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?


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




(“Seek the Lord all you humble of the Lord.”)

  1. Who must seek the Lord? Zephaniah 2:3


  1. What happens to those who humble themselves?

2 Chronicles 7:14

Job 22:29

Psalm 25:9

Proverbs 3:34

Proverbs 11:2

Sirach 3:18

1 Peter 5:5


  1. What happens to those who do not humble themselves?

2 Chronicles 33:23, 24

Sirach 10:15

Isaiah 13:11

Daniel 4:34


  1. What does it mean to humble yourself?

Ezra 8:21

Sirach 2:17

Sirach 18:20

Philippians 2:3-5


  1. What happens to God through those that are humble? Sirach 3:19


  1. From whom do we learn to become humble? Matthew 11:25, 29


  1. How should Christians act toward one another? 1 Peter 3:8


Personal – Read Philippians 2:3, 4. Put your name in the following first and third blank spaces, and insert the name of a person you have the most trouble getting along with, in the second and fourth blank spaces:


(1)_________, never act out of rivalry or conceit; rather think humbly of (2)__________as superior to (3)_________, looking to (4)__________interest rather than to my own.


  1. What three things must they seek? Zephaniah 2:3


  1. What may happen to these people on the day of the Lord’s anger?  Zep 2:3. Also see Psalm 2:11, on how not to be      affected by God’s anger


  1. What will he leave in your midst and in what shall they take refuge?   Zephaniah 3:12


  1. What three things shall they not do, and what shall they do?      Zephaniah 3:13


Personal – Are you one of God’s remnants? Do others see you as one of his remnants? What can you do to better glorify God? Meditate on this.




(“If anyone wants to boast, let him boast about the Lord.”)

  1. Who are among those called, and what are they to consider?     1 Corinthians 1:26


  1. What are these brothers not considered? 1 Corinthians 1:26


Personal – Who do you consider the well-born today? Who are the influential?


  1. Who did God choose to shame the wise, and who did God single out of this world to do what? 1 Corinthians 1:27


  1. How does the world see these people, and what was God’s reason for choosing the low born?   1 Corinthians 1:27-29


  1. Who has God chosen according to James 2:5?


  1. Who has given us life in Christ Jesus? 1 Corinthians 1:30


  1. Was this new life in Christ Jesus accomplished by anything we have done? Ephesians 2:8-9


  1. Fill in the following blanks: He has made him our ________ and also our _________, our _________________and our

_____________ (1 Corinthians 1:30)


  1. Who gives wisdom, what is wisdom, and to whom does God give wisdom?   1 Kings 5:9, Ephesians 1:9, Job 28:28, Psalm 19:8


  1. As Jesus grew in size and strength with what was he filled?      Luke 2:40


  1. With what does righteousness begin and end, and how will we receive justice?  Romans 1:17, Luke 18:7


  1. What leads us to righteousness, and what must we do with our      bodies to sanctify them?   Romans 6:16-19


  1. How have we been sanctified? Hebrews 10:10


  1. How have we been redeemed? Ephesians 1:7


  1. How did we deserve to be justified by the gift of God through the redemption of Christ? Romans 3:24


Personal – At times, how do you find yourself boasting about your accomplishments? Think about this today, and when you begin to do this, discipline your mind to think on what Jesus has done for you in that situation.



FOURTH DAY             READ MATTHEW 5:1-12               GOSPEL

(“Happy are the poor in spirit.”)

  1. When Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down, who gathered around him?  Matthew 5:1


  1. What did Jesus begin to do, and where did Jesus do his teaching?

Matthew 5:1-2

Mark 1:21

Mark 4:1

Luke 5:3


Personal – How and where do you teach about God’s ways? How can you follow Jesus’ example to teach whenever a need arises? In what way have you learned about how Jesus acted in certain situations to be able to share that with your spouse, your children, your friends, and those with whom you work?


  1. Who did Jesus tell his disciples would teach them when he was not there?   Luke 12:12


  1. Whose is the kingdom of God? Matthew 5:3; Luke 6:20


  1. Who shall be consoled? Matt 5:4; Luke 6:21; Psalm 126:5


  1. Who shall inherit the land? Matt 5:5; Psalm 37:11; Proverbs 2:21


  1. What will happen to those who hunger and thirst for holiness? Matt 5:6, Luke 6:21, Proverbs 21:21


  1. Mercy shall be whose, and who shall see God? Matt 5:7-8


  1. Who shall be called sons of God, and to whom does the reign of God belong?  Matthew 5:9-10, 1 Peter 2:20


  1. Whose reward is great in heaven? Matthew 5:12


  1. When being persecuted, how should we act? Whom did they persecute before us and in what way?  Matt 5:12, James 1:2, 2 Chronicles 36:16



FIFTH DAY              READ PSALM 146:6-10

(“The Lord sets captives free.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 146:6-10.

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


How can you apply this to your life?




