen to be the Mother of God.  She tells the angel that she is the Lord’s servant, and she will do whatever is in accordance with his Word. She then waits, with the knowledge and expectation that she will bear the fruit the prophets had predicted.

Mary was to be the Mother of the God of her fathers, and all would call her blessed.  And yet, in her waiting, she attends to her surroundings.  Her cousin, Elizabeth, who was much older, was also expecting a child.  Mary goes out to attend to her, and in her love she gives a signal of the love she bears with her. Elizabeth recognizes Mary’s desire to serve her, and in that service is the core of love called humility.  Elizabeth tells Mary that blessed is her fruit, and Mary’s child became the instrument of salvation for the whole world.

This time of Advent, a time of waiting for the new coming of Christ in our own lives, is a time for us to be like Mary. We can share Mary’s blessing.  Through us Christ can become real for others. Out there, right where you are, there is an Elizabeth who needs your visit.  As you wait, like Mary waited, go out of yourself to others as she did.  Who is your Elizabeth?  Someone hungry, lonesome, angry or neglected?  That person awaits your visit. You may not have to go any further than across the street, or just across the kitchen table.  As we wait for the Christmas celebration, the promise of the prophets will once again be fulfilled.  What will it bring you?



The first reading shows that God chose ordinary things and ordinary people to produce extraordinary results.  The second reading tells us that salvation is a person and his name is Jesus Christ.  The Gospel reveals that waiting is a decision to serve while waiting.

This week, let the humility of Mary be your model. You might look at the times you have to wait during the week, such as in traffic, in cafeteria lines at work, or waiting to see a teacher in school.  The example that you show by your actions can be very powerful.  Mary was very humble even though she knew that what had happened to her was very special. Give your family and friends a tremendous gift this Christmas time. Give them the gift of your humility, and Christ will come alive through you, and you will be blessed.

3rd Sunday in Advent (December 12th) – 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?




(“He will rejoice over you with gladness.”)

1. What are we to do with all of our heart?  Zephaniah 3:14


2. Why is Israel to rejoice and shout for joy? Zechariah 9:9


3. What has the Lord removed, and of what is there no further need? Zephaniah 3:15


4. On the day of the Lord what shall be said?  Zephaniah 3:16


5. What did Jesus say to his disciples? Matthew 14:27


6. What does perfect love do? 1 John 4:18


7. What is the Lord, our God, called?  What will he do to you, and what will he do because of you? Zephaniah 3:17


8. What will people no longer call you, and what does the Lord call you? Isaiah 62:4-5


9. What will the Lord remove from among you?  Zephaniah 3:18


Personal – How have you been renewed in God’s love?  How does the joy show in you since the personal realization that Jesus has come into your heart?  




(“Rejoice in the Lord always, I shall say it again: rejoice!”)

1. What are we to do always? Philippians 4:4


2. Why do we rejoice in the Lord? Psalm 85:7


3. What should be made known to all, and who is near? Philippians 4:5


4. What is love? 1 Corinthians 13:4-7


5. What was God, our Savior, to us when he appeared, and what did his mercy do for us? Titus 3:4-6


6. Kindness is a fruit of whom? Galatians 5:22


7. What are we not to have, and what are we to do in everything? Philippians 4:6


8. What does anxiety do to us, and what does a kindly word do? Proverbs 12:25


9. What will guard our hearts and minds in Christ? Philippians 4:7


10. What did Jesus say he was leaving his followers? (Note: This is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:22)John 14:25-27


Personal – What acts of kindness have you shown towards your spouse, children, parents, friends, co-workers, and neighbors?




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

1. To whom were the crowds talking, and what did they ask him? Luke 3:10, Luke 3:2


2. What was John’s reply to the crowd, who else came to him, and for what reason? Luke 3:11-12


3. What did John tell the tax collectors? Luke 3:13


4. What did Jesus tell his disciples his Father was pleased to give them, what should they do, and what did he say about the heart? Luke 12:32-34


5. What did the soldiers ask John, and what three things did he tell them to do? Luke 3:14


6. What were the people beginning to think about John? Luke 3:15


7. What did John say to the priests and Levites when they asked him who he was?  John 1:19-20, 23


8. When John answered the people, with what did he say he was baptizing them?  Who did he say was coming, and of what was John not even worthy?   Luke 3:16


9. With what did John say the “one who was coming” was going to baptize them?  What did he say about the winnowing fan?   Luke 3:16-17


10. What does the Holy Spirit give us? Acts 1:8


11. What did John preach to the people?   Luke 3:18


Personal – In what way have you shared your clothing and food with someone who has none?  Examine your conscience: Do I have excessive clothing cluttering my closet? Do I spend a lot of money on food? Have I extorted anyone? Have I accused anyone falsely? Have I been dissatisfied with my wages? Seek the Sacrament of Reconciliation.




