What is Jesus Giving to You Today?
During Advent, What is Jesus Giving to You Today will take the place of What is Jesus Saying to You Today. These short reflections will focus on the presents that Jesus gives you in the daily Gospel reading.
December 17: Joseph
Today read carefully Mt 1:1-17.
Have you ever thought about all the ancestors who have come before you? Think about the long line of people from whom you are descended. Joseph also came after a long, long line of ancestors. God knew each one of these ancestors and he also knew Joseph. He had a special plan for Joseph and Joseph carried it out. You can learn a lot from Joseph, your spiritual ancestor.
December 16: The Works of Jesus
Today read carefully Jn 5:33-36.
What if when Jesus came to earth, he had only told us to believe in him but had not done anything to show us who he was? It would have been very hard to believe. But Jesus loves us and he wants to show us that love. Everything that Jesus did while he was here, all of his miracles, all of his suffering, all of his kindness, lead us to our Father in Heaven.
December 15: The Righteousness of God
Today read carefully Lk 7:24-30.
Righteousness is a difficult gift to understand. It is a word that can mean many things. The righteousness of God is a comforting gift because it means that God will always act in a way that is in accord with his goodness. God’s plans for us are good and when we accept this gift, we can live with hope and trust.
December 14: The Good News
Today read carefully Lk 7:18b-23.
What exactly is the Good News that Jesus is bringing to us? He has come to tell us that our sins can be forgiven, that everything will be set right, and that we have a home with him forever. The word Gospel is an old English word that means Good News. So when you read the four Gospels, you are reading the Good News brought to you by the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus.
December 13: The opportunity to Change
Today read carefully Mt 21:28-32.
Have you ever been traveling and, after going along for some time, realize that you were headed in the wrong direction? When that happens, a person is very disappointed thinking about the time that has been lost but also relieved to know that a change of direction is possible. Today and every day, Jesus offers us the chance to change, to repent, and to decide to follow him.
December 12: Joy
Today read carefully Lk 1:39-47.
In yesterday’s meditation, we saw that the Kingdom of Heaven brings joy. Let’s look at the gift of joy today. When the unborn Jesus came into the presence of the unborn John the Baptist, John leapt for joy because Jesus was near. Joy is the deep feeling that all of your desires will be fulfilled.
December 11: The kingdom of Heaven
Today read carefully Mt 11:2-11.
What is the Kingdom of Heaven? This is another gift that we are told to ask for and we ask for it every time we pray the Our Father. It is a treasure that brings such joy that those who find it are willing to sell everything else they have in order to possess this one gift.
December 10: His suffering
Today read carefully Mt 17:9a, 10-13.
When I was a child, I wondered why the Church wanted us to think about the suffering of Jesus during Advent and Christmastime. I didn’t have a very good understanding of why Jesus came into the world. Jesus came to give his life for us and that gift required suffering. Jesus loves us so much that he was glad to give us the gift of his suffering so that we could live with him forever.
December 9: Friendship
Today read carefully Mt 11:16-19.
Before Jesus came into the world, people thought that they could not be friends with God because friendship means sharing things in common. But when Jesus came, he came as one of us. He ate and drank with sinners. And most importantly, true friends share a common goal. We share a goal with Jesus. This goal is to do the will of the Father and to give him glory.
December 8: Mary
Today read carefully Lk 1:26-38.
Have you ever thought of the people in your life as gifts from God? Each person is in your life because God made them and gave them to you. Mary is a very special person that God put into your life. She gave us Jesus and Jesus gave us Mary.
December 7: Rest
Today read carefully Mt 11:28-30.
Rest is a humble gift that we often don’t appreciate but that we need very much. The rest that Jesus gives us is different than the rest we have from an afternoon break or from a vacation. This rest is the comfort and peace you feel because you are working with Jesus.
To read a poem about rest, click here
December 6: The Rejoicing of God
Today read carefully Mt 18:12-14.
