Friday, December 30, 2011

Saturday of the Octave of Christmas

31 December 2011

Today is also the Feast of St. Sylvester.
A link has been added tracing the history of this saint.

"On the seventh day of Christmas...
      my true love gave to me...
          seven swans a swimming..."

Symbolism: The seven swans a swimming
                    refers to the Gifts of the Holy Spirit:
                    Wisdom, Understanding, Courage,
                    Wonder & Awe, Right Judgement,
                    Knowledge and Reverence

Scripture: "And the Spirit of the Lord will rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and fortitude, the spirit of knowledge and piety."
Isaiah 11:2

Readings for the Day:
     1 John 2:18-21
     Psalm 96
     John 1:1-18

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Friday of the Octave of Christmas

30 December 2011

Today is also the Feast of the Holy Family.
A link has been added with the History of this Feast Day.

"On the sixth day of Christmas...
      my true love gave to me...
          six geese a laying..."

Symbolism: The six geese a laying symbolizes
                    the six days of creation.

Scripture:  "And God saw everything that he had made. And they were very good. And it became evening and morning, the sixth day. And so the heavens and the earth were completed, with all their adornment. And on the seventh day, God fulfilled his work, which he had made. And on the seventh day he rested from all his work, which he had accomplished."
Genesis 1:31 and 2:1-2

Readings for the Day:
     Genesis 15:1-6 21: 1-3
     Psalm 128 or 84
     Hebrews 11:8, 11-12, 17-19
     Luke 2:22-40

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Thursday of the Octave of Christmas

29 December 2011

Today is also the Feast Day of St.Thomas Becket.
A link has been added tracing the history of this saint.

"On the fifth day of Christmas...
       my true love sent to me.....
              five gold rings......"

Symbolism: The five gold rings is symbolic of the
                    Pentateuch or Torah....
                    the first five books of the Bible.
                   (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus,
                    Numbers & Deuteronomy)

Scripture:  "And they read from the book of the law of God, distinctly and plainly, so as to be understood. And when it was read, they did understand."
Nehemiah 8:8

Readings for the Day
     1 John 2:3-11
     Psalm 96
     Luke 2:22-35

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wednesday of the Octave of Christmas

28 December 2011

Today is also the Feast of the Slaughter of the Innocents.
A link has been added with the history of this feast.
Another link has been added with the Coventry Carol,
about the Slaughter of the Innocents.

"On the fourth day of Christmas....
      My true love gave to me.......
            Four calling birds........"

Symbolism: The Four Calling Birds stand for
                    the Four Gospel Writers...
                    Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.

Scripture: "And he said to them:
                “Go forth to the whole world and
                 preach the Gospel to every creature."
                 Mark 16:15

Readings of the Day
     1 John 1:5-22
     Psalm 124
     Matthew 2:13-18

Tuesday of the Octave of Christmas

27 December 2011

Today is also a Feast of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist.
A link has been added giving the history of this saint.

"On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
       three French Hens...."

Symbolism: The three French Hens are symbols for the
                 Three Things that Last: Faith, Hope & Love.

Scripture: "But for now, these three continue:
                  faith, hope, and love.
                  And the greatest of these is love."
                  1 Corinthians 13:13

Readings for the Day:
     1 John 1:1-4
     Psalm 97
     John 20:1a, 2-8

Monday, December 26, 2011

Monday of the Octave of Christmas

26 December 2011

Today is also the Feast of St. Stephen. A link has been added about the life of this martyred saint.

"On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me.....
Two Turtle Doves..."

Symbolism: TWO TURTLE DOVES stands for the two different sections of the Bible....the OLD TESTAMENT and the NEW TESTAMENT.

Scripture: "And Moses returned from the mountain, carrying the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, written on both sides, and accomplished by the work of God. Also, the writing of God was engraved on the tablets."
Exodus 32:15-16
Readings of the Day:
     Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59
     Psalm 31
     Matthew 10:17-22

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord

25 December 2011

Merry Christmas!
Today begins the Church's celebration of the 12 Days of the Christmas Season...the 12 days until the celebration of the Epiphany.

The readings for the day are listed below.

Centuries ago, the song THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS, was used as a way for Christians to share their faith with their children. Each symbol represented an aspect of the faith. To the right is a link explaining the historical grounds for this tradition. We will use the words of the song on this site as our way to share in the celebration of the Birth of our Savior.

"On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
A Partridge in a Pear Tree."

Symbol: The Partridge in a Pear Tree is the sacrificed Savior, Jesus Christ, on the "tree" of the Cross.

