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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

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St. Nicholas

Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 96:1-3, 10-13
Matthew 18:12-14

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the power of one

"Here comes with power the Lord God…like a shepherd." —Isaiah 40:10, 11

The Lord God comes with power and rules with His strong arm (Is 40:10). The Lord God also comes like a humble, gentle shepherd, and His strong arm gently gathers us, His lambs, with tender care (Is 40:11). How does this seeming paradox work?

God's purpose in coming to earth and exercising His power is to gather all people together as one and keep us united as His body (see Jn 11:52; 17:21; 10:16; Eph 4:3-5). This is a task that demands the utmost in power and gentle love.

Have you ever tried to keep a religious group together? Have you ever tried to unite your family and keep them united? If so, you have a glimpse of the power and sacrificial love that is necessary for unity. The secular culture, which prizes independence so highly, is a tremendous obstacle to unity. The busyness of life, diversity of interests and priorities, and human foibles and sinfulness work to prevent unity rather than build it. A powerful servant-leader is necessary in order to gather people together and keep them united.

Leading God's people to unity requires the power of a Lion and the gentle vulnerability of a Lamb (see Rv 5:5-6). It takes a Suffering Servant-Leader Who lays down His life for His sheep (Mt 18:12ff; Jn 10:15). Jesus unites His people one heart at a time. This Advent, give your heart and your life to Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Let Him give you His heart for unity.

Prayer:  Father, with Jesus, I pray that all may be one, as You and Jesus are one (Jn 17:21).

Promise:  "The word of our God stands forever." —Is 40:8

Praise:  The humble gifts of St. Nicholas set the tone for the true spirit of Advent — a gentle preparation for the baby Jesus.

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

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 10, 2016

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