ZEPHANIAH 2:3, 3:12-13

The “day of Yahweh” was coming, the day when God would punish all disobedient nations. Judah, because of her pride and rebelliousness, was very much included. A small remnant of God’s people would survive the day of wrath if they became obedient to God’s commands. This same warning is issued for our benefit today. The chosen people (the Israelites) did not really believe this prophecy and their nation was subjected to incredible violence. We are that remnant today and we are called more than ever to bring his Word to those around us. Many people today are still waiting for a Messiah who will bring them recognition, wealth and power.

When Jesus finally came they were not ready for him and resented him. They condemned him to death on the cross. That cross became the banner around which the few faithful Jews and Gentiles (remnant) rallied. His kingdom on earth spread and in just 30 years after his death, Christianity was known and practiced in the entire civilized world.

Today the world is turning more and more into a pagan world, and the warnings of Zephaniah are ringing in our ears. God is opposed to the proud and arrogant of every generation. He will always bless and protect the poor and the humble because they believe in him. Self-reliance and arrogance found no place in God’s kingdom then and neither will it find any place in God’s kingdom today. Zephaniah shows us that only when we faithfully follow and obey God’s Word can we really ever be truly happy.

The Good Shepherd looks over his flock and provides them with the protection that they need. They know they can lie down in safety and rest in peace because he is always present among them. We need not fear any man or nation because Jesus tells us that through him, all things are possible (Philippians 4:13).



Paul tells us how fortunate we are to have a God who loves us so much that he chose to become just like us in every way but sin. He tells us that God calls us to be one of his children, not because of what we have done or what we may own or even how smart we may be. In fact, God has made salvation available to all, especially the lowly and humble. All anyone needs is faith in order to be saved. Salvation comes from believing that Jesus Christ died so that all of our sins would be washed away by his blood. Jesus’ death allowed us to become holy and spotless before God. We are justified in faith by what Jesus did on that cross, not by anything we ever did. This is tremendously Good News for us, especially those of us who are struggling in our own lives through sickness, poverty, tyranny or being from the wrong side of town. It’s incredible to realize that Jesus came to earth to die for all men and women, rich or poor, weak or strong, young or old.

Not everyone accepted Jesus and the result is that many are searching in the wrong direction for the peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Faith is a response to the power and presence of the living God in our lives. Salvation is free, but it is not inherited. Each one of us has to personally accept the invitation from Christ. Paul’s words are great comfort and hope to the people in our world today. Much of the world is suffering through famine, tyranny, and lack of respect for human dignity. Jesus is present among all of us and he seeks out the oppressed and offers them full partnership in his kingdom in heaven and encourag­es all of us to bring that kingdom into reality here on earth now.


MATTHEW 5:1-12

Jesus gave this sermon on a hillside near Capernaum, and it is believed that this “Sermon on the Mount” probably lasted several days. Jesus broke through the traditional view of the law and talked about the attitudes of men. He stressed that it is as important to be, as to do. We might even call them “The Be-Attitudes” of Christianity. Tremendous crowds were following Jesus, he was the talk of everyone. He preached with such simpleness and yet with much authority.

The disciples were Jesus’ closest companions, and all of this attention certainly must have made them feel important, popular and maybe even prideful. Being with Jesus gave them plenty of notoriety, as well as being faith healers of a sort. Jesus warned them about the temptations they would face as his associates, and some think his sermon on the mount may have been directed to his disciples, as well as everyone else in the crowd.

We hear a lot of comments today that if you follow Jesus’ teaching, you will be successful, healthy, wealthy and wise. Jesus really tells us to expect not fame or fortune; but to expect mourning, hunger, and persecution. Jesus tells us not to look for our reward in this life. We will be rewarded but not necessarily here on earth. The beatitudes are a standard of conduct for all Christian believers. There is a strong contrast in values. The kingdom values deal with eternal life and worldly values deal with what is temporary. They contrast the superficial faith of the Pharisees with the real faith Jesus wants.

Today we are faced with the same challenge. We need to really take a look at our values and see if they are worldly values or kingdom values. The beatitudes cannot be a multiple choice, pick what you want and leave the rest. To be a real follower of Christ these have to be your be-attitudes.



The first reading talks about a day of warm healing for the humble and a day of wrath for the proud. The second reading shows us how God has chosen ordinary people to be eligible for salvation. In the Gospel, we hear the attitudes of Christ are to be our attitudes.

This week, let us reach out and give comfort to someone in our family. It might be nothing more than a letter of sympathy or a get well card. It could also be visiting someone who has lost a loved one and who is lonely.




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?


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



SECOND DAY             READ ISAIAH 8:23‑9:3        FIRST READING

(“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.”)

  1. What lands has he degraded? See if you can locate this on      your bible map Isaiah 8:23


  1. What happened in the end, what land has he glorified, and what shall be taken away?   Isaiah 8:23


  1. What happened to the people who walked in darkness? Isaiah 9:1


  1. Who brightens the darkness about us? 2 Samuel 22:29


  1. What must we do to come out of the darkness and into the light, according to the following scriptures:

Isaiah 58:10

John 8:12

Acts 26:18

Romans 13:12‑14.

