Saint Nicholas – Miracles of Love
Malvern Minute

Today's Daily Reflection

From Mark Poletunow

Every day, Mark Poletunow, Malvern Retreat House’s President, takes time to reflect and pray about the daily reading. Take a minute to join him as he illuminates the scriptures.

 

December 6, 2017 Wednesday of the First Week of Advent

Saint Nicholas, Bishop

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (mpoletunow@malvernretreat.com)

For more information: www.MalvernRetreat.com

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (15:29-37)

At that time:
Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee,
went up on the mountain, and sat down there. 
Great crowds came to him,
having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute,
and many others. 
They placed them at his feet, and he cured them. 
The crowds were amazed when they saw the mute speaking,
the deformed made whole, 
the lame walking, 
and the blind able to see,
and they glorified the God of Israel.

Jesus summoned his disciples and said,
My heart is moved with pity for the crowd,
for they have been with me now for three days
and have nothing to eat. 
I do not want to send them away hungry,
for fear they may collapse on the way.”
 
The disciples said to him,
“Where could we ever get enough bread in this deserted place
to satisfy such a crowd?” 
Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” 
“Seven,” they replied, “and a few fish.”
 
He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. 
Then he took the seven loaves and the fish,
gave thanks, broke the loaves,
and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. 
They all ate and were satisfied. 
They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets full.

Reflect: The crowds were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the deformed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind able to see, and they glorified the God of Israel.  The heart of God met people in their need, and they were healed. Later in this Gospel passage, Jesus’ “heart is moved with pity for the crowd.” The people were hungry. They had been with the Lord in a deserted place for three days and they had nothing to eat. Despite the incredulity of the disciples, Jesus took the small amount of bread and fish. He “gave thanks, broke the loves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over – seven baskets full.” In today’s Gospel we see how our God responds lavishly to the real needs of real people. Jesus comes into the world to respond to the needs of our world – not only of 2,000 years ago, but of today, as well. Many places on this date celebrate the memory of Saint Nicholas. He was a fourth century bishop from Turkey who had a huge heart for the needs of children and those most in need. Nicholas was richly blessed in his life. Because of his faith he understood that he was also called to share his faith and his material goods with people in need. As we journey through Advent, in faith we make our needs known to God trusting that he hears us and will respond. We hope to receive the perfect gift – Jesus. At the same time, as people of faith we are called to share our faith and material blessings with others. May our hearts be expanded to receive Jesus, and to share what we have with many others.

Questions: Do I go before the Lord expectant that he will hear my prayers and respond to my needs? Do I desire to share my faith and my material goods with others? What is taking unnecessary space in my life that interferes with my heart being able to make room to receive Jesus?

Pray: Loving God, prepare my heart by your divine power so that at the coming of Christ your Son I might be found worthy to receive him. Give me the grace to share my blessings with others – especially those most in need. I pray this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.                                                                               

Saint Nicholas: Pray for us!

The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. At the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus’ words to “sell what you own and give the money to the poor,” Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships. Under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians, Bishop Nicholas suffered for his faith, was exiled and imprisoned. After his release, Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. He died December 6, AD 343 in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church, where a unique relic, called manna, formed in his grave. This liquid substance, said to have healing powers, fostered the growth of devotion to Nicholas. The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, Saint Nicholas Day, December 6th.


 

ENCOUNTERING DIVINE PHYSICIAN (Gospel of Luke 5: 17-26)

Consider joining the Men and Women of Malvern by deepening your personal relationship with Jesus and your commitment as a disciple through a weekend retreat.  See our website for details:  MalvernRetreat.com

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