(“God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid.”)

Read and meditate on Isaiah 12:2-6.

What is the Lord saying to you personally through this reading?


How can you apply this to your life?





In this reading the church joyfully anticipates the Messiah’s coming through the words of the prophet Zephaniah. The prophet’s exuberant message anticipates a revelation that cannot be contained:  The Lord is in our midst and his presence gives us joy.  Zephaniah points out that great gladness results when we allow God to be with us.  We sin when we try to find happiness in ways that bring a cutting off of ourselves from fellowship with God, the only person who can make us truly joyful.

There is an old saying that joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God. One can be very hot and thirsty and be very happy to receive a cold glass of water. The person may be in complete turmoil, but for a few moments he is happy.  Because joy is the presence of the Lord, a person may have his own personal life under attack through sickness, accident, death of a loved one, or even a divorce, and still be joyful and at peace.

To experience God in our midst goes far beyond any technical explanation. We are told that the Holy Spirit is upon us; he has appointed us to preach Good News to the poor; He has sent us to heal the broken hearted. This joy of knowing that he is in our midst, knowing that his Spirit is upon us comes when we faithfully follow him and obey his Word.  This is the anticipation of joy that Zephaniah tells his people about and it applies, especially today, to you, wherever you are.  If you want to be joyful,  draw close to the source of joy by obeying God.   Then listen as God rejoices over you in song.



How powerful and yet how wonderfully strange that a man in prison would be telling a church to be joyful.  But Paul’s attitude teaches us a very important lesson: Our inner attitudes do not have to reflect our outward circumstances.  Paul is saying that we may not be able to control the circumstances, but we always can control our response to those circumstances.

Paul takes up the joyful anthem; the Lord himself is near, dismiss all anxiety from your minds.  Paul was full of joy because he knew that no matter what happened to him, the Holy Spirit was within him and he had nothing to fear (1 John 4:4). Paul is urging the Philippians to be joyful, and he is speaking to you; maybe you need to hear this.

It is easy to get discouraged about unpleasant circumstances or to take unimportant events too seriously.  If we have not experienced joy lately, we may not be looking at life from the right point of view.  Never having to worry about anything is not an escape from responsibility.  We all have worries in work, in our homes, schools and with our families.

Do you want to worry less?  Paul is saying that we need to turn our worries into prayers.  Then pray much more.  Whenever you start to worry, stop and pray.  The peace that you receive is God’s peace, and his peace is different from the world’s peace (John 14:27).  This peace is not in positive thinking, in absence of conflict, or in good feelings.  This is a real peace, and it comes from knowing that God is in control of our life. This means our destiny is set, our victory over sin is certain, and this is a peace that surpasses all understanding.


LUKE 3:10-18

The message of John the Baptist broke upon the people like a giant clap of thunder.  He did not tickle the people’s ears. He was not cute or an entertainer.  His message was not good news, it was news of terror.  John had lived in the wilderness and sometimes fire would break out. The animals would come out of their nicks and crannies, scurrying in terror from the menacing flames.  It was to them that John likened the people who came to be baptized.

The Jews thought that God would judge other nations with one standard, and the Jews with another and that as sons of Abraham they were exempt. John told them that racial privilege meant nothing, that life, not lineage, was God’s standard of judgment.

John’s message took root in unexpected places, among the poor, the criminals, and the soldiers.  They were painfully aware of their needs. Many people then, as well as today, failed to see that respectability is not always connected with right living. John states that respectability can hinder right living if it keeps us from seeing our need for God.

If you had to choose between them, would you protect your character even if it ruined your reputation?  John warns of impending judgment by comparing those who refuse to work for God to chaff, the useless outer husk of the grain.  In contrast, he compares those who repent and reform their lives to the nourishing grain itself.  Those who refuse to believe in God will be discarded because they have no value in furthering God’s work. Those who repent and believe hold great value in God’s eyes because they are beginning a new life of service for him.



The first reading tells us that the Lord is in our midst. The second reading reveals that peace is not worrying, but praying, about everything.  The Gospel calls us to more than respectability; it calls us to right living.

This week, let your witness to right living have a strong measure of joy. Start with yourself and take a spiritual, emotional and physical inventory of yourself. Be honest, specific and joyful. Take any area of you that needs correcting and pray constantly every day for just that one area of brokenness.

You do not need to tell yourself how bad you are; you need to tell yourself how blessed you are to have someone forgive and love you. Jesus loves you so much he died for you. So look at an area of yourself that you can change this week. Share this change with a loved one, a friend, or maybe a clergyman.

