Good News Reflection

The enemies that block us from living in the fullness of God's plans have been defeated by the kingdom of Jesus Christ.

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A Reflection for:

Thursday of the 3rd Week of Advent
December 20, 2018

Today's Prayer:

Lord: I want to believe in Your Word and Your promises with all my heart and mind. Heal me and purify me of everything that prevents me from abandoning myself to Your will. Amen.

Today's Readings:

Isaiah 7:10-14
Ps 24:1-6
Luke 1:26-38
www.usccb.org/bible/readings/122018.cfm
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
ccc.usccb.org/cccradio/NABPodcasts/18_12_20.mp3

Living with an open heart

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In what ways do you feel unloved? "Let the Lord enter!" we proclaim in today's responsorial psalm. Are there any doors inside your heart that are closed and locked?

Today's first reading shows us a man who kept his heart closed even when God offered him help during a crisis. King Ahaz could not have received a clearer message if God had sent it to him in an email.

Ahaz had become Judah's king in 732 B.C. When his little kingdom came under attack from fearsome enemies, he devised a plan that totally ignored God. To rescue him and the nation, God spoke to Ahaz through the prophet Isaiah. He warned him that his strategy was going to fail and that it wasn't even necessary because the enemies would soon be defeated by an even stronger kingdom.

Ahaz chose not to trust him, so God offered to give him proof, any sign of his choosing. But Ahaz didn't want a sign, because if he got it, he'd have to give up his false belief that he was his own best advisor and ruler. Rather than letting God be King, he appeased the invaders by closing the Holy Temple and letting them use God's altar for divination, child sacrifice, sexual rites, and spirit channeling. His pride led him deeper and deeper into darkness, and he took with him the whole nation of Judah.

As we get closer to the end of Advent, we need to ask ourselves: In what ways have I closed the door on God? How am I refusing to listen to God, because I'm sure that I know a better way? And which family and friends and co-workers am I taking with me on the road that leads away from God?

Whenever we insist on doing things our way, ignoring God, we're repeating Ahaz's self-worship, which is idolatry. Our hearts are already open to the Lord, but not entirely. To open the locked doors that still prevent our hearts from being completely open to God's kingship, we must identify the ways and times in which we try to usurp him.

Heart-breaking loneliness, for example, is a sign that we've locked God out; it's caused by insisting that God's love isn't enough, because we insist on getting our happiness and love from the people who are not giving it to us.

Unrelenting anger and frustration are signs that we've closed out God, because we're trying to control a situation that's not going well. The lock that keeps this door closed is the false belief that God isn't going to make good come from the problems we're facing.

Angry impatience is a sign that we have shut the door on God's perfect timing. Confusion is a sign that a closed door is muffling God's voice.

These enemies that block us from living in the fullness of God's plans have, in fact, been defeated by an even stronger kingdom: the kingdom of Jesus Christ.

Give Jesus the key to your heart: (1) Take any negative, dissatisfying feeling you have and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the closed door that it indicates. (2) Then, with God's help, work to overcome the idolatrous attitude behind it. Watch for the bad feelings to be replaced by the loving reassurances of Jesus.

360VR Meditate on this reflection in our Virtual Reality world "Hidden Water Way" (no special equipment needed).

© 2018 by Terry A. Modica

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