By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn
BEFORE YOU BEGIN:
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit. “THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)
FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.
- What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
- From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ 2 SAMUEL 7:1-5, 8-11, 16 FIRST READING
(“I have been with you wherever you went, and
I have destroyed all your enemies before you.”)
- Who is King David, and from what did the Lord give him rest? 2 Samuel 7:1, 1 Sam. 16:11-13, and 1 Sam. 17:12-15
- What did King David say to Nathan, the prophet? 2 Samuel 7:2
- Where does the Spirit of God dwell? 1 Corinthians 3:16
- What did Nathan say to King David, and who did he say was with him? 2 Samuel 7:3
- When did the Lord speak to Nathan, and where did the Lord tell him to go and what to say? 2 Samuel 7:4-5
- When did the angel of the Lord appear to the shepherds, and when did Jesus pray? Luke 2:8-9 and Luke 6:12
Personal – Do you ever hear the Lord speak to you in the night? What does he say, and what is your response?
- What does the Lord of hosts say he has taken from David, and what has he made him for Israel? 2 Samuel 7:8
- What does the Lord say he has done for David, and what does he say he will make him? 2 Samuel 7:9
- What does the Lord say he will do for his people Israel, and for what reason? 2 Samuel 7:10
- From what will the Lord give them rest, and what does he reveal to them? 2 Samuel 7:11
- Who did Jesus say will be our enemies? Matthew 10:35-36
- What will happen to his house, kingdom, and throne? 2 Samuel 7:16
Personal – In what way has God given you rest from your enemies, or are you undergoing attacks from your enemies? How do you deal with the attacks?
THIRD DAY READ ROMANS 16:25-27 SECOND READING
(“…made known to all nations to bring about the obedience of faith.”)
- What can God do for us, according to the Gospel and proclamations of Jesus Christ? Romans 16:25
- What is God able to accomplish in us? Ephesians 3:20
- What is Paul’s Gospel? 2 Timothy 2:8
- How did Paul receive the Gospel preached by him? Galatians 1:11-12
- How has the Gospel been manifested? Romans 16:26
- By whose command has the Gospel been made known to all the nations, and what is this to bring about? Romans 16:26
- What have we received to bring about the obedience of faith? See Romans 1:4-5
- What is evidence of our faith? 2 Corinthians 9:12-13
- Through whom is glory given forever and ever? Romans 16:27
- How are all things in Jesus? Romans 11:36
- How do we see the glory of God? John 11:40
Personal – How have you been strengthened by the gospel proclaimed this week, or by prophetic writings in the bible? What has been the evidence of this strengthening?
FOURTH DAY READ LUKE 1:26-38 GOSPEL
(“You have found favor with God.”)
- Who was sent from God, what month was it, and where did he go? Luke 1:26-27
- Who was betrothed to a man named Joseph, and of what house? Luke 1:27
- What happens when evidence of a girl’s virginity is not found? Deuteronomy 22:20-21
- According to the angel, who was with Mary, and what is she among women? Luke 1:28
- Who are the blessed, and how have they been blessed? Galatians 3:8
- How did Mary feel at the words of the angel, and what did she wonder? Luke 1:29
- What did the angel tell Mary not to do, what has she found with God, and what would she conceive? Luke 1:30-31
- What name would she give him, who would be great, and what would he be called? Luke 1:31-32
- Where would be his reign, and what was Mary’s response? Luke 1:33-34
- Who did the angel say would come upon Mary, what would the power of the Most High do to her, and what would the holy offspring be called? Luke 1:35
- What did the angel say about her kinswoman, Elizabeth, and what is possible with God? Luke 1:36-37
- What things are possible for God? Luke 18:27
- What makes nothing impossible for us? Matthew 17:20
- What did Mary say she was, and what did she say be done? Luke 1:38
Personal – In what way have you experienced the empowering of the Holy Spirit within your being? How have you yielded in faith as Mary did to a messenger of the Lord?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 89:2-5, 27, 29
(“You are my father, my God; the rock, my savior.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 89:2-5, 27, 29.
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
2 SAMUEL 7:1-5, 8-11, 16
God had made a covenant with David and promised him that his family line would go on forever. This promise would be fully realized when Jesus was born. God made certain that a prophet was living during the reign of each of the kings of Israel. This was the first time that Nathan, the Prophet, was mentioned, and like all prophets, he urged the people to follow God and to communicate God’s laws and plans to the king.