Personal ‑ How have you come out of the darkness into the light? 1 Peter 2:9 states, “You, however, are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people he claims for his own to proclaim the glorious works of the one who called you from dark­ness into his marvelous light.” Meditate on this.


  1. What has he brought them or what is the result of walking in the light?   Isaiah 9:2


  1. How did the following experience this abundant joy and in whom did they find this joy?


David (Psalm 16:7‑11)

Mary (Luke 1:46-47)

John the Baptist (John 3:29‑30)

Paul (Philippians 1:18)


  1. What had burdened them? Isaiah 9:3


  1. What does Jesus tell us about his yoke? Matt 11:28‑30


Personal ‑ In what way have you found life become heavy and burden­some? Write out the above verse and meditate on it.


  1. What got smashed and what comparison is made here? Isaiah      9:3, Exodus 18:1




(In the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ agree in what you say.”)

  1. Who is being appealed to, by whom, and in whose name? 1 Corinthians 1:1, 10


  1. What is Paul begging them to do? 1 Corinthians 1:10


  1. How are we united with Christ? Romans 6:1‑5


  1. What unites us in mind in the following scriptures?

1 Corinthians 5:4

Philippians 2:2‑4

Colossians 2:2


  1. What was Paul informed about and by whom? 1 Cor 1:11


  1. List the four men the people were quarreling over, and tell who they were. 1 Corinthians 1:12


  1. __________________________ John 1:36, 41


  1. __________________________ John 1:42


  1. __________________________ Acts 18:24‑25


  1. __________________________ 1 Corinthians 1:1


  1. What was Paul’s response to what they were quarreling about?   1 Corinthians 1:13


  1. What does God’s Word tell us about quarreling? Romans 13:12‑13


Personal ‑ How do you prevent yourself from quarreling with others over God’s Word? By studying his Word, you will find yourself quarreling less and standing more on the truths of his Word.


  1. Who sent Paul and what did he send him to do? 1 Corinthians 1:17


  1. How is he not to preach the Gospel? 1 Cor 1:17, 1 Corinthians 2:4


  1. What would happen to the cross if Paul spoke with “worldly wisdom? ” 1 Corinthians 1:17


Personal ‑ When you speak about God to your family, friends, work acquaintances, what do you talk about? Does it end up in quarreling and arguing or do you do as Paul did in 1 Cor. 2:1‑5? Re­flect on this.


FOURTH DAY             READ MATTHEW 4:12‑23               GOSPEL

(“Repent, the kingdom of God is close at hand.”)

  1. What did Jesus hear and what did he do? Matthew 4:12


  1. Where did he go when he heard the news about John? Matthew 4:13


  1. What was his reason for going there? Matthew 4:14


  1. What did Jesus begin to proclaim from that time on? Matthew 4:17


  1. What was John’s message in preparing for Jesus’ coming? Matthew 3:2


  1. What did Jesus say is at hand? Matthew 4:17, Luke 17:20‑21


Personal ‑ What does it mean to you to reform your life? What do you think “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” means? Do you have areas in your life that need changing? Sit before your heavenly Father and talk to him about this.


  1. Where was Jesus walking and what was he watching? Matthew 4:18


  1. What did he say to the two brothers? Matthew 4:19


  1. What did God say through the prophet Jeremiah? Jeremiah 16:16


Personal ‑ What must we do to become fishers of men? Fill in the blanks: __________ __________ ____________ and I will make you fishers of men. Matthew 4:19


  1. What was Peter and Andrew’s response to Jesus’ invitation and did they stop to think about it?   Matthew 4:20


  1. As Jesus walked along, what did he notice? Matthew 4:21


  1. What were the two brothers doing and who was with them?


  1. Fill in the blanks. Matthew 4:21-22.

He _________________them, and ______________ they abandoned

their boat and _______________to_________________him.


  1. Where did Jesus tour and what did he do in their synagogues? Matthew 4:23


  1. There were three things that Jesus did according to Matthew 4:23. What were they?

Personal ‑ In your prayer time alone with Jesus, ask him to teach you his truths through his Word. Ask him to help you understand the good news of the kingdom and ask him for the gift of healing so that those in your family, your friends and your work ac­quaintances may come to better know him. Share this with some­one.



FIFTH DAY           READ PSALM 27:1, 4, 13‑14

(“The Lord is my light and my salvation.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14.

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


How can you apply this to your life?




ISAIAH 8:23‑9:3

This passage begins with the results of Israel being invaded by Assyria and ends with Isaiah’s prophecy about the coming Messiah. Isaiah was given a prophecy by the Lord that Israel and Syria, both very strong enemies of Judah, would fall to the Assyrians. Judah rejected this warning and experienced God’s wrath and punishment. Isaiah was even considered a traitor because he told the people to trust only in God, not some power­ful conquering nation to the north. He even predicted the fall of Judah and watched the nation plunge into darkness and fear.