Isn’t it amazing that you can make God rejoice? He looks at you and sees how little you are, how weak, how much you are always in danger of falling. And he stoops down and picks you up and rejoices as he holds you close to his heart.
December 5: Forgiveness
Today read carefully Lk 5:17-26.
Sometimes we don’t like receiving gifts that we need. We think that they’re boring. We want something exciting. But without the things you needed for your life such as food, clothing, and shelter, nothing else would matter. Today you receive forgiveness from your Heavenly Father. This is something that we all need very much. But it also is something very exciting. When God gives you forgiveness, he makes you a new creation.
December 4: The Holy Spirit and his gifts
Today read carefully Mt 3:1-12.
The Holy Spirit is a person and he is also a gift of the Father and Jesus. The Holy Spirit brings with him seven gifts. Our Father is so generous. Today you receive seven gifts in one. Unwrap these gifts one by one and begin using them. Each one of them helps you to follow the plan of God for your life.
Delight in the fear of the Lord: you can delight in the greatness and power of the Lord and therefore put all your trust in him.
Piety helps you love your Heavenly Father with an unshakable love.
Knowledge helps you to understand the meaning of your life and to live out your purpose in life.
Fortitude gives you strength to continue on the path to God.
Counsel shows you the right path to follow.
Understanding helps you to grasp the meaning of the truth and to cling to it.
Wisdom lets you see things from God’s point of view so that you can act as he desires.
December 3: Laborers
Today read carefully Mt 9:35-10:1, 5a, 6-8.
The present of laborers must be a very good one because Jesus tells you to ask for it. He wants to give you this present and he also wants you to want this present, to care about it enough to ask.
So why is this present so great? Because the more laborers there are, the more the Kingdom of God can grow. Look around at the world as it is and then imagine how it could be if everyone kept the command to love. Then ask God for this gift and ask him to make you a laborer too.
December 2: Sight
Today read carefully Mt 9:27-31.
No one wants to be without sight. But do you know how to use this gift? Do you take the time to truly see all of the beautiful people and things that God has put into your life? In addition to our physical sight, God gives us spiritual sight. We should use this gift to try to see things as God sees them.
December 1: Words
Today read carefully Mt 7:21, 24-27.
From morning to night, we are surrounded by words: people talking, printed words, words on signs. Most of them pass through our lives and disappear. But the words of Jesus are different. If we let them take root in our hearts, they will produce wonderful fruit.
November 30: Missionaries
Today read carefully Mt 4:18-22.
For 2000 years, men and women have been giving up their lives—sometimes as martyrs, sometimes as living sacrifices— to bring the good news around the world. We know about Jesus thanks to this unbroken chain of witnesses. Be grateful for this gift in your life and don’t be a broken link in this chain. You also can bring the Good News to a waiting world.
November 29: Knowledge of the Father
Today read carefully Lk 10:21-24.
Who is the Father? He is our life, our existence, our source, our very being. But how can we know him? “He who sees me has seen the Father.” Jesus gives us this gift. As we look at Jesus and come to know him, we also come to know our Father.
November 28: Healing (and Faith)
Today read carefully Mt 8:5-11.
Everyone wants healing. But do we notice when we receive it? How many times have you received this gift for your mind, for your heart, for your body, for a friend, when you were paralyzed by fear, when you were blind to the truth, when you were deaf to God’s word? We should be full of gratitude; in our hearts, we should carry a list of all the healings we have received.
Instead, we often carry the list of the healing presents that we haven’t received. We look at what we’ve received and complain, “Is that all there is?”
But if we use the bonus gift of faith, we can look forward with confidence to the good things to come.
November 27: Preparation
Today read carefully Mt 24:37-44.
When you are making a present or planning a surprise for someone, you need a lot of preparation to make sure that it is completed on time.
But wouldn’t it be odd if one of your gifts was preparation? Jesus gives us time to prepare as a present so that we can be ready to receive even greater gifts.