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You Are Wonderful. And So Am I.

First Reading: 1 John 2:3-11

Beloved:
The way we may be sure that we know Jesus
is to keep his commandments.
Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not keep his commandments
is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
But whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.
This is the way we may know that we are in union with him:
whoever claims to abide in him ought to walk just as he walked.

Beloved, I am writing no new commandment to you
but an old commandment that you had from the beginning.
The old commandment is the word that you have heard.
And yet I do write a new commandment to you,
which holds true in him and among you,
for the darkness is passing away,
and the true light is already shining.
Whoever says he is in the light,
yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness.
Whoever loves his brother remains in the light,
and there is nothing in him to cause a fall.
Whoever hates his brother is in darkness;
he walks in darkness
and does not know where he is going
because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 96:1-2A, 2B-3, 5B-6

R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
The LORD made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty go before him;
praise and grandeur are in his sanctuary.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!

Gospel: Luke 2:22-35

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

“Lord, now let your servant go in peace;
your word has been fulfilled:
my own eyes have seen the salvation
which you prepared in the sight of every people,
a light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
(and you yourself a sword will pierce)
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

NAB

dec 29

Maybe you have heard this before: God’s voice calms, comforts, convicts, encourages, enlightens, leads, reassures, and stills. Satan’s voice obsesses, worries, condemns, discourages, confuses, pushes, frightens, and rushes.

I never find this to be more true than when I am reading Scripture. 

In the First Reading, we hear, “The way we may be sure that we know Jesus is to keep his commandments.” The Devil tells us, “You never seem to keep all of the Commandments. You’re always messing up and running to Confession. You don’t know Jesus.” In the Gospel, we are warned about the tragic fate of the child Jesus. It’s easy to see defeat and forget that we win in the end.

If you’re reading Scripture and find yourself focusing on the negatives or worrying that you don’t stack up to what is being called of you, ask yourself if your thoughts are of God. If they don’t fit in with that list up at the very top there, guess what? They aren’t. God will show you where you need to grow, and He will encourage you, convict you, and fortify you.

So, today, instead of reading these passages and worrying about how far you have to go and how much sin you need to conquer, let’s go a different route: praise.

Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!

God has provided so much good for us in this life. We are worthy of His love. We are given new chances to show our love for Him every single moment of the day. He loves us because we exist. His love does not hinge on our past mistakes and future slips. He gives abundantly. He allows us to cast our worries and fears onto Him. He loves us. He loves us. He loves us. And we are wonderful because we are loved.

Make a list of five reasons you are a wonderful daughter of God. Believe those reasons—because they are true.

Jenna Hines has teeny army of three children and is married to a bearded fellow named Mike. A former high school English teacher, she now stays at home where she blogs and runs a crafty embroidery business. You can find out more about her here

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