December 16, 2021
Advent Weekday
Making Space
Enlarge the space for your tent,
spread out your tent cloths unsparingly;
lengthen your ropes and make firm your stakes.
Isaiah 54:2

Having never really been a camper, I have limited knowledge of how to set up a tent. I do know, however, the importance of laying out a footprint to accommodate the size of a tent and the importance of staking. The footprint indicates the space that will be available inside the tent, and the stakes secure everything in place. Both have to do with setting boundaries of sorts.

The prophet Isaiah, speaking for God, is referencing the tent of the heart rather than the proper way to ready a campsite. Advent challenges us to move away from any tendency to shorten the ropes and limit the number who might be included in our space. Instead, we are called to an ever-growing spaciousness of heart so that we may invite and welcome in all of our sisters and brothers, without exception.

Loving God, enlarge my spirit of loving hospitality today.

- Sr. Chris Koellhoffer, IHM

Isaiah 54:1-10 • Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-13 Luke 7:24-30

Comments

December 16, 2021 at 05:45 PM

Thank you, Sr. Chris, for helping expand our footprint to others. We help our family, friends and neighbors, of course. But we need to go further out of our 'helping' zone. Strangers, refugees, homeless shelters to name a few. Ken, just to let you know, I include all of your litany of people to pray for in my nightly rosary. Thanks, Bill L.

December 16, 2021 at 09:20 AM

Yesterday's Gospel reminded me of the change in approach on BSF Bible lesson for the students when the Holy Spirit prompted me to ask more questions (let the student do the eating) than to give the students ABC (already been chewed :-) It was not easy for me, but I tried...So sharing with you this first attempt: *** 12/08/21 BSF Student Bible Lesson Matthew 12 The Increasing Opposition to Jesus’ Early Ministry *** God’s Attribute: Faithful *** Aim: To learn the truth about Jesus leads some people to believe in Him while others refuse to believe! *** Prayer: Dear Jesus, we praise You, we love You and we honor You! Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for Your compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. Amen! *** Introduction • What do you usually do when you have a question? * What do you do when you have questions about what you are learning here at BSF? * What do you do when you have questions about God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit? Do you believe in everything I share with you? * You should always check to see if what I share with you is true. Write down your questions when you are doing your Bible lessons. And write down any questions you may have when I share with you my Bible lesson. *** A. Jesus comforted and called – Matthew 11 • Let’s open our Bible to Matthew 11. • Jesus was teaching and preaching in the towns of Galilee. What was going on with John the Baptist at this time in verse 2? (Question 1) * • John the Baptist sent his disciples to ask Jesus in verse 3, “Are you the One Who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” Why do you think John the Baptist asked Jesus if He was the One when he pointed to Jesus and said to his disciples in John 1:29, “Look, the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!”? * Had he misunderstood God’s voice? Even John struggled with doubt about Who Jesus was! If you have a question about Jesus or a question for Jesus, what will it be? (Question 7) * Do you have doubts sometimes and do you ask questions to address your doubts? * Where and who do you go to for questions? * • These miracles in verse 5 proved that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah! Jesus told the crowd praising the faith and the work of John the Baptist even when he had doubts but he went to Jesus and asked questions • How about the crowd? Did they believe Jesus was the Messiah? Sadly, many people did not • Why did Jesus denounce (meaning speak out against) the towns where He had performed many miracles in verse 20? (Question 4) * (They did not repent) What does ‘repent’ mean? * (change of mind and heart towards sin, the world and God) • You cannot earn Salvation. Salvation is an unearned gift, given only through God the Son, Jesus Christ! Have you received this gift of Salvation from Jesus in repentance by changing your mind and heart towards sin, the world and God? Read this BSF ‘Am I Sure?’ booklet for yourself and talk it over with your parents or one of the BSF leaders. • Jesus is faithful to keep His promises. What promise did He give in verse 28? * (Question 5) *** First Principle Truth: Jesus called people to come to Him! • Who does Jesus call to come to Him? (Question 6) * • Is doubts about Jesus, the Scripture or God a bad thing? Obviously not! Look at John the Baptist, doubt points him to ask questions. Don’t be afraid or feel bad when you have doubts, be sure to ask questions and look to Scripture so we know what we believe, why we believe and how we say what and why we believe *** B. Jesus confronted hostile people – Matthew 12 • Let’s look at Matthew 12. Jesus and His disciples were hungry and what did they do in verse 1? (Question 8) * They picked up grains from the field and ate them. The Pharisees complained that was unlawful on the Sabbath. Actually the Pharisees were wrong, picking up grains was allowed under the law. • Jesus explained to the Pharisees that the One greater than the temple was there. Who did He say is the Lord of the Sabbath in verse 8? (Question 9) * (The Son of Man, Jesus Himself, is the Lord of the Sabbath) Just as the priest in the temple gave consecrated bread to David and his men to eat when they were hungry on Sabbath. • Jesus said to the Pharisees in verse 7, “If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.” What do you think He meant by ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice’? * (Mercy is not getting the penalty we deserve; Sacrifice is making an offering or giving up something) Not that sacrifice is not important, but mercy is more important! • Jesus continued His miracles in healing a man’s hand and driving out a demon from a blind and mute man and healed him. At this time, what did the Pharisees do in verse 14? (Question 10) * • Jesus knew what they were thinking and going to do. He told them in verse 30, “Whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me scatters.” Can you be neutral when it comes to Jesus? * • Finally, the Pharisees asked not a question but a sign (miracle) from Jesus. Jesus refused and gave them a sign of the past. What sign did Jesus give the Pharisees in verse 39-40? (Question 12) * Why do you think Jesus gave them the sign of Jonah? * • If times allows, ask what they think of 12:43-45… • Next Jesus’ mother and brothers stood outside wanting to speak to Him. Who did Jesus say were His brother, sister and mother in verse 50? (Question 13) * (Memory verse 12:50, “For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!”) Second Principle Truth: Your response to Jesus affects your eternal destiny! • We each make a choice about Jesus. And when we make a choice for Him, we become part of His eternal family forever! • When you choose to repent and follow Jesus transforms your life on earth and affects your eternal destiny ******* Conclusion – The truth about Jesus leads some people to believe in Him while others refuse to believe. Everyone has to make a choice. Even indifference is a choice – it’s a choice against Jesus! Let’s pray: Thank You, Jesus, for Your faithfulness and patience with me and with us! I ask the Holy Spirit to be with us during this wonderful and miraculous season that You give us the desire to ask more questions, seek You in Scripture for answers and never ignore our doubts. Amen!