Scripture: "And they arrived at the place which is called Golgotha, which is the place of Calvary. And they gave him wine to drink, mixed with gall. And when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it. Then, after they had crucified him, they divided his garments, casting lots, in order to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying: “They divided my garments among them, and over my vestment they cast lots.” And sitting down, they observed him. And they set his accusation above his head, written as: THIS IS JESUS, KING OF THE JEWS. Then two robbers were crucified with him: one on the right and one on the left. But those passing by blasphemed him, shaking their heads, and saying: “Ah, so you would destroy the temple of God and in three days rebuild it! Save your own self. If you are the Son of God, descend from the cross.” And similarly, the leaders of the priests, with the scribes and the elders, mocking him, said: “He saved others; he cannot save himself. If he is the King of Israel, let him descend now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusted in God; so now, let God free him, if he wills him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” Then, the robbers who were crucified with him also reproached him with the very same thing.  Now from the sixth hour, there was darkness over the entire earth, even until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying: “Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”  Then certain ones who were standing and listening there said, “This man calls upon Elijah.”  And one of them, running quickly, took a sponge and filled it with vinegar, and he set it on a reed and he gave it to him to drink. Yet truly, the others said, “Wait. Let us see whether Elijah will come to free him.” Then Jesus, crying out again with a loud voice, gave up his life. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn into two parts, from top to bottom. And the earth was shaken, and the rocks were split apart. And the tombs were opened. And many bodies of the saints, which had been sleeping, arose. And going out from the tombs, after his resurrection, they went into the holy city, and they appeared to many. Now the centurion and those who were with him, guarding Jesus, having seen the earthquake and the things that were done, were very fearful, saying: “Truly, this was the Son of God.”
Matthew 27:33-54

Readings of the Day:
     Isaiah 52:7-10
     Psalm 98
     Hebrews 1:1-6
     John 1:1-18

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Fourth Saturday of Advent & Christmas Eve

24 December 2011

As a note,  the Religious Interactive Page will continue throughout the Christmas Season.
We wish you all a very blessed Christmas!

Jesse Tree Story:  JESUS
Jesse Tree Symbol:  CHI-RO

Scripture:  "And it happened in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, so that the whole world would be enrolled. This was the first enrollment; it was made by the ruler of Syria, Quirinius. And all went to be declared, each one to his own city. Then Joseph also ascended from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,  Then it happened that, while they were there, the days were completed, so that she would give birth. And she brought forth her firstborn son. And she wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them at the inn. And there were shepherds in the same region, being vigilant and keeping watch in the night over their flock. And behold, an Angel of the Lord stood near them, and the brightness of God shone around them, and they were struck with a great fear. And the Angel said to them: “Do not be afraid. For, behold, I proclaim to you a great joy, which will be for all the people.  For today a Saviour has been born for you in the city of David: he is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the Angel a multitude of the celestial army, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will.” And it happened that, when the Angels had departed from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us cross over to Bethlehem and see this word, which has happened, which the Lord has revealed to us.” And they went quickly. And they found Mary and Joseph; and the infant was lying in a manger. Then, upon seeing this, they understood the word that had been spoken to them about this boy. And all who heard it were amazed by this, and by those things which were told to them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, just as it was told to them."
Luke  2:1-20

Commentary:  "For Unto Us a Child is Born..." Gloria in Eccelsius Deo!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fourth Friday of Advent

23 December 2011

Today is also the Feast Day of St. John of Kanty.
A link has been added that will bring you to information about this saint.

Jesse Tree Story: THE MAGI
Jesse Tree Symbol:  THE STAR

Scripture:  "And so, when Jesus had been born in Bethlehem of Judah, in the days of king Herod, behold, Magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying: “Where is he who was born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and we have come to adore him.” Now king Herod, hearing this, was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. And gathering together all the leaders of the priests, and the scribes of the people, he consulted with them as to where the Christ would be born. And they said to him: “In Bethlehem of Judea. For so it has been written by the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, the land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah. For from you shall go forth the ruler who shall guide my people Israel.’ ” Then Herod, quietly calling the Magi, diligently learned from them the time when the star appeared to them. And sending them into Bethlehem, he said: “Go and diligently ask questions about the boy. And when you have found him, report back to me, so that I, too, may come and adore him.” And when they had heard the king, they went away. And behold, the star that they had seen in the east went before them, even until, arriving, it stood still above the place where the child was. Then, seeing the star, they were gladdened by a very great joy. And entering the home, they found the boy with his mother Mary. And so, falling prostrate, they adored him. And opening their treasures, they offered him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having received a response in sleep that they should not return to Herod, they went back by another way to their own region.
Matthew 2:1-12

Commentary:  The symbol of the Magi teaches us that we are all called to worship the Messiah. Our gifts may not be gold, frankincense or myrrh, but they are our gifts....that are to be used to God's greater glory.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fourth Thursday of Advent

22 December 2011

Jesse Tree Story: JOSEPH

Scripture: "Then Joseph, her husband, since he was just and was not willing to hand her over, preferred to send her away secretly. But while thinking over these things, behold, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to accept Mary as your wife. For what has been formed in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall give birth to a son. And you shall call his name JESUS. For he shall accomplish the salvation of his people from their sins.” Now all this occurred in order to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive in her womb, and she shall give birth to a son. And they shall call his name Emmanuel, which means: God is with us.” Then Joseph, arising from sleep, did just as the Angel of the Lord had instructed him, and he accepted her as his wife.”
Matthew :19-24

Commentary:  Through the story of Joseph, we learn to trust in God's Will. Although Joseph could have quietly divorced Mary,he chose instead to stand firm by her side, will God's help....even if he did not understand God's Will.

Fourth Wednesday of Advent

21 December 2011

Today is also the Feast Day of St. Peter Canisius.
I have added a link to the right that will bring you to information about this saint.