God told David that he was called from being a simple peasant who tended sheep to become a great warrior-king. He would be used to unify and lead Israel and to destroy its enemies. God did not want a warrior with blood on his hands to build his sacred temple. David being obedient, made the plans and collected the materials so that the temple would be built by the next king, who would be David’s son, Solomon.
It is very important that we, too, should be like David and recognize and be satisfied with the roles which God gives all of us. God rejected David’s request, but this does not mean God rejected David. David’s request was also good, but God said no. God was planning something in David’s life that was much bigger than allowing him the prestige of building a temple.
God is waiting to do the same thing with you and me. He wants you to say “Yes” to him, just like David did. God promised David that his line would live forever. David’s earthly dynasty ended four centuries later. But Jesus Christ, a direct descendant of David, was the ultimate fulfillment of this promise.
Have you prayed with very good intentions only to hear God say no? This is not rejection, but God’s way of fulfilling a greater purpose in your life. Remember always to let go and let God!
Paul is sharing with the people of his time and also of our time that it is wonderful to be alive and to be part of God’s mystery of saving the Gentiles. Paul was rejoicing in his role as an instrument in the unfolding plan of salvation. All the Old Testament prophecies were coming true and, through Jesus Christ, God’s mystery was fully revealed. Paul had not been to Rome, but he knew that the city was the center of great political and religious influence. He was getting ready to leave Jerusalem, which was the center of Jewish life, and his message was a message of hope.
Today we live in a world that has been vastly reduced by television. We can view all the major events that happened on that very day. We have the potential for widespread influence or wrenching conflict. We are called to be part of that revelation of God’s mystery. Our part is to live our lives in such a manner that brings a response that most times is very dramatic. Conflict is always potentially an obstacle in the path of the one who brings light into the darkness.
The “mystery” of Christ exploded across the entire known world. No longer was man subjected to heritage being the only way to heaven. Paul brought the “Good News” and that was that God loved the world (you) so much that He gave up His Son on the cross, so that all who believed in His Son would have eternal life. This mystery was revealed in Christ’s death and resurrection. You are that ambassador of Christ and you will go from place to place and bring His “message” of hope to all who are hurting. We need to reflect on how much of our own life reflects unity, service and love of Jesus Christ.
Today’s gospel is a story of surrender and empowerment. The angel Gabriel who promises the birth of Jesus to Mary is the same angel who appeared to the prophet David more than 500 years earlier. Joseph and Mary lived in a small town named Nazareth. The area had a bad name because the Roman army barracks were located there, and the people were forced to work as servants to the soldiers. The people of Nazareth were very distrustful of most, and women were under the domination of the men at that time. Women were little more than possessions like the goats and sheep, etc. A woman’s main contribution was to have children and take care of the home. It seemed highly unlikely that God would use two women for a major task. But God chose Mary for one of the most important acts of obedience ever demanded of anyone.
You may feel that you are in a place in your life where God could not possibly use you for service. Do not limit God’s choices; He can and will use you if you will only let Him. God’s blessings or choosing does not automatically bring instant fame or favor. His choosing of Mary for the honor of being the mother of the Messiah would lead to much pain. Her peers would ridicule her, and her fiance’ would come close to leaving her. Her son would be rejected and finally murdered. But through her Son, Jesus Christ, would come the world’s only hope. This is why Mary has been called “Blessed among women.” Her surrender led to our victorious salvation. Her “Yes Lord” opened the doors to heaven for all who would believe in her Son.
A young woman answered God’s call by saying, “Do unto me according to thy word.” (Luke 1:38). We can learn from Mary that love is obedience to God’s call. If our blessings lead to sorrows, think of Mary and wait patiently for God to finish working out His plan. Mary let the Holy Spirit come upon her, and she was empowered to have a child. Mary was a young unmarried girl who risked disaster. Her story about being made pregnant by the Holy Spirit had the risk of her being considered crazy as well. Do not wait to see the bottom line before offering your life to God. Offer yourself willingly, like Mary did, even when the results look disastrous.
The first reading revealed God as a God who keeps His promises. The second reading showed that we are instruments in the revelation of Jesus Christ. The Gospel tells us to offer ourselves completely to God, to be radical.
This week, share with your family and friends the power of God’s love by visiting a shelter for unmarried pregnant women. Then take a risk and offer your support to her and her soon-to-be-born child.