Friday, December 30, 2016

Saturday in the Octave of Christmas 2016

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

"On the seventh day of 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

Friday in the Octave of Christmas 2016

~Today, we also celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. A link has been added about this Feast.~

"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:
Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14
Psalm 128
Matthew 2:13-16, 19-23

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Thursday in the Octave of Christmas 2016

Today is also the Memorial for St. Thomas Becket.
A link has been added about 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

Wednesday in the Octave of Christmas 2016

Today is the Ordinary Feast of the Holy Innocents.
Two more links have been added. One with information
about the Slaughter of the Innocents and another with the
Coventry Carol, a Christmas song
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 1:5-2:2
Psalm 124
Matthew 2:13-18

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Tuesday in the Octave of Christmas 2016

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, 2016

Monday in the Octave of Christmas 2016

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

Today, being St. Stephen's Day, is the day on which the song GOOD KING WENCESLAS was to have taken place. King Wenceslas was a kind, Christian king who was martyred, as well. A link has been added about his life and another link has been added where you may hear the carol about this caring 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

Christmas Day 2016

Merry Christmas!
(The readings for the day are listed below.)
Today begins the Church's celebration of the 12 Days of the Christmas Season...the 12 days until the celebration of the Epiphany.

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 are links 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. (If you click on the link for the OLQHS Religious Interactive File on our webpage, you can download printable ornaments for the 12 days of Christmas with the meanings on the back.)

"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, 2016

Fourth Saturday of Advent ~ Christmas Eve 2016

~A special video link has been added for Christmas Eve showing the Real Meaning of Christmas. Please take a moment to enjoy this video.~

Jesse Tree Story: JESUS
Jesse Tree Symbol: CHI-RO
(The symbol of the Chi-Rho is a Greek word that makes up the first three letters of  the name of Christ. It is considered the royal monogram of Jesus.)

Scripture: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. He was with God in the beginning. All things were made through Him, and nothing that was made was made without Him. Life was in Him, and Life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent by God, whose name was John. He arrived as a witness to offer testimony about the Light, so that all would believe through him. He was not the Light, but he was to offer testimony about the Light. The true Light, which illuminates every man, was coming into this world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world did not recognize him. He went to his own, and his own did not accept him. Yet whoever did accept him, those who believed in his name, he gave them the power to become the sons of God. These are born, not of blood, nor of the will of flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh, and he lived among us, and we saw his glory, glory like that of an only-begotten Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John offers testimony about him, and he cries out, saying: “This is the one about whom I said: ‘He who is to come after me, has been placed ahead of me, because he existed before me.’ ” And from his fullness, we all have received, even grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one ever saw God; the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he himself has described him.
John 1:1-18

Commentary: Jesus is the climax of the family tree. Jesus is the Savior if the world!
  "For Unto Us a Child is Born..." Gloria in Eccelsius Deo!

Readings for the Day:
2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8-12, 14-16
Psalm 89
Luke 1:67-79

Friday, December 23, 2016

Fourth Friday of Advent 2016

~The O ANTIPHON for today is...O COME, EMMANUEL
O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law
Come to save us, Lord our God!
Come to save us, Lord our God!

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

Mary was the temple God prepared for his Son, more beautiful than Solomon's magnificent temple in Jerusalem.  She was the woman whose seed, Christ, would crush the serpent's head, as God had promised. 
The symbol is the lily, a sign of purity.
Readings for the Day:
Malachi 3:1-4, 23-24
Psalm 25
Luke 1:57-66

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Fourth Thursday of Advent 2016

     O Come, Desire of Nations, Bind
     In one the hearts of all mankind
     Bid every strife and quarrel cease
     And fill the world with Heaven's peace.

Jesse Tree Story: JOSEPH

Scripture: "Now the procreation of the Christ occurred in this way. After his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they lived together, she was found to have conceived in her womb by the Holy Spirit. 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. And he knew her not, yet she bore her son, the firstborn. And he called his name JESUS.
Matthew 1:18-25

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. Joseph gave Jesus the care, love and protection of a human father.