Jesse Tree Story:  MARY
Jesse Tree Symbol:  A WHITE LILY

Scripture:  "Then, in the sixth month, the Angel Gabriel was sent by God, to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the name of the virgin was Mary. And upon entering, the Angel said to her: “Hail, full of grace. The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.” And when she had heard this, she was disturbed by his words, and she considered what kind of greeting this might be. And the Angel said to her: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found grace with God. Behold, you shall conceive in your womb, and you shall bear a son, and you shall call his name: JESUS. He will be great, and he will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. And he will reign in the house of Jacob for eternity. And his kingdom shall have no end.” Then Mary said to the Angel, “How shall this be done, since I do not know man?”
And in response, the Angel said to her: “The Holy Spirit will pass over you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. And because of this also, the Holy One who will be born of you shall be called the Son of God. And behold, your cousin Elizabeth has herself also conceived a son, in her old age. And this is the sixth month for her who is called barren. For no word will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word.” And the Angel departed from her."

Luke 1:26-38

Commentary: Mary has become the "New Eve"....the woman who will do what God has asked of her. Through this, she will restore HOPE for the FUTURE.

Monday, December 19, 2011

20 December 2011

Fourth Tuesday of Advent

Jesse Tree Story:  JOHN THE BAPTIST
Jesse Tree Symbol:  SCALLOPED SHELL

Scripture:  "Then, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being procurator of Judea, and Herod tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, under the high priests Annas and Caiaphas: the word of the Lord came to John, the son of Zechariah, in the wilderness. And he went into the entire region of the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, just as it has been written in the book of the sermons of the prophet Isaiah: “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord. Make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low. And what is crooked shall be made straight. And the rough paths shall be made into level ways. And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” Therefore, he said to the crowd that went out in order to be baptized by him: “You progeny of vipers! Who told you to flee from the approaching wrath? So then, produce fruits worthy of repentance. And do not begin to say, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that God has the power to raise up sons to Abraham from these stones. For even now the axe has been placed at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that does not produce good fruit shall be cut down and cast into the fire.” And the crowed was questioning him, saying, “What then should we do?” But in response, he said to them: “Whoever has two coats, let him give to those who do not have. And whoever has food, let him act similarly.” Now the tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, “Teacher, what should we do?” But he said to them, “You should do nothing more than what has been appointed to you.” Then the soldiers also questioned him, saying, “And what should we do?” And he said to them: “You should strike no one, and you should not make false accusations. And be content with your pay.”  Now all were thinking about John in their hearts, and the people were supposing that perhaps he might be the Christ. John responded by saying to everyone: “Indeed, I baptize you with water. But there will arrive one stronger than me, the laces of whose shoes I am not worthy to loosen. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit, and with fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand. And he will purify his threshing floor. And he will gather the wheat into the barn. But the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” Indeed, he also proclaimed many other things, exhorting the people. But Herod the tetrarch, when he was corrected by him concerning Herodias, his brother’s wife, and concerning all the evils that Herod had done, added this also, above all else: that he confined John to prison."
Luke 3:1-20

Commentary: As we continue to wait in our Advent, we are reminded to repent from sin. John plays a part in the prophecies of Isaiah. He was the "voice crying out in the wilderness." Listen...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Fourth Monday of Advent

19 December 2011

Jesse Tree Story:  ELIZABETH
Jesse Tree Symbol:  MOTHER & CHILD

Scripture:  "And in those days, Mary, rising up, traveled quickly
into the hill country, to a city of Judah. And she entered into the
house of Zechariah, and she greeted Elizabeth.
And it happened that, as Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary,

the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the
Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said:
“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of
your womb. And how does this concern me, so that the mother
of my Lord would come to me? For behold, as the voice of your
greeting came to my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
And blessed are you who believed, for the things that were spoken
to you by the Lord shall be accomplished.” And Mary said: “
My soul magnifies the Lord. And my spirit leaps for joy in God
my Saviour. For he has looked with favor on the humility of his
handmaid. For behold, from this time, all generations shall call me blessed.
For he who is great has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
And his mercy is from generation to generations for those who fear him.
He has accomplished powerful deeds with his arm. He has scattered the

arrogant in the intentions of their heart. He has deposed the powerful
from their seat, and he has exalted the humble. He has filled the hungry
with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has taken up his servant Israel, mindful of his mercy,
just as he spoke to our fathers: to Abraham and to his

offspring forever.” Then Mary stayed with her for about three months.
And she returned to her own house."
Luke 1:39-56

Commentary:  Elizabeth is one of the first persons to experience the Joy of Christ. As she feels her child, John, leap in her womb, she knows that her Savior is about to be born.