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (December 8th) – 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.

l. 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 will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.”)

l. Who called to the man, and what did He ask him? Genesis 3:9


2. Whom did Jesus come to call? Mark 2:17


3. Why did the man hide himself? Genesis 3:10


4. With what are we longing to be clothed? 2 Corinthians 5:1-3


5. What did God ask the man? Genesis 3:11


6. What did the man say about the woman, and what did he do? Genesis 3:12


7. What did the Lord ask the woman, and who did she say tricked her? Genesis 3:13


8. What was Paul’s fear that the serpent may corrupt in the people of Corinth? 2 Corinthians 11:3


Personal – When you lose the peace of God within you, whom do you blame? Who is responsible?


9. What did the Lord say to the serpent, what did he say he would put between the serpent and the woman, and at what would he strike? Genesis 3:14-15


10. To what are we to be wise, and what will crush Satan under our feet? Romans 16:19-20


11. What did the man call his wife, and for what reason? Genesis 3:20


Personal – In what way can you protect your mind and thoughts from the evil one?




(“…so that we might exist for the praise of his glory.”)

1. Who is blessed, and with what has he blessed us? Ephesians 1:3


2. What two things does the Father show toward us? 2 Corinthians 1:3


3. How did God choose us to be before him, and when did he choose us? Ephesians 1:4


4. How do you become holy and without blemish? Ephesians 5:25-27


5. How did God destine us for adoption, and with what was it in accord?  Ephesians 1:4-5


6. To whom did he give power to become children of God? John 1:12


7. What are we to praise? Ephesians 1:6


8. How were we chosen, and how does God plan and guide all things? Ephesians 1:11


9. What happens to those who are called according to his purpose, and how are we predestined? Romans 8:28-29


10. For what purpose do we exist? Ephesians 1:12


Personal – When things work out for your good, to whom do you give the glory? In what way do your actions show that you have been chosen by God?




(“May it be done to me according to your word.”)

1. Who was sent by God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth, and when was he sent? Luke 1:26


2. To whom was he sent, and what was her name? Luke 1:27


3. What did the angel say to Mary, and what was her reaction to this greeting? Luke 1:28-29


4. What did the angel tell her not to do, and what did he say would happen to her? Luke 1:30-33


5. What did Jesus say to his disciples, and what cast out fear? Matthew 14:27, 1 John 4:18


6. What was Mary’s response to the angel telling her she would conceive and bear a son? Luke 1:34


7. Who did the angel say would come upon Mary, who would overshadow her, and what would the child be called? Luke 1:35


8. What did the angel tell Joseph not to be, and how did he tell him the child was conceived in Mary? Matthew 1:20


9. What did the angel tell Mary about Elizabeth, and what did he say about God? Luke 1:36-37


10. What was Mary’s response, and what did the angel do? Luke 1:38


Personal – What specific plan does God have for your life? Have you responded as Mary did, “May it be done to me according to your word?” Think and pray about this.




(“The Lord has made his salvation known,”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 98:1-4.

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


How can you apply this to your life?




GENESIS 3:9-15, 20

Nothing really prepares us for the presence of the devil serpent in the garden. The ancient word “Nahash” brought fear into the hearts of the Israelites because they were forbidden to attend any type of liturgy that involved snake worship upon pain of violating the covenant. The mention of a serpent would identify something evil in the minds of the pious Israelites. The word Nahash and evil were synonymous and the serpent’s entrance into the garden brought sinful pollution.

This reading shows us how the serpent was cleverly working his way into new territory, and it shows the existence of evil forces outside the sphere of mankind. We see that God does not crash-in at people with death and punishment. In fact, God places himself on the side of people in the ongoing battle against the serpent.

The message of hope in this passage is that God always remains on man’s side. Sin, evil, and Satan are always the enemy of God and man. God states that Satan will be crushed by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The good news is that Jesus has won for us the victory of eternal life. He defeated Satan on the cross at Calvary. We are assured of this because scripture tells us that it is so (John 3:16). God is with us, on our side, to save us from sin. If God is with us, who can be against us? In today’s passage the Messianic promise of ultimate salvation has been announced.


EPHESIANS 1:3-6, 11-12

Paul wrote this passage from inside the walls of a Roman prison. He had been a Christian for nearly thirty years, and he had taken three missionary trips and established churches all around the Mediterranean Sea. Ephesus was a commercial, political and religious center for all Asia Minor. The temple of the pagan Greek goddess Diana was located there. It is in this environment that we hear about blessings and heaven.

What is heaven? Heaven is where God is, and blessings mean all the good things that God has given to us, such as salvation, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the power to do God’s will. We can enjoy these blessings now if we live in an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

Paul tells us that God chose us to emphasize that salvation depends totally on God. We are not saved because we deserve it, but because God is gracious and freely gives it. There is no way to take credit for our salvation, or to find room for pride. God chose us, and when we belong to him through Jesus Christ, we are transformed from sinner to a life of grace. God has adopted us as his own children through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17). When you feel that your life is not worth much to anyone, remember that you are special in God’s eyes, a precious present that brings him great joy. God has offered salvation to you, and when your life seems chaotic, rest in this truth: Jesus is Lord, and God is in control.


