Thursday, January 2, 2014

“How often I failed in my duty to God, because I was not leaning on the strong pillar of prayer”

Without Prayer nothing good is done. God's works are done with our hands joined, and on our knees. Even when we run, we must remain spiritually kneeling before Him. -- Blessed Luigi Orione

Gospel Text: (JN 1:19-28)
This is the testimony of John.
When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him
to ask him, “Who are you?”
He admitted and did not deny it, but admitted,
“I am not the Christ.”
So they asked him,
“What are you then? Are you Elijah?”
And he said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”
So they said to him,
“Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us?
What do you have to say for yourself?”
He said:
“I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,
‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’
as Isaiah the prophet said.”
Some Pharisees were also sent.
They asked him,
“Why then do you baptize
if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?”
John answered them,
“I baptize with water;
but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”
This happened in Bethany across the Jordan,
where John was baptizing.

When an architect draws up the plans for a new building, he or she must calculate how deep to dig the foundation, based on the weight that the foundation must bear. So here’s a question: do you feel your foundation is strong enough to bear the weight of the challenges you are currently facing? If your foundation is Jesus, the answer is a resounding yes!

In today’s Gospel reading, we see how deep a foundation John the Baptist had. Boldly speaking against the sins and injustices of his day, John was not shaken in the least when Israel’s religious leaders came to question him. In the plainspoken manner that comes from humility, John simply answered, “I am not” when they asked if he was the Messiah or Elijah or the “Prophet” Moses had predicted (John 1:20, 21). Without fanfare or defensiveness, he pointed them to “the one

… whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie” (1:27).

How can we build the same foundation? By taking the words of the Gospel we hear to heart—by living a Sacramental life (Frequent reception of the Eucharist & monthly confessions with a priest) – by maintaining a daily prayer life (praying the Rosary, meditating on Scripture, Eucharistic Adoration) . When we “build” our lives on the truths of the gospel, then we can “remain” in Christ, unswayed and undisturbed. “Jesus, you are the Messiah. You died for all sin and rose again. You love me with an everlasting love. You have redeemed me and filled me with your Holy Spirit. Lord, I belong to you!”

Hold onto these truths.

Then, when your faith is challenged, you will stand. When struggles or difficulties arise, you will be able to lean on the Lord. When Satan tries to undermine your belief in God’s love, you won’t be fooled. Like John the Baptist, you will be able to stand in confidence, conviction, and joy!

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