The people refused to consult God about their future and even began to blame God for their trials. Today many people still blame God for their problems of health, marriage, work, etc. We need to ask ourselves why do some act like the people in scripture (Is. 8:16‑21) and try to pass the blame off onto others. The darkness that the people were thrust into does not mean death necessarily, it may mean despair, trouble, anguish, defeat, rejection. Isaiah tells us in his prophecy (9:1‑6) that a Messiah is coming and despair, sorrow and trouble will come to an end.

The people in those times probably felt very much as most of us do when we are going through trials, and that is, will it ever end? We can say just what it says in Psalm 23, “Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” The Lord never promised us there would be no troubles, but he did promise that he would be right there to go through them with us, and lead us to safety.

We need to be like that today and we must follow him if we are to be led safely through the times of tribulation and trial. God promises a light to all those who live in the valley of the shadow of death and the light’s name is Jesus.


                   I CORINTHIANS 1:10‑13, 17

We see in today’s passage that Paul is not only an evangel­ist who preached God’s Word and helped form Christian community, but he also kept a life-time interest in their spiritual welfare. He begins by appealing to them as brothers in the Lord. We need to ask ourselves when we come up against quarreling or bickering, do we appeal to the one who has hurt us in the name of the Lord? We are to love our neighbor as ourself (Mt. 22:37) and that means to care about one another and to be ready to forgive one another in the name of the Lord.

Human nature is still the same today in that people are still fighting over who is the most important, or who deserves the most recognition. It had only been a few years since Jesus’ crucifix­ion, and factions and divisions were already forming in the new expanding church leaders. Personal pride was entering into their desire to follow Christ on the road to heav­en. The pride and ambition shown in today’s message not only inflicts damage on that community but it has given ground to long-standing division in the Christian church even today.

The divi­sions in the church are a scandal to the followers of Christ and a tremendous obstacle to the conversion of unbelievers, which is the result of the actions of proud and arro­gant men. We cannot call ourselves humble when we forget, by our actions, that Christ died for us all and that Christ is not and will not be divided. We are all being called to live out the life of Christ who, because of our baptism, now lives within us. In our prayers, we can ask God to give us the grace to come together in his saving name and bring his love to our neighbor which can result in the work of reunion between God and all of his children. God will surely hear and respond to the call that comes from his humble children.


MATTHEW 4:12‑23

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he left Judah and returned home to Nazareth, his hometown. He didn’t stay long because of opposition and apathy of the local hometown people. He began his preaching ministry by going from one small town to another. He left Nazareth and headed for Capernaum which was to become his home base during his ministry in Galilee. Capernaum was a very busy city and Jesus’ message would be heard by many people. He also would be able to have more resources and support for his ministry. Isaiah’s prophecy (9:1‑2) was fulfilled in that Jesus was the light to the land of Zebulun and Naphtali, the region of Galilee in which Capernaum was located.

Matthew uses the phrase “kingdom of heaven” out of respect to the Jews because in reverence they did not pronounce God’s name. Jesus probably meant the kingdom of heaven is near because when Jesus is in a man’s heart, the kingdom of God is definitely near. We need to know that we do not have to go out and search the wide world over to find God. He is right here within, and all we need to do is call out his name, confess with our lips and believe in our heart (Romans 10:10‑17). Jesus began his ministry where John the Baptist left off, and the message is the same today, “Turn from sin and turn to God.” When we become followers of Christ, we turn away from our self‑centeredness and self‑control.

Jesus called the brothers to come follow him and become fishers of men. He is calling us to do the same things. Are you going to fish or cut bait? These men probably had already heard about Jesus through his preaching in the area but after personally experienc­ing his love, and hearing his call, they immediately responded to the invitation.

Jesus is teaching, preaching, and healing today as much as he was in today’s Gospel. He is teaching us how to bring others to him and be saved. He is preaching the Good News through his people today, like you and me. He certainly is heal­ing people today, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Jesus preached the Good News to everyone who wanted to hear it. The Good News is that God became man, that God is with us in the Holy Spirit, and that he cares very much for us. Rejoice and be glad that there is no sin or problem too great or too small for him to handle. Today, as in the days of Isaiah, Jesus the Messi­ah is a “Light to the Land.”




The first reading calls the Messiah to be “A light to the Land” to bring his people out of darkness. Paul tells us in the second reading that pride and ambition have caused great obstacles in the church. In the Gospel, we hear the kingdom of heaven is near because Jesus becomes present in our hearts when he died on the cross so that we might have eternal life.

This week, be a light to your family by being extra caring and compassion­ate. It could be volunteering to baby sit, wash the family car, do laundry, visit a sick relative or someone else you know that has no one else to care for them.



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?


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



SECOND DAY READ ISAIAH 49:3, 5‑6                                FIRST READING

(“My God is now my strength.”)