LUKE 1:26-38

In the old covenant, Jerusalem was the center and symbol of God’s union with his people. In the new covenant, the symbol is no longer a city, but a person, and she is Mary, the Mother of God. She seals the covenant’s beginning with the free gift of herself in love.

Mary was young and poor, all characteristics that, to the people of her day, would make her seem very unlikely to be chosen as the Mother of the long-awaited Messiah. But God chose her for one of the most important acts of obedience he has ever demanded of anyone.

You might feel that your situation in life today makes you an unlikely candidate for God’s service. Do not limit God’s choices, he can use you if you, like Mary, trust in him. Mary’s honor of being blessed to become the Mother of God brought her much pain and ridicule. Her peers would gossip about her; her fiance would come close to leaving her; her Son would be tortured and murdered on a cross as a convicted criminal. But through Mary, her Son would become the world’s only hope, and this is why Mary has been called by countless generations “Blessed among women.” Her submission led to our salvation.

If your blessings lead to sorrows, think of Mary, and wait patiently for God to finish working at his plan. Think of a small young teen-age girl who understood little and trusted much, and said humbly, and yet courageously, that she was a humble servant of the Lord, and he could do with her whatever was in accordance with his Holy Word (Luke 1:38).



The first reading shows us that God is always on man’s side, and Satan and sin are always the enemy. The second reading reveals that a blessing is something that God has given you: life, salvation, family, friends, etc. The Gospel shows courage is made up of obedience and trust.

This week let yourself, like Mary, experience being in accordance with God’s word. Take time every day this week to pray alone as she did throughout her life, to study God’s Holy Word, and to do what is necessary in work and school for you. Remember each day to take time to relax and enjoy yourself for a few moments. Develop each day a discipline of prayer, study, work, and leisure. God has chosen you, and you, like Mary, can say, “Yes, Lord, do with me whatever is in accordance with your Holy Word.”

2nd Sunday in Advent (December 5th) – 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?




(“For God will show all the earth your splendor.”)

l. What is Jerusalem to take off, and what is it to put on? Baruch 5:1


2. What shall no longer enter Jerusalem? Isaiah 52:1


3. In what shall Jerusalem be wrapped, what shall it have on its head, and what does that display? Baruch 5:2


4. What was engraved on a seal that was tied over the miter? Exodus 39:30-31


5. Why do we rejoice heartily in the Lord? Isaiah 61:10


6. What will God show all the earth, and what will we be named by God forever? Baruch 5:3-4


7. Who will Jerusalem see to the east, how were they gathered together from the east and the west, and about what will they rejoice?  Baruch 5:5


8. Who led your children away, and who will bring them back? Baruch 5:6


9. What has God commanded so that Israel may advance secure in the glory of God? Baruch 5:7


10. What has happened to Israel at God’s command, and how is He leading Israel? Baruch 5:8-9


Personal    What are the enemies that have led the children away in this day?   How do you see God bringing them back?   How has this affected your family?




(“…how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.”)

1. How are Paul and Timothy praying for the Philippians, and for what reason? Philippians 1:4-5


2. What did the Philippians do at the beginning of the Gospel when Paul left Macedonia? Philippians 4:15


3. About what are they confident? Philippians 1:6


4. Who is Paul’s witness, and how does he long for the brothers? Philippians 1:8


Personal    Who do you long for with the affection of Christ?


5. What is Paul’s prayer for the people of Philippi? Philippians 1:9


6. What do you become filled with through all spiritual wisdom and understanding? Colossians 1:9


7. What must you discern so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ? Philippians 1:10


8. From what are you instructed in order to know his will, and what is important? Romans 2:18


9. What are you filled with that comes through Jesus Christ, and for what reason? Philippians 1:11


10. How is the Father glorified? John 15:8


Personal – Give specific examples of how you have glorified the Father.




(“…proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”)

1. During whose reign and who was the governor when the Word of God came to John? Luke 3:1-2


2. Whose son was John, and where did the Word of God come to him? Luke 3:2


3. What did John do throughout the whole region of the Jordan? Luke 3:3; see also Matthew 3:1-2 and Mark 1:4


4. What is evidence of repentance? Luke 3:8


5. What leads us to repentance? Romans 2:4


6. What does godly sorrow produce, and what does worldly sorrow produce? 2 Corinthians 7:10


7. What is a voice crying out in the desert?  Luke 3:4


8. What will happen to the valleys, mountains, roads and rough ways? Luke 3:5


9. What will happen to all flesh? Luke 3:6


10. What has the Lord made known in fulfillment of what was written by the prophecy of Isaiah, and what has he revealed to the nations? Psalm 98:2


Personal – How has the Lord revealed to you personally that you have been saved from your sins?    How have you come into godly sorrow or repentance for your sins?




