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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

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St. Juan Diego

Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 96
Matthew 18:12-14

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god's comfort zone

"Comfort, give comfort to My people, says your God." —Isaiah 40:1

We modern citizens often think of comfort as a nice physical feeling. The word carries connotations of relaxation and pleasure. God's definition of comfort far exceeds our physical expectations. God brings a total package of comfort to our body, mind, soul, and spirit. He brings Himself as the Comforter (Is 51:12).

This Advent, the Lord is speaking a new word of comfort. He comforts our afflicted bodies by healing us. He comforts all who mourn (Is 61:2). Like the exiled Israelites, we may have suffered great afflictions for many long years. However, God's living word spoken in power (Is 40:10) gives us comfort (see Ps 119:50).

He comforts our minds by shepherding us personally (Is 40:11). God our Shepherd is always by our side giving us comfort through peace of mind. The psalmist says: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me (see Ps 23:4, RSV-CE).

God knows that we have sinned and even have paid the price in suffering for our sins (see Is 40:2). He comforts our souls by bringing restoration. He declares: "I saw their ways, but I will heal them and lead them; I will give full comfort to them" (Is 57:18).

God comforts our spirits by personally, tenderly feeding us His word. "As a mother comforts her son, so I will comfort you; in Jerusalem you shall find your comfort" (Is 66:13). "Oh, that you may suck fully of the milk of her comfort" (Is 66:11), the "pure milk of the Spirit to make you grow unto salvation" (1 Pt 2:2).

Prayer:  Father, "when cares abound within me, Your comfort gladdens my soul" (Ps 94:19).

Promise:  "It is no part of your heavenly Father's plan that a single one of these little ones shall ever come to grief." —Mt 18:14

Praise:  St. Juan Diego went to comfort his sick uncle and saw God heal his uncle completely.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 17, 2008

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