Fourth Sunday of Advent

18 December 2011

Jesse Tree Story:  ZECHARIAH
Jesse Tree Symbol:  PENCIL & TABLET

Scripture:  "Now the time for Elizabeth to give birth arrived,
and she brought forth a son.And her neighbors and relatives
heard that the Lord had magnified his mercy with her, and so
they congratulated her. And it happened that, on the eighth
day, they arrived to circumcise the boy, and they called him
by his father’s name, Zechariah. And in response, his mother
said: “Not so. Instead, he shall be called John.”
And they said to her, “But there is no one among your

relatives who is called by that name.” Then they made
signs to his father, as to what he wanted him to be called.
And requesting a writing tablet, he wrote, saying:

“His name is John.” And they all wondered. Then,
once, his mouth was opened, and his tongue loosened,
and he spoke, blessing God. And fear fell upon all of
their neighbors. And all these words were made known
throughout all the hill country of Judea. And all those who
heard it stored it up in their heart, saying: “What do you think
this boy will be?” And indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him.
And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit. And he
prophesied, saying: “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel. For he has
visited and has wrought the redemption of his people. And he has
raised up a horn of salvation for us, in the house of David his
servant, just as he spoke by the mouth of his holy Prophets,
who are from ages past: salvation from our enemies, and from
the hand of all those who hate us, to accomplish mercy with our
fathers, and to call to mind his holy testament, the oath, which he s
wore to Abraham, our father, that he would grant to us,
so that, having been freed from the hand of our enemies,

we may serve him without fear, in holiness and in justice
before him, throughout all our days.And you, child, shall be
called the prophet of the Most High. For you will go before
the face of the Lord: to prepare his ways,to give knowledge
of salvation to his people for the remission of their sins, through
the heart of the mercy of our God, by which, descending from on
high, he has visited us,to illuminate those who sit in darkness and
in the shadow of death, and to direct our feet in the way of peace.”
And the child grew, and he was strengthened in spirit. And he was
in the wilderness, until the day of his manifestation to Israel."
Luke 1:57-80

Commentary:  The story of Zechariah calls to mind Isaiah 35, "Say to the fainthearted: 'Take courage and fear not! Behold, your God will bring the vindication of retribution. God himself will arrive to save you.' Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be cleared. Then the disabled will leap like a buck, and the tongue of the mute will be untied." With this, the anticipation for the coming of Christ, our Advent, is increased.

Third Saturday of Advent

17 December 2011

Jesse Tree Story:  NEHEMIAH
Jesse Tree Symbol:  CITY WALL

Scripture:  "Remember me, O Lord, because of Tobiah and Sanballat,
because of their works of this kind. Then, too, Noadiah, a prophetess,
and the rest of the prophets, would have made me afraid. Now the wall
was completed on the twenty-fifth day of the month of Elul, in
fifty-two days. Then it happened that, when all our enemies had heard
of it, all the nations that were around us were afraid, and they were
downcast within themselves. For they knew that this work had been
accomplished by God."
Nehemiah 6:14-16

Commentary:  Nehemiah warned of the transgressions of the House of Israel and hearkened back to the promises made by the chosen people through Moses. He. once again, pleaded with God to forgive these transgressions and to rebuild the Walls of the Holy City, Jerusalem. This passage pre-dates the story of Jesus being troubled that there were sellers and money changers in the Temple.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Third Friday of Advent

16 December 2011

Jesse Tree Story:  HABAKKUK
Jesse Tree Symbol:  STONE WATCHTOWER

Scripture:  "The burden that Habakkuk the prophet saw.
How long, O Lord, shall I cry out, and you will not heed? Shall I shout to you while suffering violence, and you will not save?Why have you revealed to me iniquity and hardship, to see plunder and injustice opposite me? And there has been judgment, but the opposition is more powerful.Because of this, the law has been torn apart, and judgment does not persevere to its conclusion. For the impious prevail against the just. Because of this, a perverse judgment is issued. Gaze among the nations, and see. Admire, and be astounded. For a work has been done in your days, which no one will believe when it is told. For behold, I will raise up the Chaldean, a bitter and swift people, marching across the width of the earth, to possess tabernacles not their own. It is dreadful and terrible. From themselves, judgment and their burden will issue. Their horses are more nimble than leopards and swifter than wolves in the evening; their horsemen will spread out. And then their horsemen will approach from far away; they will fly like the eagle, hurrying to devour. They will all approach towards the prey; their face is like a burning wind. And they will gather captives together like sand. And concerning kings, he will triumph, and sovereign rulers will be his laughingstock, and he will laugh over every fortress, and he will transport a rampart and seize it.Then his spirit will be altered, and he will cross over and fall. Such is his strength from his god. Have you not existed from the beginning, Lord my God, my holy one, and so we shall not die? Lord, you have stationed him for judgment, and you have establish that his strength will be swept away.Your eyes are pure, you do not behold evil, and you cannot look towards iniquity. Why do you look upon the agents of iniquity, and remain silent, while the impious is devouring one who is more just than himself? And you will make men like the fish of the sea and like the creeping things that have no ruler. He lifted up everything with his hook. He drew them in with his dragnet, and gathered them into his netting. Over this, he will rejoice and exult.
For this reason, he will offer victims to his dragnet, and he will sacrifice to his netting. For through them, his portion has been made fat, and his meals elite.
Because of this, therefore, he expands his dragnet and will not be lenient in continually putting to death the peoples.
I will stand firm during my watch, and fix my position over the fortification. And I will observe carefully, to see what might be said to me and what I might respond to my opponent."
Habakkuk 1:1-2:1