(“The Lord has done great things for us.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 126:1-6.

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


How can you apply this to your life?




BARUCH 5:1-9

Baruch was the well known secretary of Jeremiah, and in today’s reading he tells how God will lead a “new exodus” at the end of time, from east to west, to the ideal city of Jerusalem. He is telling the people who have been through exile, captivity, and total destruction that salvation is God’s gift and God’s holy work.  He goes on to encourage them to accept this gift because if they do not they will become spiritual refugees.

Accepting the gift of salvation from God involves a conversion that turns all men toward their homeland.  Today’s message is a message of consolation and hope.  It is a call to come out of mourning and to trust in the Lord.  It is a call to put on the cloak of justice and walk in the glory of the eternal name.  It is a call to rise from the dirt and to shake yourself clean.

The people were being encouraged to stand on the heights or the shoulders of those who went before them into exile and keep their faith alive by staying very close to God’s Holy Word. They knew that no matter how difficult the times would get, their God would never forget them or abandon them.

God is leading all of his people who are being oppressed. The people in today’s reading knew that, and in today’s world that same God makes the same promise to his children of today. Jesus Christ is the light that has broken the darkness, and we follow him in his justice and mercy and finally in his glory.


PHILIPPIANS 1:4-6, 8-11

This reading clearly emphasizes that, for the Christian, evangelism is not a duty, it is a joy.  This letter to the Philippians has been called an epistle of joy.  It is with joy that Paul prays for his friends.  The joy of Christian prayer is bringing those we love to the mercy seat of God. There is the joy that Jesus is preached in all parts of the world today.  If Christianity does not make a man happy, then it will not make him anything at all.  There is the joy of suffering for Christ in that it is a chance to demonstrate our trust in him and know that in our weakness is his strength.  There is the joy of Christian hospitality.  It is a great thing to have a door (your heart) from which the stranger and the one in trouble know that they will never be turned away.

Paul is seeing the life of every Christian as a sacrifice ready to be offered to Jesus Christ.  We are called to make our bodies a living sacrifice acceptable to God (Romans 12:1).  The task of the Christian then is to make his life fit to offer to Jesus Christ.  Only the power of the Holy Spirit can empower us to do that. Paul tells us that we are also partners in grace. We are to share our common debt to God for always bestowing on us his healing, saving grace.

It was Paul’s prayer for his people that their love would grow and grow.  To love is to know and to know is to learn.  When we learn, we discover truth and truth is Jesus Christ, yesterday, today and forever.


LUKE 3:1-6

Today’s Gospel sees it fitting to announce that in the loneliness of a terrible desert, the “Good News” of salvation was available for all those who repent.  We see that Pilate, Herod and Caiphas were the most powerful leaders in Palestine. But they were upstaged by a desert prophet from Judea. God chose to speak through this loner, John the Baptist, who has gone down in history as greater than any of the rulers of his day.

Even today we often judge by our culture’s standards, – power, beauty, wealth, education – as in John’s time, and miss the really special people through whom God works.  Greatness is not measured by what we have, but by what we do for God. We can be like John the Baptist and give ourself entirely to God so his power can work through us.  Mother Teresa has a saying that is very appropriate to our world today, “Unless life is lived for others, it is not worthwhile.”

John the Baptist’s whole life was lived to tell others that the time to repent has come to all.  We must realize that repentance has two sides – turning away from sin and turning to God. Repentance does not mean “I am sorry;”  it means “change.”  To be forgiven we must repent.  We just can not say we believe and then live any way we want to live, nor can we simply live a good moral life without reference to Christ.  Forgiveness from sin is the message of repentance.  Determine to rid your life of any sins God points out to you, and put your trust in him.  You will be living for others because knowing you are saved makes your life worthwhile.



The first reading shows that those who refuse God’s gift of salvation become spiritual refugees.  The second reading reveals joy as the infallible sign of the presence of God.  The Gospel reveals that God calls on ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

This week, show your family that Advent is a time of changing, watching and preparation.   Let the message of John the Baptist touch your heart and “Repent of your sins.” Right now, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what needs to change in you. Write down what it is, and if it is several areas, take one at a time. Share your journey with a non-judgmental person.  You are that ordinary person whom God has chosen to do extraordinary things. Pray, thank, and accept from God the miracle that is going to take place in your life this Advent season.

1st Sunday in Advent (November 28th) – 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 a 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?