Readings of the Day:
1 Samuel 1:24-28
1 Samuel 2
Luke 1:46-56

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Fourth Wednesday of Advent 2016

     O Come, Thou Dayspring from on high
     And cheer us by thy drawing nigh
     Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
     And death's dark shadow put to flight

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

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, at 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 swore 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: John, the last and greatest of all the prophets, prepared the way for the Messiah.

Readings of the Day:
Songs of Songs 7:8-14
Psalm 33
Luke 1:39-45

Monday, December 19, 2016

Fourth Tuesday of Advent 2016

     O Come Thou Key Of David, Come
     And Open Wide Our Heavenly Home
     Make Safe the Way That Leads On High
     That We No More Have Cause to Sigh

Jesse Tree Story: ELIZABETH
Jesse Tree Symbol: A DOVE

Scripture: "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."
Luke 1:41-42

Commentary:  Elizabeth was the cousin of Mary. She has conceived a child in old age through a miracle. The child in her womb, John the Baptist, leaps with joy when Mary,  pregnant with Jesus, arrives.  Filled with the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth cries out, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”

Readings of the Day:
Isaiah 7:10-14
Psalm 24
Luke 1:26-38

Fourth Monday of Advent 2016

     O Come, thou Rod of Jesse's Stem,
     From every foe deliver them
     That trust Thy mighty power to save
     And give them victory o'er the grave.

Jesse Tree Story:  THE THREE MAGI
Jesse Tree Symbol:  A LIGHTED CANDLE

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 three Magi look for Jesus, guided by the light of a star, shining brightly above his birthplace.  They prostrate themselves before the manger and present their gifts.  The white candle symbolizes Christ; the glow reminds us of the halo of  light that signifies his divinity and power." 

Readings of the Day:
Judges 13:2-7, 24-25
Psalm 71
Luke 1:5-25

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Fourth Sunday of Advent 2016

     "O Come, o Come Thou Lord of Might,
      Who to thy tribes on Sinai's height,
      In ancient times didst give the law,
      In cloud, and majesty, and awe."

Jesse Tree Story:  GIDEON
Jesse Tree Symbol: PITCHER

Scripture: "And when they had sounded their trumpets in three places around the camp, and had broken their water pitchers, they held the lamps in their left hands, and sounded the trumpets in their right hands. And they cried out, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” And each one was standing in his place throughout the camp of the enemies. And so the entire camp was in confusion; and they fled away, wailing and crying out."
Judges 7:20-21

God revealed his power to Gideon, who came from a poor family, by letting his army of 300 men defeat more than 100,000 at Midian.  Gideon followed the  Lord’s instruction to have his men approach the town with their torches hidden under pitchers.  The people of Midian were so startled when the pitchers were broken that many began fighting among themselves.  Gideon became a leader and judge, helping his people obey God’s true laws.
The symbol is a pitcher.
Readings for the Day:
Isaiah 7:10-14
Psalm 24
Romans 1:1-7
Matthew 1:18-24

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Third Saturday of Advent 2016

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." 

Readings of the Day:
Genesis 49:2, 8-10
Psalm 72
Matthew 1:1-17

Friday, December 16, 2016

Third Friday of Advent 2016

Jesse Tree Story: DANIEL
Jesse Tree Symbol: PROPHET'S TABLET

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." 

Readings of the Day:
Isaiah 56:1-3, 6-8
Psalm 67
John 5:33-36

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Third Thursday of Advent 2016

Jesse Tree Story: JUDITH
Jesse Tree Symbol: TENT

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. 

