Sunday Scripture

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | Our gifts from the Holy Spirit are to build up the Church

The readings for the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time demonstrate for us that God's call of mankind is truly transformative. The first reading begins: "The Lord said to me: you are my servant, Israel, through whom I show my glory."

Scripture scholars aren't certain of the identity of the servant. It may be Isaiah, or it may be Israel. We know that God has called Isaiah to be His servant, as He also called Israel to be His servant. However, isn't it true that He has called us also to be His servants?

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | Mary helps lets us focus on closer union with Jesus

The Gospel reading for Sunday, Jan. 1, helps us understand why the calendar year begins with the celebration of the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God.

It all began with the shepherds tending their flocks when an angel appeared to them and told them to go to a stable in Bethlehem, where they would find a savior who is "Messiah and Lord." "You will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger."

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | Invite the child Jesus into your heart

The feast of the Birth of Jesus is perhaps the most attractive feast of the liturgical year. Children, adults and elders gaze into the manger at the "infant wrapped in swaddling clothes" and are speechless in awe and admiration.

How could an infinitely great God show more affection for fallen mankind than by becoming a helpless baby, born in a stable and placed in a manger? Normally, babies were born in the family home, surrounded by extended family, to provide support for the mother and father.

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | Embrace the great mystery of God’s plan

Sunday, Dec. 18, is a week from the celebration of the birth of the God-Man who comes to save the world from sin. The closer we get to this great event, the deeper we enter into the mystery of His coming in time and in our hearts.

In the first reading for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, God desires to reveal a sign of God's coming to Ahaz, but proud Ahaz refuses to ask for the sign, saying, "I will not tempt the Lord!"

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | Nurture your heart with a vision of the coming glory of God

On Dec. 11, the third Sunday of Advent, we celebrate "Gaudete" Sunday. The entrance antiphon exhorts us to: "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near." The readings blend twin calls to have hope and patience.

The first reading from Isaiah celebrates the marvelous future transformation of the parched land and the desert into a land that "will bloom with abundant flowers and rejoice with joyful song." "They will see the glory of the Lord and the splendor of our God."

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | Repentance is a gift God offers humanity

Bishop Robert J. Hermann

The readings for the Second Sunday of Advent validate the hunger our hearts experience for a lasting peace and harmony that eludes us now. As St. Augustine said, "Our hearts are restless, until they rest in you, O Lord." God placed in our hearts a profound hunger for unity, harmony, happiness and fulfillment, and that hunger nurtures our hope for what God promises in the depths of our spirit.

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