GOD’S WORD FOR THE DAY – 13TH DECEMBER 2016
GOD’S WORD FOR THE DAY (based on Catholic Liturgical Readings)
DATE: 13TH DECEMBER 2016
TUESDAY OF THE 3RD WEEK OF ADVENT
1ST READING: Zephaniah 3:1-2, 9-13
PSALM: Psalm 34:2-3, 6-7, 17-19 and 23
GOSPEL: Matthew 21:28-32
THEME: THE GOSPEL OF GRACE
She looked wretched and worn-out as she sat on the bench with no hope in her eyes. Many years of a life of prostitution had disfigured her. The desire to amass wealth quickly had led her to give herself to uncountable men in an extreme form of self-indulgence. Turning to me she said, “Father, I get so much money in this business but the sad thing is that all the money goes into buying more seductive dresses, strong liquor and smoke (cigarette). I am not happy inside.”
The intriguing part of her story was that she was a church-goer and yet had no living relationship with the person of Jesus Christ. That afternoon, however, she decided to give Jesus a chance in her heart. As we prayed together, the grace of the Lord took hold of her. Thanks to this grace, she found strength to pick up the broken pieces of her life and now she is living a life of faith to the glory of God.
The story of this friend of mine is akin to that of many people who have found in Christ the strength to stand up from sin and be embraced by the love of God.
In our Gospel text for today, Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you” (Mat 21:31). He was addressing some of the chief priests and elders of Judaism who had chosen to reject his divine authority and refused to accept him as their saviour. Using the parable of the two sons, he chastised these religious leaders for their unpreparedness to repent.
The best place to preach the message of repentance in our world today is not in “pagan territories” but right inside the church. Just like the religious leaders at the time of Jesus, many of us appear “holy” but in reality our hearts are far from the Gospel of Grace. A good number of us in the church can be likened to the second son who told his father I will go to the vineyard but did not go.
In this season of Advent, the Gospel of Grace is being proclaimed anew — “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn 3:16). The ability of the Lord to transform the sinner is amplified in the First Reading where the prophet Zephaniah says, “For then I will give to the peoples purified lips, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD, to serve Him shoulder to shoulder (Zeph. 3:9).
You may consider these three steps to freedom during this Advent season:
1. Admit your powerlessness over any besetting sin that has held you captive.
2. Cry out to Jesus to save you. Your priests in your parish are always available to help you.
3. Accept the grace that Jesus offers you, let go of the past and start a new life of faith.
May this season of preparation for Christmas cause a renewal in our hearts and set us free from the power of sin.
Prayer: Lord Jesus save me. Rescue me from the flood that is sweeping me away and set me on a solid rock. Amen
Andrews Obeng, svd
DIVINE WORD MISSIONARIES
BIBLICAL PASTORAL MINISTRY
“May the darkness of sin and the night of unbelief vanish before the light of the Word and the Spirit of grace. And may the heart of Jesus live in the hearts of all people” (St. Arnold Janssen).