"I heard, and my stomach became troubled. My lips trembled at the voice. Let decay enter into my bones and gush forth from within me. Then I may rest in the day of tribulation, so that I may ascend to our people well-prepared. For the fig tree will not flower, and there will be no bud on the vines. The labor of the olive tree will be misleading, and the farmland will produce no food. The sheep will be cut off from the sheepfold, and there will be no herd at the manger. But I will rejoice in the Lord; and I will exult in God my Savior. The Lord God is my strength. And he will set my feet like those of the stag. And he, the victor, will lead me beyond my high places while singing psalms."
Habakkuk 3:16-19

Commentary:  We wait and we watch for the day when Jesus will come again in righteousness.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Third Thursday of Advent

15 December 2011

Jesse Tree Story:  MICAH

Scripture:  "And you, Bethlehem Ephrata, are a little one
among the thousands of Judah. From you will go forth
he who shall be the ruler in Israel, and his landing place
has been set from the beginning, from the days of eternity."
Micah 5:2

Commentary:  The prophet Micah told us where Christ would be born. 
"And you Bethlehem out of you shall He come forth unto me,
that is to be the ruler in Israel." 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Third Wednesday of Advent

14 December 2011

Today is also the Feast Day of St. John of the Cross.
A link to the history of this saint is to the right.

Jesse Tree Story:  DANIEL
Jesse Tree Symbol:  THE HOUR GLASS

Scripture:  "And while I was still speaking and praying and
confessing my sins, and the sins of my people, Israel, and
offering my prayers in the sight of my God, on behalf of the
holy mountain of my God,as I was still speaking in prayer,
behold, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at
the beginning, flying swiftly, touched me at the time of the
evening sacrifice. And he instructed me, and he spoke to me
and said, “Now, Daniel, I have come forth to teach you and
to help you understand. At the beginning of your prayers,
the message came forth, yet I have come to explain it to you
because you are a man who is seeking. Therefore, you must
pay close attention to the message and understand the vision.
Seventy weeks of years are concentrated on your people and
on your holy city, so that transgression shall be finished, and
sin shall reach an end, and iniquity shall be wiped away, and
so that everlasting justice shall be brought in, and vision and
prophecy shall be fulfilled, and the Saint of saints shall be
anointed. Therefore, know and take heed: from the going forth
of the word to build up Jerusalem again, until the Christ leader,
there will be seven weeks of years, and sixty-two weeks of years;
and the wide path will be built again, and the walls, in a time of
anguish. And after sixty-two weeks of years, the Christ leader
will be slain. And the people who have denied him will not be
his. And the people, when their leader arrives, will destroy the
city and the sanctuary. And its end will be devastation, and,
after the end of the war, the desolation will be set up. But he
will confirm a covenant with many for one week of years;
and for half of the week of years, victim and sacrifice will
nearly cease; but there will be in the temple the abomination
of desolation. And the desolation will continue even to the
consummation and the end.”
Daniel 9:20-27

Commentary:   Daniel was told in a vision the exact time when the
Redeemer of the world would come.  "From the going forth to build
up Jerusalem again, unto Christ, there shall be seven weeks and
sixty-two weeks." 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Third Tuesday of Advent

13 December 2011

Today is the Feast Day of St. Lucy. A link  has been added for information about this martyr.

This feast day is a treasured holiday in Sweden. The youngest girl will dress in a white gown with a red sash (signifying martyrdom) and an evergreen crown with candles on her head.
She will awaken the house with special sweet rolls.

Jesse Tree Story: JUDITH
Jesse Tree Symbol:  A CROSS & SPEAR

Scripture:  "And so, when she heard that Uzziah had promised
that he would hand over the city with the passing of five days,
she sent to the elders Chabris and Charmis. And they came to
her, and she said to them: “What is this word, by which Uzziah
has consented to hand over the city to the Assyrians, if within
five days no help arrives for us? And who are you to test the Lord? 
This is not a word that will provoke mercy, but rather one that
may excite wrath and enkindle fury. You have set a time limit
for the mercy of the Lord, and you have established a day for him,
according to your choice. But, since the Lord is patient, let us
be repentant about this same matter, and let us beg his indulgence
with many tears. For God will not threaten like man, nor will he
be inflamed to anger like a son of man. And, for this reason,
let us humble our souls before him, and, continuing to serve
him in a spirit of humility, let us speak to the Lord with tears,
so that he may act according to his will in his mercy toward us.
So then, just as our heart is disturbed by their arrogance, so also
 may we glory in our humility.For we have not followed the
sins of our fathers, who abandoned their God in order to worship
strange gods. Because of this crime, they were given over to
their enemies: to the sword, and to pillaging, and to confusion.
But we know no other God except him. Let us wait with
humility for his consolation, and the Lord our God will
requite our blood by the afflictions of our enemies, and
he will humble all the nations that will rise up against us,
and he will cause them to be without honor.
And now, brothers, because you are the elders among

the people of God, and their very soul hangs upon you,
rescue their hearts by your eloquence, so that they may
remember that our fathers were tested in order to prove
whether or not they truly worshiped their God.
They are obliged to remember how our father Abraham

was tested, and being proved by many tribulations, he was
made the friend of God. So Isaac, so Jacob, so Moses, and
all that have pleased God, passed through many tribulations,
remaining faithful. But those who did not accept the trials
with the fear of the Lord, and who brought forward their
impatience and the disgrace of their murmuring against the Lord,
were exterminated by the exterminator, and they perished by

serpents. And as for us, therefore, let us not revenge ourselves
for these things that we suffer.But, in considering these same
sufferings to be less than our sins deserve, let us believe that
the scourges of the Lord, by which we are corrected like
servants, have occurred for our improvement and not
for our destruction.”
Judith 8:9-27

Commentary:  Judith killed the leader of the Assyrian army with a
sword and saved the Israelite nation. She prefigured Mary whose
"Fiat" brought salvation to all mankind.     