  1. Who is the Lord’s servant? To whom is the Lord speaking and what does he show through them? Isaiah 49:3


  1. Who is being referred to as “Israel” in the following scriptures?

Genesis 35:9‑11

Exodus 4:21‑22

Exodus 5:1


Personal ‑ Do you see yourself with the name “Israel?” Reread Isaiah 49:3 and put Jesus’ name in place of Israel and then put your name in that place. Meditate on this.


  1. Who has spoken? Isaiah 49:5


  1. Where did he form Jesus and as what did he form him? Isaiah      49:5, Psalm 139:13


  1. Who would be brought back to the Lord and who would be gathered to him? Isaiah 49:5


  1. What is Jesus made in the sight of the Lord? Isaiah 49:5


  1. Who is Jesus’ strength? Isaiah 49:5


  1. What did God make Jesus to the nations and where will his salvation reach? Isaiah 49:6


  1. What did Jesus say and what will happen to those who follow him? John 8:12


Personal ‑ In question 4, 6, and 7 above, put your name along the side of Jesus’ name and reread the question and answer.



THIRD DAY READ 1 CORINTHIANS 1:1‑3                              SECOND READING

(“To you who have been consecrated in Christ Jesus and called to be a holy people.”)

  1. By whom was Paul called and what was he called to be? 1 Corinthians 1:1


  1. To whom did Paul and Sosthenes send greetings? 1 Corinthians 1:2


Personal ‑ Do you see “the church of God” as a building in which you worship God, or do you see “the church of God” made up of yourself and others who believe in God?


  1. Read the following and tell to whom it refers as the Church: Acts 9:31 Acts 20:28 Ephesians 5:23


  1. Where was “the church of God” located in this particular greeting by Paul and Sosthenes? 1 Corinthians 1:2 See whether you can locate this on your bible map


  1. How do we become consecrated in Christ Jesus? John 17:17‑19


  1. What kind of people are we called to be? 1 Cor 1:2


  1. What happens when we call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ? Romans 10:13


  1. What comes from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ? 1 Corinthians 1:3


  1. How do you receive grace? 2 Peter 1:2, 2 Timothy 1:9


Personal ‑ How do you see yourself as one called by God to be holy, and consecrated by him daily? How do you spend time alone with the Lord, talking with him, sharing your fears and anxieties as well as your joys and peaceful times? Take at least ten minutes each day this week without any distractions and talk to him, your Lord.




(“It is he who is to baptize with the Holy Spirit.”)

  1. When John caught sight of Jesus coming toward him, what did he exclaim?   John 1:29


  1. Read Exodus 12:1‑13 concentrating on verses 3, 6, 12 and 13. What was done to atone for the sin of idolatry (Exodus 12:12), or worshipping false gods?


  1. Why is Jesus referred to as “the Lamb of God?” Isaiah 53:7, 8 and 12


  1. What is the sin of the world? Exodus 12:12


  1. What did John say and into what position did he put Jesus? John 1:30


  1. In John’s statement, “After me is to come a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me;” would this indicate that Jesus was born before him? Luke 1:34‑36


Personal ‑ In your own words, write out what this passage means to you.  John 1:30


  1. What was John’s reason for baptizing? John 1:31


  1. What was John’s testimony? John 1:32, Isaiah 11:2, Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:10 and Luke 3:21‑22


  1. When we receive the Spirit of God, what else do we receive? Isaiah 11:2


  1. John says he did not recognize Jesus. Who told him who Jesus was? John 1:33


  1. When did God reveal to him what he was to do and where did he reveal this to him? Luke 3:2


  1. What did God reveal to John? What did John see for himself and to what did he testify? John 1:33-34


Personal ‑ How has God revealed to you that Jesus is the Chosen One? Do you feel you are one of God’s chosen ones? Take time this week to reflect on the way God has chosen you and for what purpose.



FIFTH DAY                       READ PSALM 40:2, 4, 7‑10

(“To do your will, O my God, is my delight.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 40:2, 4, 7‑10.

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


How can you apply this to your life?




ISAIAH 49:3, 5‑6

The prophet speaks of a mysterious figure known as the servant of the Lord. Christians have recognized Jesus in this description. Today the servant speaks of his mission. The servant reveals his mission as a mission of comfort, compassion, and restoration. He is to make Israel a light to all the nations and that light shall be seen unto the ends of the earth. This was a time of joy because the captives were being brought back to Israel and the hand of the Lord, the Holy One of Israel had created it (Isaiah 41:20).

The communities were still very poor and labored under many difficulties and affliction; so this message of comfort was well received. Isaiah tells us in these verses that the servant is clearly identified with the entire nation. Isaiah shows us how the servant, by suffering through the miseries of being exiled from their homeland and still being faithful to God, is identified with the people of Israel as their ideal representative (verse 3). Upon returning to their homeland the exiles find that rebuilding the temple was not enough. Instead, a call to holiness and worship of the one true God was needed to bring a sense of fullness to the people. The servant will be a healing visible light to all of Israel and all the other nations, Jew or Gentile.



