'Tis the Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent: Advent-link & Wikipedia-link.
'Tis the Optional Memorial of Saint Damasus I, Pope (circa 304-384), thirty-seventh (XXXVII) Bishop of Rome (366-384): Saint-link ūnus, Saint-link duo, Saint-link trēs, & Wikipedia-link; Pontifex-link, & Wikipedia-link Pontifex.
Commentary: Wayback Machine. Quoth the Holy Redeemer bulletin:
Pope Damasus I was Bishop of Rome from October 366 to his death in 384. He presided over the Council of Rome of 382 that determined the canon or official list of Sacred Scripture. He spoke out against major heresies in the Church & encouraged production of the Vulgate Bible with his support for St. Jerome [30 September].Wikipedia-link Rome & Wikipedia-link Vulgate
'Tis also the festival of Saint Daniel the Stylite, Priest (circa 409-493, of Constantinople): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Wikipedia-link Stylites.
'Tis also the festival of Saint Sabinus of Piacenza, Bishop (circa 333-420), Bishop of Piacenza (circa 370-420): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link; Diocese-link Piacenza & Wikipedia-link Piacenza.
'Tis also the festival of Saints Peris & Cían, Hermits (sixth century): Saint-link & Wikipedia-link.
'Tis also the festival of Blessed Arthur Bell, Priest & Martyr, O.F.M. (1590-1643), martyred under the auspices of the Roundhead Parliament, one of the Eighty-five Martyrs of England & Wales: Martyr-link & Wikipedia-link; Martyrs-link England & Wales & Wikipedia-link England & Wales.
Scripture of the Day
Mass Readings—Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent
The Book of Isaiah, chapter forty, verses twenty-five thru thirty-one;
Psalm One Hundred Three (R/. one), verses one & two, three & four, & eight & ten;
The Gospel according to Matthew, chapter eleven, verses twenty-eight, twenty-nine, & thirty.
Commentary: Today's Advent Gospel Reflection graphic from Word on Fire will not upload. I've tried half a dozen times. I've refreshed my browser, deleted & re-downloaded the image, shut down & relaunched my browser: nothing works. As you can see, other Word on Fire graphics will load, just not today's Advent Gospel Reflection. I have not the technical expertise to explain why.
Reflection by Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire):
Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus offers to free us from the burden of our pride.Video reflection by Jem Sullivan, Ph.D.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
What is it that makes our lives heavy and weighed down? Precisely the burden of our own egos, the weight of one’s own self. When I am puffing myself up with my own self-importance, I’m laboring under all that weight. Jesus is saying, "Become a child. Take that weight off your shoulders and put on the weight of my yoke, the yoke of my obedience to the Father."
Anthony de Mello proposed the following parable to describe us prideful souls. A group of people sit on a bus that is passing through the most glorious countryside, but they have the shades pulled down on all the windows and are bickering about who gets front seat on the bus. This is the burden of pride: preferring the narrow and stuffy confines of the bus to the beauty that is effortlessly available all around. This, of course, is why Jesus can say, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light." What the Lord proposes is not a freedom from suffering but, what is much more important, a freedom from the self.
Reflect: From your own experience or desire, explain how true freedom is "easy" when yoked to Christ.
Video reflection by Damon Owens (uCatholic): Advent Reflection.
"Advent of Hope" reflection (Array of Hope):
The "time out" is a powerful tool used by sports teams, parents and teachers. But why do they use it? Because we all need time to "step back" from a situation - whether a key moment in a game or a conflict at home or at school - and relax, refocus, and refresh. This "time out" actually helps us to make the most of the time when we go back to the game or to the game of life. It can be easy for us to get worn down and tired from all stress that we face on a daily basis, but Jesus offers us a relief, something to hope in. He promises that He will relieve our burdens and give us rest. Especially during the holiday season, it is crucial for us to take time to rest, to refresh and to refocus on what is most important in our lives.Mass Readings—Optional Memorial of St. Damasus I
Sometimes we forget that Jesus actually carried a heavy wooden cross, was mocked, crucified out of love for us, and yet He is still able to say that His “burden is light and yoke is easy." This is because of His intimacy with the Father, fostered through prayer. Since Jesus had a human nature, prayer was a part of His experience. He sought time to simply be with His Father, often separating himself from the crowd for long periods. In prayer, Jesus sought the will of His Father, surrendered Himself to it, and received strength to do it. If we seek time to be with the Father, we will receive the clarity, confidence, and courage we need to fulfill His plan for us. We will grow in intimacy with God and our own crosses will feel "lighter." We will find that nothing will be too difficult; nothing will be too overwhelming.
Spend time this Advent taking more time-outs. During this time of rest, allow your heart to be silent and to really reflect on God’s power in your life. Rest in the peace of knowing that when we follow Christ our “yoke is easy and our burden light.”
The Acts of the Apostles, chapter twenty, verses seventeen, eighteen(a), twenty-eight thru thirty-two, & thirty-six;
Psalm One Hundred Ten (R/. four[b]), verses one, two, three, & four;
The Gospel according to John, chapter fifteen, verses Nine thru seventeen.
Papal Quote o' the Day
"All of us are capable of expressing ourselves, of transmitting our message to the world. But at the same time, each of us must be a hearer. Our message will be more fitting the more the hearing of the Word of God is already present in our message."Saint Quote o' the Day
—Pope St. John Paul II the Great (1920-2005, feast day: 22 October)
"When you see the storm coming, if you seek safety in that firm refuge which is Mary, there will be no danger of your wavering or going down."
—St. Josemaría Escrivá (1902-1975, feast day: 26 June)
Chesterton Quote o' the Day
"I demand for myself a proper Christmas card that is about Christmas."
—G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)