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Third Monday of Advent

12 December 2011

Today is the Feast Day of OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE.
I have added a link to the right that will bring you to the
USCCB site with information about this Feast Day.

Jesse Tree Story:  JONAH
Jesse Tree Symbol:  THE WHALE

Scripture:  "The waters surrounded me, even to the soul.
The abyss has walled me in. The ocean has covered my head."
Jonah 2:6

"For just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale for three days
and three nights, so shall the Son of man be in the heart of the
earth for three days and three nights.
Matthew 12:40

Commentary:  Jesus used the story of Jonah, who was swallowed by a
whale and miraculously disgorged upon the shore on the third day,
to point out his own burial and resurrection. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Third Sunday of Advent

11 December 2011

Today is GAUDETE SUNDAY, Sunday of Rejoicing for Emmanuel will come.
"Rejoice, Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to you oh Israel."

Jesse Tree Story:  EZEKIEL
Jesse Tree Symbol:  A  BROKEN CHAIN

Scripture:  "And you shall say to them: Thus says the
Lord God: Behold, I will take up the sons of Israel,
from the midst of the nations to which they have gone,
and I will gather them together on every side, and I will
lead them onto their own soil. And I will make them
one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel, and
one king will be ruler over all. And they will no longer
be two nations, nor will they be divided any more into
two kingdoms. And they will no longer be defiled by
their idols, and by their abominations, and by all their
iniquities. And I will save them, out of all the settlements
in which they have sinned, and I will cleanse them. And
they will be my people, and I will be their God. And my
servant David shall be the king over them, and they shall
have one shepherd. They shall walk in my judgments, and
they shall keep my commandments, and they shall do them.
And they shall live upon the land that I gave to my servant

Jacob, in which your fathers lived. And they shall live upon it,
they and their sons, and the sons of their sons, even for all time.
And David, my servant, shall be their leader, in perpetuity.
And I will strike a covenant of peace with them. This will

be an everlasting covenant for them. And I will establish them,
and multiply them. And I will set my sanctuary in their midst,
unceasingly. And my tabernacle shall be among them. And I
will be their God, and they will be my people. And the Gentiles
shall know that I am the Lord, the Sanctifier of Israel, when my
sanctuary will be in their midst, forever.”
Ezekiel 37:21-28

Commentary:  The prophet Ezekiel told the Israelites that their
captivity would be broken and salvation would come to them one day. 

Second Saturday of Advent

10 December 2011

Jesse Tree Story:  JEREMIAH
Jesse Tree Symbol:  THE CROSS

Scripture:  "For this city has been a cause of fury and
indignation to me, from the day when they built it,
until this day, in which it will be taken away from my sight,
because of all the wickedness of the sons of Israel and the

sons of Judah, which they have done, provoking me to wrath,
they and their kings, their leaders and their priests and their
prophets, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
And they have turned their backs to me, and not their faces.

And though I taught them and instructed them, rising at first
light, they were not willing to listen, so that they would
receive discipline. And they have placed their idols in the
house where my name is invoked, so that they defiled it."
Jeremiah 31:31-34

Commentary:  Jeremiah's life resembled the life of Jesus in his mission and suffering.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Second Friday of Advent

9 December 2011

Jesse Tree Story:  ISAIAH
Jesse Tree Symbol:  A RAIN CLOUD

Scripture:  "Send down dew from above, O heavens, and
let the clouds rain down upon the just! Let the earth open
and spring forth a savior! And let justice rise up at once!
I, the Lord, have created him."
Isaiah 45:8

Commentary:  He foretold Christ's birth, life, mission and sufferings,
death and resurrection. Once he prayed:  "Let the clouds rain down
on the Just.  Let the earth be opened and bud forth a Savior." 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Second Thursday of Advent

8 December 2011

Today is the Solmnity of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception
of the Blessed Virgin Mary. There is a link to the right that will take
you to a site devoted to this holy day.

Jesse Tree Story:  DAVID
Jesse Tree Symbol:  STAR OF DAVID

Scripture:  " But the Spirit of the Lord withdrew from Saul,
and a wicked spirit from the Lord disturbed him. And the
servants of Saul said to him: “Behold, an evil spirit from
God disturbs you. May our lord order, and your servants,
who are before you, will seek a man skillful in playing a
stringed instrument, so that when the evil spirit from the
Lord assails you, he may play with his hand, and you may
bear it more easily.” And Saul said to his servants, “Then
 provide for me someone who can play well, and bring him
to me.” And one of the servants, responding, said: “Behold,
I have seen the son of Jesse of Bethlehem, a skillful player,
and very strong and robust, a man fit for war, and prudent in
words, a handsome man. And the Lord is with him.” Therefore,
Saul sent messengers to Jesse, saying, “Send to me your son
David, who is in the pastures.” And so, Jesse took a donkey
laden with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a kid from one
of the goats, and he sent them, by the hand of his son David,
to Saul. And David went to Saul, and stood before him. And
he loved him exceedingly, and he made him his armor bearer.
And Saul sent to Jesse, saying: “Let David remain before my

sight. For he has found favor in my eyes.” And so, whenever
the evil spirit from the Lord assailed Saul, David took up his
stringed instrument, and he struck it with his hand, and Saul
was refreshed and uplifted. For the evil spirit withdrew from him."
1 Samuel 16:14-23

Commentary:  David, the king and prophet, descended from
the royal line of Christ.  In David's psalms, he foretold many
things about the coming of the Savior. 

