19 Dec
3rd Week of Advent
Jdg. 13:2-7, 24-25
Ps. 70:3-4, 5-6, 16-17
Lk. 1:5-25
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There are many parallels in the Book of Judges and the Gospel of Luke.

First we see a loving and compassionate God whose heart moves and is softened by the miserable condition and sufferings of His people - both on a personal as well as community level. God "suffers" to see His people in the hands of their enemies even though it is oftentimes caused by their own rebellion. Moved by this and out of His own loving heart, He then raises up "special men and women of God" to rescue His people and to bring them back to the right path.

From the texts, we also see God as a covenant-keeping God who always keeps His promises and brings to fulfilment all that He said He would do. On our part we are called to obey and to co-operate just like the parents of Samson and John, so that with His wonderful gifts to us, God's will and purposes can be established in our lives for the good of all. It is well to note also that we are called to make special dedication of ourselves and our children to be set apart for the glory of God. We are to abstain from what is harmful to the body and the spirit so that our bodies can become the sacred temples of His indwelling and our hearts wide and open receptacles for the working of His holy spirit who alone can make us strong and mighty in the Lord to do what He wants us to do.

Lord, may we always live in trust and obedience to Your commands.

Eternal Father, I offer You everything I do this day; my thoughts, words, joys and sufferings. Grant that, vivified by the Holy Spirit and united to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, my life this day may be of service to You and to others. I also pray that all those preparing for marriage discover in Sacrament the source of Christ's grace for living a fithful and fruitful love. Amen.

That Christians may free themselves from the subtle forms of cultural conditioning which prevent them from recognising the dignity and rights of others

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P R A Y I N G    W I T H    T H E    C H U R C H    

INTENTION : That Christians may free themselves from the subtle forms of cultural conditioning which prevent them from recognising the dignity and rights of others

Our vocation and mission as Christians is to bring the light of Christ to the world in order to preserve the world from corruption by permeating it with the values of the Gospel. We need, ourselves, first and foremost to be enlightened by Christ. We do not generate light, we only refract, reflect and radiate. It is His light that we must cast on the world. The more transparent our lives are with the values of the Gospel, the better is the light of Christ reflected and the less we are seen.

The world in which we live is mixed with wheat and weeds. There is good and evil. Consumerism is but the logical sequence of a materialistic way of life. Spiritual values are forgotten. Our wants are made to appear as our needs and we are forced to get so immersed in the joys of this world as to forget the joys of the world to come. We are admonished to be aware lest we be trapped by these and other forms of cultural conditioning that mark this world.

Awareness is the first step to change. We pray that this awareness may help us to be delivered from the cultural conditioning that hinders and hampers our vision and prevents us from recognising the dignity and the rights of others.

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