Paul begins his letter in the ordinary style of the day, the first century equivalent of “Dear Corinthians.” However, his conventional greeting includes a reminder that they are part of the Lord’s plan for the world.

In the first three verses of this letter the name of Jesus Christ appears no fewer than four times. This was going to be a difficult letter, because it was going to deal with a difficult situation. Paul’s first and only thought was that of Jesus Christ.

Sometimes the church, or even ourselves, try to deal with a difficult situation by means of a book of laws and in the spirit of human justice. Often we try to call on our own mental powers. Paul did none of these things. To his trying situation he brought in Jesus Christ, and it was in the light of the cross and the love of Christ that he dealt with it.

Paul speaks of the church of God at Corinth. It was not the church of Corinth; it was the church of God. We might do well to imitate Paul in this respect and become more aware of the reality which unites us, and become less aware of the local differences which divide us.

Paul tells us something about the individual Christian. 1. He is consecrated in Christ. To be consecrated to Christ is to be one for whom Jesus died, and to know and to live out that reality. 2. We are called to be God’s dedicated people. The word “Hagios” means to be holy or saintly. If a person has been “called” by God, he must show that he is fit in life and in character for that holy service. The Christian is called into a community whose boundaries include heaven and earth. We are all called to be “Hagios” (saints).


JOHN 1:29‑34

Once again the fourth Gospel tells us that John is paying homage to Jesus. He calls him the title which has become an integral part of our liturgy, “The Lamb of God.”

John may have been thinking of the Passover lamb because he was the son of a priest and he would know all the rituals of the temple and its sacrifices. The Passover feast was not very far away (John 2:13). The blood of the slain lamb protected the people in the homes of the Israelites on the night they left Egypt (Exodus 12:1‑13). The blood of the Passover lamb delivered the Israelites in Egypt from death. Jesus was considered to be the one true sacrifice who can deliver us from death. Paul, too, thought of Jesus as the Passover Lamb (1 Cor. 5:7) in that there is a deliverance only Jesus Christ can win for us.

Two great pictures of the lamb are presented in the Prophets. Isaiah has the great picture of the one who was brought “like a lamb to the slaughter” (Isaiah 53:7). Jeremiah writes, “But I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter” (Jeremiah 11:19). Isaiah 53 later became to the church one of the most precious forecasters in all the Old Testament. There is sheer wonder in the phrase “The Lamb of God.” John used this phrase twenty-nine times in Revelation, and it has become one of the most precious titles of Christ. This title sums up the love, sacrifice, suffering, and triumph of Jesus Christ.

Something happened at Jesus’ baptism that convinced John that Jesus was indeed the Son of God. In Palestine, the dove was a sacred bird and it was not hunted or eaten. The dove also symbolizes Israel, God’s people formed by the Holy Spirit. The creative Spirit of God was moving across the face of the waters (Genesis 1:2)). The rabbis said that the Spirit of God moved and fluttered like a dove. The picture of the dove was one that Jesus knew and loved. The Spirit was power, power like a mighty rushing wind. The Spirit was God; the coming of the Spirit into a man’s life was the coming of God.

Baptism means to dip or to submerge. It can be used for clothes being dipped into dye. John’s baptism meant cleansing. It meant a man was being washed from impurities that clung to him. Jesus’ Baptism was a Baptism of the Spirit, and it meant his life was strengthened with power. The church has included the same Baptism that Jesus experienced in the practice of our faith. We, too, are the beloved of our heavenly Father and his favor rests on us.





The first reading tells us about a servant whose mission is to make Israel a light to all the nations. The second reading shows us that Paul responded to his trying situation in the light of the cross, and with the love of Christ. The Gospel reveals to us that Jesus is the true “Lamb of God.”

John the Baptist’s job was to point people to Jesus. Our job is to point them to Christ and show that it is he whom they seek. This week, lead someone to Christ by intercessory prayer, introduce them to this bible study or bring someone to your church. Try to be specific and gentle.



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?


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



SECOND DAY             READ ISAIAH 60:1-6         FIRST READING

(“But upon you the Lord shines.”)

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


  1. 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?



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


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


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


  1. Who is the light? John 8:12


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


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


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


  1. 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


  1. What was revealed? Ephesians 3:3


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


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


  1. 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.


  1. 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


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


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


  1. 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.



FOURTH DAY             READ MATTHEW 2:1-12               GOSPEL

(“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


  1. 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?


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


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


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


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


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


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


  1. 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.


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


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


  1. 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?


  1. 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.



FIFTH DAY              READ PSALM 72:1-13

(“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.



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?


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




(“The Lord bless you and keep you!”)