Second Wednesday of Advent

7 December 2011

Jesse Tree Story:  JESSE

Scripture:  "And a rod will go forth from the root of Jesse,
and a flower will ascend from his root."
 Isaiah 11:1

Commentary:  The prophet Isaiah foretold that the Savior
would be born from the root of Jesse and that he would sit
upon the throne of David. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Second Tuesday of Advent

6 December 2011

Jesse Tree Story:  MANNA FROM HEAVEN
Jesse Tree Symbol:  MANNA


ScriptureAnd they set out from Elim. And the entire
multitude of the sons of Israel arrived at the desert
of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the
fifteenth day of the second month, after they
departed from the land of Egypt.
And the entire congregation of the sons of Israel

murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.
And the sons of Israel said to them: “If only we

had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of
Egypt, when we sat around bowls of meat and
ate bread until filled. Why have you led us away,
into this desert, so that you might kill the entire
multitude with famine?”
Then the Lord said to Moses: “Behold, I will rain

down bread from heaven for you. Let the people
go out and collect what is sufficient for each day, s
o that I may test them, as to whether or not they
will walk in my law.
But on the sixth day, let them prepare what they

 use for carrying, and let there be double what they
were accustomed to collect on a single day.”
And Moses and Aaron said to the sons of Israel:

“In the evening, you will know that the Lord has
led you away from the land of Egypt.
And in the morning, you will see the glory of the

Lord. For he has heard your murmuring against the
Lord. But as for us, truly what are we, that you
would whisper against us?”
And Moses said: “In the evening, the Lord will

give you flesh to eat, and in the morning, bread in
fullness. For he has heard your murmurings that you
have murmured against him. For what are we? Your
murmuring is not against us, but against the Lord.”
Moses also said to Aaron: “Say to the whole 

congregation of the sons of Israel, ‘Approach
before the Lord. For he has heard your murmuring.’ ”
And when Aaron spoke to the entire assembly of the 

sons of Israel, they looked out toward the wilderness.
And behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in a cloud.
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
“I have heard the murmuring of the sons of Israel.

Say to them: ‘In the evening, you will eat flesh, and
in the morning, you will be filled with bread. And
you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’ ”
  Therefore, it happened in the evening: quails,

rising up, covered the camp. Likewise, in the morning,
a dew lay all around the camp.
And when it had covered the face of the earth,

it appeared, in the wilderness, small and as if
crushed with a pestle, similar to hoar-frost on the ground.
When the sons of Israel had seen it, they said one to

another: “Manhu?” which means “What is this?”
For they did not know what it was. And Moses
said to them: “This is the bread that the Lord has
given you to eat.
This is the word that the Lord has instructed. Let

each one collect as much of it as is sufficient to eat.
One omer for each head. According to the number
of your souls which live in a tent, so will you take of it.”
And the sons of Israel did so. And they collected:

some more, others less.
And they measured by the measure of an omer.

He who collected more, did not have too much;
nor did he who prepared less, find too little. But
each one gathered according to what they were
able to eat.
And Moses said to them, “Let no one leave any 

of it behind until morning.”
And they did not listen to him, but they left some

of it behind until morning, and it began to swarm
with worms, and it putrefied. And Moses became
angry against them.
Then each one collected, in the morning, as much as

would be sufficient to eat. And after the sun became
 hot, it melted.
But on the sixth day, they collected a double portion,

that is, two omers for each man. Then all the leaders
 among the multitude came, and they discoursed with
And he said to them: “This is what the Lord has spoken:

Tomorrow, the rest day of the Sabbath, has been sanctified
to the Lord. Whatever would be done, do it now. And
whatever would be cooked, cook it now. Then anything
that will have been left over, store it until morning.”
And they did just as Moses had instructed, and it did not

putrefy, nor were there any worms found in it.
And Moses said: “Eat it today, because it is the Sabbath

of the Lord. Today it will not be found in the field.
Gather for six days. But on the seventh day, it is the

Sabbath of the Lord, for which reason it will not be found.”
And the seventh day arrived. And some of the people,

going out to collect it, did not find it.
Then the Lord said to Moses: “How long will you be 

unwilling to keep my commandments and my law?
See how the Lord has given you the Sabbath, and,

because of this, on the sixth day he distributes to 
you a double portion. Let each one remain with
his own, and let no one go forth from his place
on the seventh day.”
And the people kept the Sabbath on the seventh day.
And the house of Israel called its name ‘Manna.’ 