Readings of the Day:
Isaiah 54:1-10
Psalm 30
Luke 7:24-30

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Thirs Wednesday of Advent 2016

 ~Today is also the Memorial of St. John of the Cross. Click on the link to the right to find out more about this saint.~

Jesse Tree Story: JONAH
Jesse Tree Symbol: WHALE

Scripture: "The waters surrounded me, even to the soul. The abyss has walled me in. The ocean has covered my head.
"Whoever is not with me, is against me. And whoever does not gather with me, scatters."
Jonah 2:6; Matthew 12:30

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

Readings of the Day:
Isaiah 45:6-8, 18, 21-25
Psalm 85
Luke 7:18-23

Monday, December 12, 2016

Third Tuesday of Advent 2016

~Today is also the Memorial for St. Lucy. Please click on the link to the right for more information about this saint.~

Jesse Tree Story: HABAKKUK
Jesse Tree Symbol: A WATCH TOWER

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 Chaldeans, 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. 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 Jesus. 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 1:1-2:1, 3:16-19

Commentary: The prophet Habakkuk stood upon the watch tower and waited for the Anointed
One, revealing to God’s people that the Lord would end violence and wickedness.

Readings for the Day:
Zephaniah 3:1-2, 9-13
Psalm 34
Matthew 21:28-32

Third Monday of Advent 2016

~Today is also the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Please refer to the link at the right for more information about this Feast.~

Jesse Tree Story: JEREMIAH
Jesse Tree Symbol: VEIL OF TEARS

Scripture: "And the word of the Lord came to me, saying: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. And before you went forth from the womb, I sanctified you. And I made you a prophet to the nations.” And I said: “Alas, alas, alas, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am a boy.” And the Lord said to me: “Do not choose to say, ‘I am a boy.’ For you shall go forth to everyone to whom I will send you. And you shall speak all that I will command you. You should not be afraid before their face. For I am with you, so that I may deliver you,” says the Lord. And the Lord put forth his hand, and he touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me: “Behold, I have placed my words in your mouth. Behold, today I have appointed you over nations and over kingdoms, so that you may root up, and pull down, and destroy, and scatter, and so that you may build and plant.

Listen to the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all you families of the house of Israel. Thus says the Lord: “What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they would draw far away from me, and would walk after emptiness, and would become empty? And they have not said: ‘Where is the Lord, who caused us to ascend from the land of Egypt; who led us through the desert, through an uninhabited and impassable land, through a land of drought and of the image of death, through a land in which no one walked and in which no man lived?' And I led you into the land of Carmel, so that you would eat from its fruit and from its excellence. And having entered it, you defiled my land, and you turned my inheritance into an abomination. The priests have not said: ‘Where is the Lord?’ And those who held the law did not know me. And the pastors betrayed me. And the prophets prophesied in Baal and followed idols. Because of this, I will still contend in judgment against you, says the Lord, and I will dispute with your sons. Cross over to the isles of Kittim, and gaze. And send to Kedar, and consider diligently. And see if anything like this has ever been done. See if a nation has ever changed their gods, though certainly those are not gods. Yet truly, my people have exchanged their glory for an idol. Be astonished at this, O heavens, and be utterly desolate, O gates of heaven, says the Lord. For my people have done two evils. They have forsaken me, the Fountain of living water, and they have dug for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that are unable to hold water.
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: “Stand at the gate to the house of the Lord, and preach this word there, and say: Listen to the word of the Lord, all you of Judah who enter through these gates to adore the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Make your ways and your intentions good, and I will live with you in this place. Do not choose to trust in lying words, saying: ‘This is the temple of the Lord! The temple of the Lord! The temple of the Lord!’ For if you direct your ways and your intentions well, if you exercise judgment between a man and his neighbor, if you do not act with deceit toward the new arrival, the orphan, and the widow, and if you do not pour out innocent blood in this place, and if you do not walk after strange gods, which is to your own harm, then I will live with you in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers from the beginning and even forever. Behold, you trust in false words, which will not benefit you, so as to steal, to murder, to commit adultery, to swear falsely, to offer libations to Baal, and to go after strange gods, which you do not know. And you arrived and stood before me in this house, where my name is invoked, and you said: ‘We have been freed because we carried out all these abominations.' So then, has this house, where my name has been invoked, become a den of robbers in your eyes? It is I, I am, I have seen, says the Lord. Go to my place in Shiloh, where my name has lived from the beginning, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel. And now, because you have done all these works, says the Lord, and because I have spoken to you from your morning rising, and because I was speaking, but you were not listening, and because I have called you, but you have not responded: I will do to this house, in which my name is invoked, and in which you have confidence, even to this place which I gave to you and to your fathers, just as I have done to Shiloh. And I will cast you away from my face, just as I have cast away all your brothers, the entire offspring of Ephraim.”
Jeremiah 1:4-10,  2:4-13, 7:1-15

