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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 07.12.2023

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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 07.12.2023

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ISAIAH 26: 1 – 6

In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: “We have a strong city; he sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks. Open the gates, that the righteous nation which keeps faith may enter in. You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord for ever, for the Lord GOD is an everlasting rock. For he has brought low the inhabitants of the height, the lofty city. He lays it low, lays it low to the ground, casts it to the dust. The foot tramples it, the feet of the poor, the steps of the needy.”

The Word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 118: 1 and 8 – 9, 19 – 21, 25 – 27 (R.) 26a.

R/. Blest is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Or:
Alleluia.

Give praise to the Lord, for he is good;
his mercy endures forever.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in man;
it is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in princes. R/.

Open to me the gates of justice:
I will enter and thank the Lord.
This is the Lord’s own gate,
Where the just enter.
I will thank you, for you have answered,
And you are my saviour. R/.

O Lord, grant salvation;
O Lord, grant success.
Blest is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
We bless you from the house of the Lord;
The Lord is God, and has given us light. R/.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION

Alleluia.
Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near.
Alleluia.

GOSPEL
He who does the will of the Father shall enter the kingdom of heaven.
MATTHEW 7: 21, 24 – 27

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples, “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

GOSPEL REFLECTION: Authentic Christians
December 7, 2023

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)

It’s frightening to think of those of whom Jesus is speaking. Imagine arriving before the throne of God upon your passing from this earthly life and you cry out to Him, “Lord, Lord!” And you expect Him to smile and welcome you, but instead you come face-to-face with the reality of your ongoing and obstinate disobedience to the will of God throughout your life. You suddenly realize that you acted as if you were a Christian, but it was only an act. And now, on the day of judgment, the truth is made manifest for you and for all to see. A truly frightening scenario.

To whom will this happen? Of course, only our Lord knows. He is the one and only Just Judge. He and He alone knows a person’s heart, and judgment is left only to Him. But the fact that Jesus told us that “Not everyone” who expects to enter Heaven will enter should grab our attention.

Ideally, our lives are directed by a deep and pure love of God, and it is this love and this love alone that directs our lives. But when a pure love of God is not clearly present, then the next best thing may be a holy fear. The words spoken by Jesus should evoke this “holy fear” within each of us.

By “holy,” we mean that there is a certain fear that can motivate us to change our lives in an authentic way. It’s possible that we fool others, and maybe even fool ourselves, but we cannot fool God. God sees and knows all things, and He knows the answer to the one and only question that matters on the day of judgment: “Did I fulfill the will of the Father in Heaven?”

A common practice, recommended over and over by Saint Ignatius of Loyola, is to consider all our current decisions and actions from the point of view of the day of judgment. What would I wish I had done in that moment? The answer to that question is of essential importance to the way we live our lives today.

Reflect, today, upon that important question in your own life. “Am I fulfilling the will of the Father in Heaven?” What will I wish I had done, here and now, as I stand before the judgment seat of Christ? Whatever comes to mind, spend time with that and strive to deepen your resolve to whatever God reveals to you. Do not hesitate. Do not wait. Prepare now so that the day of Judgment will also be a day of exceeding joy and glory!

PRAYER:
My saving God, I pray for insight into my life. Help me to see my life and all of my actions in the light of Your will and Your Truth. My loving Father, I desire to live fully in accord with Your perfect will. Give me the grace I need to amend my life so that the day of judgment is a day of the greatest glory. Jesus, I trust in You.

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