(“The Lord our Justice.”)

l. What does the Lord say is coming? Jeremiah 33:14


2. What promise has the Lord made, and how can we benefit from His promise? Deuteronomy 28:7-9


3. What will the Lord raise up for David, and what will he do? Jeremiah 33:15


4. As king, what will this righteous shoot do? Jeremiah 23:5-6


5. What did King Solomon, son and successor to King David, ask from the Lord, and what did he grant him? 1 Kings 3:9-12


6. Who was the righteous shoot of David for whom the Magi were looking, and what was the inscription over Jesus’ head while he hung on the cross? Matthew 2:2 and 27:37


7. In those days, who will be safe and dwell secure? Jeremiah 33:16


8. What will the city be named? Jeremiah 33:16


9. How have we been made right with God or justified with God? Romans 3:21-26


10. How did David, Samuel and the prophets conquer kingdoms? Hebrews 11:33


Personal – In what way has God fulfilled his promise to you personally? Where do you find your security?



(“…may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another.”)

1. In what are you to abound and increase, and for whom? 1 Thessalonians 3:12


2. What will loving one another do to your heart? 1 Thess. 3:13


3. Why do you thank God always for one another? 2 Thessalonians 1:3


4. How will you become before God at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ? 1 Thessalonians 3:13


5. Whom does Paul ask to make the brothers holy and blameless? 1 Thessalonians 5:23


6. How is Paul asking the brothers to conduct themselves? 1 Thessalonians 4:1


7. What were they to do with a brother who acted in a disorderly way, and how did Paul act? 2 Thess.3:6-7


8. What was given to the brothers, and who was it through? 1 Thessalonians 4:2


9. Who is able to instruct and admonish one another? Romans 15:14


10. What happens to a wise and just man who is instructed? Proverbs 9:9


Personal – How has your love increased for your spouse, children, friends, and neighbors during the past month? In what way do you see a difference in the way you love now compared to last year?



(“Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent.”)

1. Where will there be signs, and why will nations be perplexed? Luke 21:25


2. What will happen to the sun, moon, stars and powers of the heavens? Matthew 24:29


3. What will happen to people in anticipation of what is to come upon the world? Luke 21:26


4. Who are you to fear? Luke 12:5


5. Who will people see coming on a cloud with power and great glory? Luke 21:27


6. When these signs begin to happen, how should you stand? Why should you stand this way? Luke 21:28


7. What will happen to God’s chosen ones? Luke 18:7-8


Personal – If the heavens shook today, would you die of fear or would you stand erect looking up to see him coming on the cloud?


8. Of what should you be wary, and what will happen to everyone who lives on the earth? Luke 21:34-35


9. What are you to be at all times, and for what are you to pray? Luke 21:36


10. What did Jesus tell his disciples while he was in the Garden of Gethsemane? Matthew 26:41


Personal – What have you been doing in anticipation of his coming again? Share this scripture with a family member or a friend.



FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 25:4-5,8-10, 14
(“He guides the humble to justice,”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 25:4-5,8-10, 14.

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


How can you apply this to your life?




JEREMIAH 33:14-16

This passage tells about God’s plan to restore Jerusalem, not because the people cried, but because it was part of his ultimate plan. The disaster brought to the Jews by the Babylonians did not change God’s purpose for his people. Although Jerusalem would be destroyed, it would eventually be restored, because God’s justice is always tempered by his mercy. The emphasis is on the promise of a worldwide reign on earth by a Messiah. The immediate historical context is not what this reading is about. It is about God’s control of history; he can act anytime he chooses. We must never forget that God will act in his time (Hebrews 12:26, 27).

Today’s reading refers to both the first and second comings of Christ. When this long-awaited Messiah would come, he would set up his reign in the hearts of the believers. At his second coming he will execute justice and righteousness throughout the whole earth. What a tremendous prophecy this was for the people. They knew that no matter what horror was done to them their Messiah was coming to bring them freedom.

Today, all over the world, there is tyranny, oppression, hunger and violence. In the deepest darkness of all of this pain is the “Good News.” The Good News is a message of hope. It is the light of the world that has pierced and defeated the darkness of death. Today, our world is caught up in its own self-prophecy and refuses by its action to say, “The Lord is our righteousness.”

The promise of eternal life and joy is far more meaningful for us because the Messiah has come and his name is Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. He is the Good News.



In today’s passage we are treated to a special glimpse of the apostle Paul’s mind, because for him everything was of God. He prays to God to show him the way to Thessalonica. He turns to God for guidance in the ordinary day-to-day problems.

One of the great and incredibly common mistakes of life is to turn to God only in the over-powering emergencies and shattering crises. How many times have you or someone you know called on Christ in an emergency? Like a good fireman, he comes and puts out the fire. You say a few, quick “thank yous” and send him back to his fire station to await yet another call from you.

Paul is talking about prayer being an active type of relationship. When two people are in love, they want to share all their successes as well as all their sorrows. Christ becomes the person with whom we share our minds, hearts and souls; and we do this in prayer. Prayer is two people in love telling each other how much they love each other. This love that we have for Jesus will overflow to others. This is how people judge us, not by what we say, but by how much we love others. Being polite and courteous is not enough, we need to show our love to others, especially the unlovable.