Commentary: Jeremiah's life resembled the life of Jesus in his mission and suffering.  The Lord speaks to Jeremiah while he is in exile, describing his grief as an endless fountain of tears because his people have turned to worshipping idols.

Readings for the Day:
Zechariah 2:14-17
Judith 13:18-19
Luke 1:26-38

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Third Sunday of Advent 2016

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

Jesse Tree Story: ISAIAH
Jesse Tree Symbol: A HOT EMBER

Scripture: "Listen to the Word of the Lord, you leaders of the people of Sodom. Listen closely to the law of our God, o people of Gomorrah: The multitude of you sacrifice, what is that to me, says the Lord? I am full. I do not desire holocausts of rams, nor the fatlings, nor the blood of calves and of lambs and he-goats. When you approach before my sight, who is it that requires these things from your hands, so that you would walk in my courts? You should no longer offer sacrifice in vain. Incense is an abomination to me. The new moons and the Sabbaths and the other feast days, I will not receive. Your gatherings are iniquitous. My soul hates your days of proclamation and your solemnities. They have become bothersome to me. I labor to endure them. And so, when you extend your hands, I will avert my eyes from you. And when you multiply your prayer, I will not heed you. For your hands are full of blood. Wash, become clean, take away the evil of your intentions from my eyes. Cease to act perversely. Learn to do good. Seek judgment, support the oppressed, judge for the orphan, defend the widow. And then approach and accuse me, says the Lord. Then, if your sins are like scarlet, they shall be made white like snow; and if they are red like vermillion, they shall become white like wool. If you are willing, and you listen to me, then you will eat the good things of the land. But if you are not willing, and you provoke me to anger, then the sword will devour you. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken."
Isaiah 1:10-20

Commentary: The prophet Isaiah is called to holiness, but he is afraid he is not worthy of revealing the living God. Isaiah sees angels around the throne of the Lord and one of them takes a hot ember with tongs and touches it against his lips, enabling him to go forth and deliver God's Word.

Readings of the Day:
Isaiah 35:1-6, 10
Psalm 146
James 5:7-10
Matthew 11:2-11

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Second Saturday of Advent 2016

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

Scripture: "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.”
1 Samuel 16:17-19

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. 

Readings for the Day:
Sirach 48:1-4, 9-11
Psalm 80
Matthew 17:9A,10-13

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Second Friday of Advent 2016

Jesse Tree Story: SAMUEL
Jesse Tree Symbol: SHEPHERD'S CROOK

Scripture: " And Samuel said to Jesse, “Could the sons now be completed?” But he responded, “There still remains a little one, and he pastures the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse: “Send and bring him. For we shall not recline to eat, until he arrives here.” Therefore, he sent and brought him. Now he was ruddy, and beautiful to behold, and with a stately face. And the Lord said, “Rise up, anoint him! For it is he.” Therefore, Samuel took the horn of oil, and he anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord was guiding David from that day and thereafter. And Samuel rose up, and he went away to Ramah."
1 Samuel 16:11-13

God sent his prophet Samuel to David, a young shepherd boy, to anoint him as the new King of Israel. 
Readings for the Day:
Isaiah 48:17-19
Psalm 1
Matthew 11:16-19

Second Thursday of Advent 2016

~Today is also the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Please click on the link to the right for more information.~

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

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. 