  1. To whom was the Lord speaking, and to whom did he tell him to speak?   Numbers 6:22-23


  1. Who was Aaron, and what did the Lord say to Moses about him? Exodus 4:14-16


  1. About what was Moses to speak to them? Numbers 6:23


  1. What six things were included in the blessing? Numbers 6:24-26


  1. Who will be blessed? Proverbs 28:20


  1. What brings wealth? Proverbs 10:22


  1. Who was blessed by the Lord, what did he do for her, and what was her response?   Luke 1:46-55


  1. What has the Lord given us? Psalm 118:27


  1. Who did Jesus say he was? John 8:12


  1. What shall be invoked upon the Israelites, and what will the Lord do?   Numbers 6:27


Personal – In what way have you blessed a family member or a friend? What do others see shining forth from your face?




(“…God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, `Abba, Father!'”)

  1. Under what was God’s Son born? Galatians 4:4


  1. What did God’s Son do? Galatians 4:5


  1. What happens to everyone who believes in Jesus? John 3:16


  1. Who did the law come through, and what did Jesus bring? John 1:17


  1. Who are the children of God, and who bears witness that we are?   Romans 8:14-16


  1. What proof do we have that we are his children? Galatians 4:6


  1. To whom did he give the power to become children of God? John 1:12-13


  1. Why are the children of God not known to the world? 1 John 3:1


  1. What are we no longer, and what has he made us? Galatians 4:7


  1. With whom are the children of God joint heirs? Romans 8:17


Personal – In what way have you cried out to “Abba,” Daddy, this week? What have you inherited from God? What are your parents leaving you as an inheritance, or what are you leaving your children as an inheritance?



FOURTH DAY              READ LUKE 2:16-21                GOSPEL

(“And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”)

  1. When the shepherds went off in haste, who did they find? Luke 2:16
  2. Why did Mary lay her firstborn Son in a manger? Luke 2:7
  1. What did the shepherds do when they saw the child? Luke 2:17


  1. What was the reaction of those who were told the message? Luke 2:18


  1. What amazed or astonished the people listening to Jesus? Matthew 7:28-29


Personal – What have you seen and made known to others since you have been studying God’s Word?


  1. What did Mary do? Luke 2:19


  1. What did Mary do when Jesus became lost and then told her he was about his Father’s business?   Luke 2:49-51


Personal – What have you personally pondered in your heart that God revealed to you, and how have you followed Mary’s example?



  1. How did the shepherds return? Luke 2:20


  1. What was the reaction of the paralytic and the people upon the healing?   Luke 5:25-26


  1. What happened on the eighth day, and to whom had the name been given?  Luke 2:21, Luke 1:31


  1. What has his name done for us? Acts 4:12


  1. To what is the name Jesus inherited far superior? Hebrews 1:3-4


Personal – What name has been given to you, and of what is it a reflection?



FIFTH DAY             READ PSALM 67:2-6, 8

(“…may he let his face shine upon us.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 67:2-6, 8.

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


How can you apply this to your life?




NUMBERS 6:22-27

When Mary said, “Generation after generation shall call me blessed of God,” she was recognizing and accepting the gift God had given her (Luke 1:48). If Mary had denied her incredible position, she would have been throwing God’s blessing back at him.

In today’s reading we are being shown that a blessing was one way of asking God’s divine favor to rest upon others. All of God’s blessings had their fulfillment in the coming of Christ on earth. Mary received the fullness of these promises and blessings when she said, “Be it done unto me according to thy Word.” At that very moment she conceived Jesus Christ in her womb. As proof of this blessing we have the angel Gabriel’s words as he salutes her as “full of grace.” She has the full friendship of God, and no man or woman had ever received the fullness of God’s blessing until then.

A blessing conveys that God will (1) bless and protect, (2) be pleased because of us, (3) be gracious, merciful, and compas­sionate to us, (4) show favor to us, and (5) give us peace. When we ask God to bless us and others, we are asking him to do these five things. We will have the full friendship of God as we ask him to bless others as well as ourselves.

Today, on this special feast, let us thank God for all the blessings that he has given Mary, the Mother of God. We have all profited through her blessings; and the title, Mother of God, that the church confirmed in her regard at the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD, demonstrates all this.



                        GALATIANS 4:4-7

In today’s reading Paul uses the example of slavery to show that before Christ came and died for our sins, people were in bondage to the law. By becoming enslaved to the law, people thought they could be saved. At just the right time, God sent Jesus to earth to die for our sins, and we who were once slaves are now God’s very own children with an intimate relationship with him. For centuries the Jews were wondering when their Messiah would come, but God’s timing was perfect.

We may sometimes wonder if God will ever respond to our prayers, but we must never stop trusting or give up hope. At the right time, he will respond to us. Jesus was born of a woman and was subject to God’s law and fulfilled it. His death brought freedom for us who were enslaved to sin so we could be adopted into God’s family. Under the Roman law, an adopted child was guaranteed all legal rights to his father’s property. As adopted children of God, we share with Jesus all rights to God’s resour­ces.

As God’s heirs, we can claim what he has provided for us; which is our full identity as his children. The Old Testament was based on the law, but was only a shadow of things to come. Chris­tianity is the fulfillment of the Old Testament. Chris­tianity is the reality, and the reality is God has become man, and man is now free and has been adopted into God’s family as rightful heirs to the kingdom.