Our love should be continually growing, and if it seems your love for others has remained unchanged for some time, get on your knees and ask him to fill you with his Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), and then you will be able to love even the unlovable. This passage ends with a call to please God with our daily living. The standards of the world want to entice us and kill us. The standard of God wants to free us, to save us, to love us, and to let us become capable of loving others. Which standard will we choose?


LUKE 21:25-28, 34-36

We are confronted with a very piercing question in today’s Gospel. If the heavens shook and opened up, would we die of fear or would we stand erect, looking up to see him coming on the clouds? To the believer, this calls for some serious thought; to the unbeliever, this is foolishness to even talk about the subject. Jesus told his disciples to be on guard and pray. The picture of the coming persecutions and natural disasters is gloomy, but ultimately they are cause not for worry, but for great joy. He knew that when believers see these events happening, they will know that the return of their Messiah is near. They can look forward to his reign of justice and peace.

Today we are experiencing natural disasters like earthquakes, forest fires, famine, and drought. Rather than being terrified by what is happening in our world, we should be confident and prayerful awaiting Christ’s return. Jesus told his disciples to keep a constant watch for his return. Are you keeping a faithful watch with the lifestyle you are living? The followers of Jesus Christ live in anticipation of his return, and they are very much on guard against the temptation of the world.

Although nearly two thousand years have passed since he spoke these words, their truth remains: He is coming again, and we need to watch and be ready. This means working faithfully at the tasks God has given us, and not wishing we were someone else. If you were the only person in the world, Christ would have gone on that cross anyway, simply because he loves us enough to die for us, so that we can be with him when he comes back again.



The first reading tells us that the light is coming to destroy the darkness. In the second reading we see that prayer is alive and active because it is a dialogue between two people. The Gospel calls us to be on guard and to pray about everything.

This week, show your family, school or work associates what you are doing in anticipation of Jesus’ return. Your actions can be shown in taking time alone in prayer with the Lord, by reading scripture with your family, by doing bible study on your lunch hour and by loving others even when you do not feel loving. Remember, love is not a feeling; love is a decision. Get active in prayer, reading God’s Holy Word, in God’s church and fellowship with the believing community.

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (November 21st) – Cycle B


By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn


FIRST DAY  Reread last week’s readings.

1. What was a helpful or a 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?



(“…his kingship shall not be destroyed.”)

l.  Who was having visions during the night? Daniel 7:1


2. What did he see coming on the clouds of heaven, and into whose presence did he come?  Daniel 7:13


3.  What will we all see?   Mark 14:62


4.  What will the son of man receive?  Daniel 7:14


5.  What did Jesus say was given to him? Matthew 28:18


6.  What shall the Lord do in the time of kings? Daniel 2:44


7.  Who shall serve the Lord? Daniel 7:14


8.  What two things did Jesus come to do?  Matthew 20:28


9.  What is his dominion, and what shall not happen to it? Daniel 7:14


10.  We who are receiving the unshakable kingdom should do what? Hebrews 12:26-29


Personal – In what area in your life does God not have dominion over you?  How can you give him complete control and kingship over every area of your life?



(“…who has made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father,”)

1.  Who is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and ruler of the kings of the earth? Revelations 1:5, 1 Corinthians 15:20


2.  If Jesus is the firstborn from the dead, in what else should he be first? Colossians 1:18


3.  What has Jesus done by his blood, what has this made us, and who gets the glory and power forever? Revelation 1:5-6


4.  From what did Christ’s blood cleanse our consciences, and to do what? Hebrews 9:14


5.  If we walk in the light as he is in the light, what will we have, and how are we cleansed? 1 John 1:7


6.  What are we to let happen to us? 1 Peter 2:5


7.  Who will see him coming amidst the clouds, and who will lament him? Revelation 1:7


8.  When the Son of Man comes in all his glory, how will he repay everyone? Matthew 16:27


9.  What did the Lord God say? Revelation 1:8


10.  Who does the Lord God give a gift from the spring of living water? Revelation 21:6


Personal – What signs do you show by your speech and actions of dying to self for those around you, that reveal you have been made into a kingdom, priests for our God and Father?  How has this been done?



(“Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”)

1. What did Pilate ask Jesus, and what was Jesus’ question back to him? John 18:33-34


2. What did Pilate say he was not, and who did he say handed Jesus over to him? John 18:35


3. What did Jesus say about his kingdom? John 18:36


4. Who did Jesus say his Father would provide, and why does Jesus say he does not call upon his Father? Matthew 26:53-54


5.  Where did Jesus say is the kingdom of God? Luke 17:20-21


6.  What did Pilate say to Jesus, and for what did Jesus say he was born and to testify to? John 18:37


7.  To what does Jesus testify to? John 3:32


8.  What does everyone who belongs to the truth do?  John 18:37


9.  Who hears the words of God?  John 8:47


10.  How do we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit? 1 John 4:6


Personal – If the kingdom of God, Jesus’ Holy Spirit, is among you and within you, to whom and what have you been listening?  How do you determine if the person speaking is speaking truth? Share this with someone.  How can you apply this to your everyday life?