It was like white coriander seed, and its taste was
like wheat flour with honey.
Then Moses said: “This is the word that the Lord

has instructed: Fill an omer of it, and let it be kept
for future generations hereafter, so that they may
know the bread, with which I nourished you in the w
ilderness, when you had been led away from the
land of Egypt.”
And Moses said to Aaron, “Take one vessel, and p

ut manna into it, as much as an omer is able to hold.
And store it in the sight of the Lord, to keep for your 
just as the Lord instructed Moses.” And so, Aaron

placed it in the tabernacle, in reserve.
Now the sons of Israel ate manna for forty years,

until they arrived in a habitable land. With this food
they were nourished, even until they touched the
borders of the land of Canaan.
Now an omer is a tenth part of an ephah.

Exodus 16:1-36

Commentary:  The manna which the Jews ate in the desert
for forty years was a symbol of  Christ, the true Bread
which descended from heaven. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Second Monday of Advent

5 December 2011

Jesse Tree Story:  MOSES

Scripture:  "I will raise up for them a prophet like you from
among their kinsmen, and will put my words into his mouth;
 he shall tell them all that I command him.
If any man will not listen to my words which he speaks

in my name, I myself will make him answer for it."

Deuteronomy 18:18-19

Commentary God said to Moses:  "I will raise up for them a
prophet like you from among their kinsmen. 
And I will put my word in his mouth." 

Second Sunday in Advent

4 December 2011

Jesse Tree Story: JOSEPH

Scripture: One day, when his brothers had gone to
pasture their father's flocks at Shechem,
Israel said to Joseph, "Your brothers, you know, are

tending our flocks at Shechem. Get ready; I will

send you to them." "I am ready," Joseph answered.

"Go then," he replied; "see if all is well with your

brothers and the flocks, and bring back word."

So he sent him off from the valley of Hebron.

When Joseph reached Shechem, a man met him

as he was wandering about in the fields.

"What are you looking for?" the man asked him.

"I am looking for my brothers," he answered.

"Could you please tell me where they are tending the flocks?"

The man told him, "They have moved on from here; in fact,

I heard them say, 'Let us go on to Dothan.'" So Joseph went

after his brothers and caught up with them in Dothan.

They noticed him from a distance, and before he came up

to them, they plotted to kill him. They said to one another:

"Here comes that master dreamer! Come on, let us kill him

and throw him into one of the cisterns here; we could say

that a wild beast devoured him. We shall then see what comes

of his dreams." When Reuben heard this, he tried to save him

from their hands, saying: "We must not take his life. Instead of

shedding blood," he continued, "just throw him into that cistern

there in the desert; but don't kill him outright." His purpose

was to rescue him from their hands and restore him to his father.

So when Joseph came up to them, they stripped him of the

long tunic he had on; then they took him and threw him into

the cistern, which was empty and dry. They then sat down to

their meal. Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites

coming from Gilead, their camels laden with gum, balm and

resin to be taken down to Egypt. Judah said to his brothers:

"What is to be gained by killing our brother and concealing

his blood? Rather, let us sell him to these Ishmaelites,

instead of doing away with him ourselves. After all,

he is our brother, our own flesh." His brothers agreed.

They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.

Some Midianite traders passed by, and they pulled Joseph up

out of the cistern and took him to Egypt. When Reuben went

back to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not in it, he tore

his clothes, and returning to his brothers, he exclaimed:

"The boy is gone! And I--where can I turn?" They took

Joseph's tunic, and after slaughtering a goat, dipped the

tunic in its blood. Then they sent someone to bring the long

tunic to their father, with the message: "We found this.

See whether it is your son's tunic or not." He recognized it

and exclaimed: "My son's tunic! A wild beast has devoured

him! Joseph has been torn to pieces!" Then Jacob rent his clothes,

put sackcloth on his loins, and mourned his son many days.

Genesis 37:12-34

Commentary:  Joseph, another son of Jacob, prefigures Christ. 
He was betrayed by his brothers, imprisoned unjustly and
saved Egypt from death by starvation.  He never lost          
faith and was exulted by God. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

First Saturday of Advent

3 December 2011

Jesse Tree Story:  JUDAH
Jesse Tree Symbol:  THE CROWN & SCEPTRE

Scripture: "The scepter shall never depart from Judah,
or the mace from between his legs, while tribute is
brought to him, and he receives the people's homage."
Genesis 49:10

Commentary:  When Jacob gave the birth right to his
fourth son, Judah, he proclaimed:  "The sceptre shall
not depart from Judah nor the staff from between his
feet until he comes to whom it belongs." 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

First Friday of Advent

2 December 2011

Jesse Tree Story:  JACOB
Jesse Tree Symbol:  A LADDER

Scripture:   "Then he had a dream: a stairway rested on the ground,
with its top reaching to the heavens; and God's messengers were
going up and down on it. And there was the LORD standing beside
him and saying: "I, the LORD, am the God of your forefather
Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you are lying
I will give to you and your descendants. These shall be as plentiful
as the dust of the earth, and through them you shall spread out east
and west, north and south. In you and your descendants all the
nations of the earth shall find blessing."
Genesis 28:12-14

Commentary:   God renewed his promise to Isaac's son,
Jacob, through a dream in which he saw   angels ascending
and descending a ladder which reached from heaven to earth.