LUKE 2:16-21

What a tremendous sign of comfort and hope it is when we read that the first visitors to lay eyes on the long-awaited Messiah were simple, hard-working, uneducated, common folks called shepherds. Even in birth Jesus has shown us the ultimate in humility, and his choice of those who were part of his birth experience were of humble origins themselves.

Can you imagine the thoughts that flowed through Mary’s head as she observed the shepherds coming to pay homage to her Son? She certainly was aware of the power and beauty of the angels singing praises of glory to God to their new born king. The Jewish custom was when a new child was born the local musicians would come by and sing some congratulatory songs. Mary had, not earthly music­ians to sing to her son, but she had a choir of angels to fill the air with heavenly sounds.


On this very special day, we can honor Mary in her blessed role as Mother of God. God himself honored her by making her the mother of his Son. Jesus, in one of his last acts on this earth before dying on the cross, made his mother our mother. It was through no merit of her own that she earned this dignity. This honor was given as a sheer gift of God. When we honor her, we are in fact thanking God for his gift of her to us.



The first reading explains that a blessing is God giving someone his protection and direction. The second reading tells how the Old Testament was a time of preparation, and the New Testament was a time of the reality of God entering into human history as a human being named Jesus. The Gospel reveals Jesus beginning his life on earth humbly, and in humility he went to his death on a cross for us.

This week, let the humility of the shepherds be your model of conduct during the Christmas holidays. Bring to your family, friends, and co-workers, the gift of listening, the gift of gentleness, and the gift of humility. Mary was a role model for the whole world, for both male and female.

Christmas (Dec. 25th) – Cycle A, B, 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?


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



SECOND DAY             READ ISAIAH 52:7-10         FIRST READING

(“Your God is King”)

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


  1. 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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


  1. 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?



FOURTH DAY              READ JOHN 1:1-18                 GOSPEL

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


  1. 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


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


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


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


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


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


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


FIFTH DAY              READ PSALM 98:1-6

(” 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 (Rom. 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 us to take a part in making his message known in our family and our 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 to 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!

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



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



FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.


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


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



SECOND DAY                                 READ ISAIAH 7:10‑14                            FIRST READING

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

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


  1. Who is Ahaz? Isaiah 7:1


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



THIRD DAY                                     READ ROMANS 1:1‑7                       SECOND READING

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



FOURTH DAY                              READ MATTHEW 1:18‑24                                        GOSPEL

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

John 14:13

Acts 2:21 and 4:12

Philippians 2:9‑10


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



FIFTH DAY                                       READ PSALM 24:1‑6

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

Read and meditate on Psalm 24:1‑6.

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


How can you apply this to your life?




ISAIAH 7:10-14

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

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

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



ROMANS 1:1‑7

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

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


MATTHEW 1:18‑24

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

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

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

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



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

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

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




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


FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

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



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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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



THIRD DAYREADJAMES5:7‑10                      SECOND READING

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



FOURTH DAY                                                      READ MATTHEW 11:2‑11                              GOSPEL

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



FIFTH DAY                                                         READ PSALM 146:6‑10

(“The Lord sets captives free.”)

Read and meditate on Psalm 146:6-10.

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

How can you apply this to your life?


SIXTH DAY                                                         READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY

ISAIAH 35:1‑6, 10

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

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

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


JAMES 5:7‑10

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

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

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


MATTHEW 11:2‑11

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

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

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

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



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

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

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





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



FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

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


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


SECOND DAY                                  READ ISAIAH 11:1‑10                           FIRST READING

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

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


  1. Who is the sprout? Luke 3:23‑33


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



THIRD DAY                                     READ ROMANS 15:4‑9                     SECOND READING

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



FOURTH DAY                                READ MATTHEW 3:1‑12                                        GOSPEL

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

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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



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

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

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

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


How can you apply this to your life?




ISAIAH 11:1‑10

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

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

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

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


ROMANS 15:4‑9

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

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

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

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



MATTHEW 3:1‑12

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

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

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

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



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

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


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





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


FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.

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


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



SECOND DAY                                    READ ISAIAH 2:1‑5                             FIRST READING

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


THIRD DAY                                   READ ROMANS 13:11‑14                   SECOND READING


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Ephesians 6:10-17

Helmet ‑

Breastplate ‑

Belt ‑

Footgear ‑

Shield ‑

Sword ‑


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


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


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


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


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


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



FOURTH DAY                              READ MATTHEW 24:37‑44                                      GOSPEL

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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




FIFTH DAY                                      READ PSALM 122:1‑9

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

Read and meditate on Psalm 122:1‑9.

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


How can you apply this to your life?




ISAIAH 2:1‑5

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

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

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

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

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



ROMANS 13:11‑14

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

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

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



MATTHEW 24:37‑44

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

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

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



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

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