December 16, 2021 at 09:06 AM

Thank you for all my LFFamily who pray for Jessi :-) She can sense the presence of God and was able to let go when she doesn't remember exactly what the answer was! That is quite an improvement on her part because she has the know-it-all attitude, better than most thinking and nothing than an A plus will do expectation. So, for her to be dependant on God and prayers and let go of the perfect score or no other way mentality is what God is working on her :-) I am for her and God is working on my heart as well! I am so used to her having no trouble in academic area and now just content with a passing grade is a change of heart, mind and attitude by the power of the Holy Spirit!!! What is more important as Jesus asked the teachers of the law in Matthew 9:4-5, "Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?" Yes, Lord Jesus! I pray that Jessi is growing more and more like You as Your plan from the beginning with the Father and the Holy Spirit to bring our image back to the beginning: we are created in the image of God!!! Amen :-)

December 16, 2021 at 08:27 AM

Amen. Thank you Holy Father for this beautiful day and for this Gospel today. Thank you Lord Jesus Chris for my faith, my life and for my family. Thank you Holy Father, most of all, for your great sacrifice and for the opportunity of forgiveness and reconciliation. Please Lord Jesus Christ have mercy. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ, King of Endless Glory. Amen Holy Father in the name of Jesus Christ, we ask that you release your warrior angels and heavenly hosts. We decry and declare that they would take us off the enemies' radar and scramble the enemies' frequencies (airwaves). Your Kingdom must come now. Your will must be done right now, as in the heavens, also on earth. Amen Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Hosts - by the power of God - Cast into hell Satan and all evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen

December 16, 2021 at 08:25 AM

Morning prayer I would like share. Dear Lord, help me remember what a difference it makes when I make time with You a priority in my morning. Awaken me in body and spirit each day with a desire to meet with You and to hear You speak words of affirmation, assurance and wisdom over my heart as I prepare to go into my day. In Jesus' Name I pray. Living faith family please know I am praying for Salinas children, Rosie students taking their exams. Souls in purgatory. Ken

December 16, 2021 at 08:11 AM

Amen.

December 16, 2021 at 07:37 AM

Thank you, Sr. Chris, for your encouraging reflection! Blessed Christmas to everyone!

December 16, 2021 at 07:02 AM

Oh Sr. Chris…this is just beautiful - the tent of the heart. I just love how you make us see this so clearly. Thank you for helping me ready my tent for Jesus’s coming. Lifting those who are making the final push with their exams (Jessi and my babies included of course) and those who are so ill right now and those suffering the weather tragedies and those who need someone to lift them towards the light right now. Thy will be done with my tent.

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