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Wednesday, December 3, 2003

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St. Francis Xavier

Isaiah 25:6-10
Psalm 23
Matthew 15:29-37

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amazing grace

"The result was great astonishment in the crowds." —Matthew 15:31

My father's funeral Mass was on Wednesday of the first week of Advent. The first reading for today's Mass is Isaiah 25:6-10. I had read, prayed, preached, and taught this reading many times. But I will never forget preaching it at my dad's Mass of the Resurrection. To proclaim that the Messiah "will destroy death forever" (Is 25:8) while standing a few feet from my father's dead body made me realize much more how amazingly good the "good news" is. We should truly "rejoice and be glad that He has saved us" (Is 25:9).

For Advent to be a powerful preparation for Christ's Christmas coming, we need to receive fresh, exciting joy at the saving truth of God's grace and word. May we be like newborn Christians in our amazement at God's love and power. After Jesus healed many sick people and before He multiplied loaves and fish, "the result was great astonishment in the crowds as they beheld the mute speaking, the deformed made sound, cripples walking about, and the blind seeing. They glorified the God of Israel" (Mt 15:31). May we also be amazed at our loving Lord and especially at the fact that He has chosen each of us to live in and with Him forever.

Have an amazing Advent leading to an even more amazing Christmas season, leading to the ultimate amazement of life with the Lord forever in heaven.

Prayer:  Father, break through the boredom of my selfishness and lead me into the amazement of Your grace.

Promise:  Jesus "took the seven loaves and the fish, and after giving thanks He broke them and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. All ate until they were full. When they gathered up the fragments left over, these filled seven hampers." —Mt 15:36-37

Praise:  St. Francis so identified with the poor to whom he preached the good news that he slept on the ground in a hut and ate mainly rice and water for the seven years he was with them.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert A. Stricker, June 23, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 2003