Readings for the Day:
Genesis 3:9-15, 20
Psalm 98
Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12
Luke 1:26-38

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Second Wednesday of Advent 2016

~Today is also the Memorial of St. Ambrose. Click on the link to the right to find out more about this saint.~

Jesse Tree Story: JOSHUA
Jesse Tree Symbol: RAM HORN TRUMPET

Scripture: And after the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord, it happened that the Lord spoke to Joshua, the son of Nun, the minister of Moses, and he said to him: “Moses, my servant, has died. Rise up, and cross this Jordan, you and all the people with you, into the land which I will give to the sons of Israel. I will deliver to you every place that the step of your foot will tread upon, just as I said to Moses. From the desert and from Lebanon, even to the great river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, as far as the great sea opposite the setting of the sun, shall be your border. No one will be able to resist you during all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so will I be with you. I will not leave you, nor will I forsake you. Be strengthened and be steadfast. For you shall divide by lot, to this people, the land about which I swore to their fathers that I would deliver it to them. Therefore, be strengthened and be very steadfast, so that you may observe and accomplish the entire law, which Moses, my servant, instructed to you. You may not turn aside from it to the right, nor to the left. So may you understand all that you should do. The book of this law shall not depart from your mouth. Instead, you shall meditate upon it, day and night, so that you may observe and do all the things that are written in it. Then you shall direct your way and understand it. Behold, I am instructing you. Be strengthened, and be steadfast. Do not dread, and do not fear. For the Lord your God is with you in all things, wherever you may go. And Joshua instructed the leaders of the people, saying: “Cross through the midst of the camp, and command the people, and say: ‘Prepare your food supplies. For after the third day, you shall cross the Jordan, and you shall enter so as to possess the land, which the Lord your God will give to you.’ ”

 Now Jericho was closed as well as fortified, out of fear of the sons of Israel, and no one dared to depart or to enter. And the Lord said to Joshua: “Behold, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and all the strong men. Have all the warriors circle the city once each day; you shall do so for six days. Then, on the seventh day, the priests shall take the seven trumpets, which are used on the jubilee, and they shall precede the ark of the covenant. And you shall circle the city seven times, and the priests shall sound the trumpets. And when the voice of the trumpet sounds longer and with interruptions, and it increases in your ears, then all the people shall cry out together with a very great shout, and the walls of the city shall fall to the foundation, and they shall enter it, each from a place opposite where they are standing.” Then Joshua, the son of Nun, called the priests, and he said to them, “Take the ark of the covenant, and let seven other priests take the seven trumpets of the jubilee, and advance before the ark of the Lord.” He also said to the people, “Go, and circle the city, armed, preceding the ark of the Lord.” And when Joshua had finished his words, and the seven priests sounded the seven trumpets before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and all the armed soldiers went ahead, the remainder of the common people followed the ark, and the sound of the trumpets grew louder everywhere. But Joshua had instructed the people, saying, “You shall not cry out, nor shall your voice be heard, and no word at all shall proceed from your mouth, until the day arrives on which I will say to you, ‘Cry out, and shout.’ " Thus, the ark of the Lord circled the city once each day, and returning to the camp, it remained there. And so, with Joshua, arising in the night, the priests took the ark of the Lord, and seven of them took the seven trumpets, which are used in the jubilee, and they preceded the ark of the Lord, walking and sounding the trumpets. And the armed men went before them, and the remainder of the common people followed the ark, and they were blaring the trumpets. And they circled the city on the second day, once, and they returned to the camp. They did so for six days. Then, on the seventh day, rising at first light, they circled the city, just as had been ordered, seven times. And at the seventh circling, when the priests sounded the trumpets, Joshua said to all of Israel: “Shout! For the Lord has delivered the city to you. And let this city be anathema, with all the things that are within it, before the Lord. May only Rahab the harlot live, with all who are with her in the house. For she hid the messengers whom we sent. But you must be careful that you do not touch any of those things, as you have been instructed, for then you would be guilty of transgression, and all the camp of Israel would be under sin and would be troubled. But whatever gold and silver there will be, and vessels of brass or of iron, let these be consecrated to the Lord and be stored in his treasuries.” Therefore, with all the people shouting, and the trumpets blaring, after the voice and the sound increased in the ears of the multitude, the walls promptly fell to ruin. And each one climbed up at the place which was opposite where he was. And they seized the city.
Joshua 1:1-11, 6:1-20