(“…holiness befits your house.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 93:1-2, 5.

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


How can you apply this to your life?



DANIEL 7:13-14

This passage reveals Daniel’s vision of the end times. Daniel describes the arrival of a man; this man is the Messiah. Jesus used the above verse to refer to himself in scripture (Luke 21:27). Daniel, while feeling disturbed and confused about these prophecies, recognized, as we need to recognize today, that their full meaning has not been revealed. The full implications of these prophecies or any other of God’s prophecies will not be known until God reveals them to his people.

Daniel’s prophecy is a tremendous message of hope and comfort for the many who are sick, lonely, abandoned and lost. This vision was told to many people, and the Son of Man was, of course, the Messiah who is Jesus Christ. We today can look at prophecy and see that the full meaning is still to come. Jesus has come to free us from the grasp of Satan, but there is still much evil in our lands. We know that the power of the Holy Spirit is his power, and that power is eternal. We also know that the government of the Lord is a corrupt-free government.

Jesus tells us that he will return to raise up all his followers to the Father. We all must stand before God and give an account of our lives. If you were to see God arrive on clouds from heaven and your life were judged by God today, what would he say about it? How would he measure your life against his word? We need to ask what we would like him to see at that time. Then we should live that way beginning now.



Today’s reading shows us that we can be assured that God’s word is reliable because the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the source of truth. We have seen in scripture that others had risen from the dead. The apostles, prophets, and Jesus himself had brought people back to life during their ministries. But all of them eventually died.

Jesus Christ was the only person who ever was born to die. He died so that you and I could live forever with him.  He paid the ransom for us, and it was a ransom of blood. One of the most difficult things Christian believers are asked is to share what Christ really means to them personally. Many Christians hesitate to share what Christ has done in their lives because they do not feel the change has been very noticeable. You qualify as a witness for Jesus because of what he has done for you, not because of what you have done for him.

Today’s passage shares with us that Christ has done specific things for each person that can be shared with others. Christ demonstrated his great love for us by setting us free from our sins, through his death on the cross, guaranteeing us a place in his kingdom if we choose to believe in him. The fact that Christ has offered eternal life to you is nothing short of a spectacular testimony on your behalf. Jesus is shown as an all-powerful king, victorious at battle, glorious in peace. We can be victorious also in battle and glorious in peace when Jesus is our Lord and Savior, because the battle is his, and not ours.


JOHN 18:33-37

Jesus was taken to the palace of the Roman Governor. His accusers would not go in, for that would have defiled them. Entering the house of a Gentile (Pilate’s house) would cause a Jewish person to be ceremonially defiled by Jewish law. As a result, he could not take part in worship at the temple or feasts. These men kept the pretense of religion while harboring murder and treachery in their hearts. Pilate knew very well what was going on, and that the religious leaders hated Jesus, and he did not want to act as their executioner. Pilate also knew that they could not sentence Jesus to death themselves, because that permission had to come from a Roman leader.

Pilate was interested in Jesus’ reply of being a king to make sure Jesus was not trying to overthrow the government. The Jews were using the title “King” to mean their religious ruler, the “Messiah.” The Jews were looking for a powerful savior for their captive nation. They wanted someone who could free them from the Roman empire’s grip of control. They looked at Jesus with contempt and even disgust: this wandering “suffering servant;” this blasphemer.

Jesus answered Pilate very clearly that he was a king, but his kingdom was not of this world.  Pilate, while believing Christ, still rejected his claim.  The tragedy Pilate committed is one that many people make today, and that is believing that Christ is the Messiah but not living their lives as he calls them to do. We have no excuse, we have read about Christ, we have studied scripture, and we have been taught by our church that he is our Lord and Savior. The tragedy is that there are many “so-called Christians” who live their lives in complete opposition to what Christ is teaching. To Pilate and many people then and now, truth is what is agreed upon by  the majority of the people.  Truth is Jesus Christ (John 14:6), and only through truth (John 8:32) can we ever be set really free.



The first reading teaches a message of hope and comfort found in prophecy and a vision of God. The second reading shows God’s word is reliable because God is truth (John 14:6).  The Gospel reveals hypocrisy can never be the core of true religion.

This week, be specific, be truthful, and say to members of your family or to friends only what is uplifting about them. Do not try to flatter them because flattery is dishonest. But, for one week, speak only about what is good about that particular person. Give only a praise report and watch an incredible transformation take place. Jesus spoke the truth because he is the truth. You can speak only the truth this week because you have the Holy Spirit and his power within you (1 John 4:4) to speak only the truth. Let all who know you know that you are reliable because you speak only the truth.