According to God's instructions to Joshua, the walls around the besieged city of Jericho crumble at the sound of the ram horn trumpets blown by holy men. The spoils were left for the Israelites.

Readings for the Day:
Isaiah 40:25-31
Psalm 103
Matthew 11:28-30

Monday, December 5, 2016

Second Tuesday of Advent 2016

~Today is also the Memorial of St. Nicholas. Click on the link to the right to find out more about this saint.~

Jesse Tree Story: MOUNT SINAI
Jesse Tree Symbol: THE 10 COMMANDMENTS

Scripture: And the Lord spoke all these words: “I am the Lord your God, who led you away from the land of Egypt, out of the house of servitude. You shall not have strange gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, nor a likeness of anything that is in heaven above or on earth below, nor of those things which are in the waters under the earth. You shall not adore them, nor shall you worship them. I am the Lord your God: strong, zealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the sons to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, and showing mercy to thousands of those who love me and keep my precepts. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. For the Lord will not hold harmless one who takes the name of the Lord his God falsely. Remember that you are to sanctify the day of the Sabbath. For six days, you will work and accomplish all your tasks. But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. You shall not do any work in it: you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, your beast and the newcomer who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all the things that are in them, and so he rested on the seventh day. For this reason, the Lord has blessed the day of the Sabbath and sanctified it. Honor your father and your mother, so that you may have a long life upon the land, which the Lord your God will give to you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not speak false testimony against your neighbor. You shall not covet the house of your neighbor; neither shall you desire his wife, nor male servant, nor female servant, nor ox, nor donkey, nor anything that is his.” Then all the people considered the voices, and the lights, and the sound of the trumpet, and the smoking mountain. And being terrified and struck with fear, they stood at a distance.
Exodus 20:1-18

God delivered the commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai and Moses brought
the resulting tablets back to him people…the Law for the people..

Readings for the Day:
Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 96
Matthew 18:12-14

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Second Monday of Advent 2016

Jesse Tree Story: MOSES
Jesse Tree Symbol: THE BURNING BUSH

Scripture: "Now Moses was pasturing the sheep of his father-in-law Jethro, a priest of Midian. And when he had driven the flock into the interior of the desert, he came to the mountain of God, Horeb. And the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. And he saw that the bush was burning and was not burnt. Therefore, Moses said, “I will go and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.” Then the Lord, discerning that he proceeded on to see it, called to him from the midst of the bush, and he said, “Moses, Moses.” And he responded, “Here I am.” And he said: “Lest you should approach here, remove the shoes from your feet. For the place on which you stand is holy ground.”
Exodus 3:1-5

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."

Readings for the Day:
Isaiah 35:1-10
Psalm 85
Luke 5:17-26

Second Sunday of Advent 2016

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. 

Readings of the Day:
Isaiah 11:1-10
Psalm 72
Romans 15:4-9
Matthew 3:1-12

Friday, December 2, 2016

First Saturday of Advent 2016

~Today is the Memorial for St. Francis Xavier. Follow the link to the right to find out more about this saint.~

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

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 scepter shall
not depart from Judah nor the staff from between his
feet until he comes to whom it belongs."

Readings of the Day:
Is 30:19-21, 23-26
Psalm 147
Matthew 9:35-10:1, 5A,

First Friday of Advent 2016

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.

Readings of the Day:
Isaiah 29: 17-24
Psalm 27
Matthew 9:27-31