GENERAL INTENTION: Victims of Natural Disasters. That the victims of natural disasters may receive the spiritual and material comfort they need to rebuild their lives.
God is Love, so why is the beautiful world God created subject to natural disasters like droughts, floods, earthquakes, and tsunamis?
There must be a good answer to this question, but we don’t have it. Perhaps we are simply incapable of understanding God’s reasons. Through the Prophet Isaiah, God said: “As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts” (55:9).
We lack full understanding, but we can use natural disasters as an opportunity to live out our faith in a loving God.
After one disaster Pope Benedict said, “I would like to assure the people of my closeness in concern and prayer. May God, in his goodness, take pity on his people and hear the voices of those who call him (Psalm 5:3) and implore his aid! And with the Psalmist I say: Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted (Psalm 10:12).”
We rejoice to be a part of a great outpouring of assistance immediately after a disaster. And we bring glory to God when we continue to remember those who suffer a long time after a disaster.
We pray with the Holy Father this month that victims of natural disasters may receive what they need to recover. Each natural disaster is an opportunity for us to pray, to work, and to give generously to help disaster victims rebuild their lives.
We may not understand why our loving God allows natural disasters, but we do know how we are called to respond—with love.
Reflection: Have you ever experienced a natural disaster? How was that disaster an opportunity to respond with love?
Reading:Romans 8:18-25 All creation is groaning in labor pains even until now.
MISSION INTENTION: Dedication to Peace. That the dedication of Christians to peace may bear witness to the name of Christ before all men and women of good will.
Pope Benedict has repeatedly condemned violence in God’s Name. This month he calls us to dedicate ourselves through prayer and action to bearing witness to the world that the name of Christ means peace.
Praying and working for peace is essential to spreading the Gospel. Christians dedicated to peace are a powerful witness to the world that the true face of God is Christ. Jesus told the apostles at the Last Supper: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you” (John 14:27).
Yet it is evident in our world, in our communities, and even in our families that the peace of Jesus brings conflict. Jesus himself said: “I have come to bring not peace but the sword” (Matthew 10:34)
The two quotations may seem contradictory, but they are not. Jesus knew that he and his teachings would divide people. His life, teaching, works, death, and rising reconciled us to God and to one another. Jesus has given us peace beyond anything the world could give. Yet from the beginning many have rejected his peace, disbelieving that he was the Messiah and refusing to repent.
In the midst of a quarreling world, we Christians dedicate ourselves to Christ’s way of peace by doing his will—the only basis for a just order that leads to peace.
This month we may be moved to pray especially for peace within in the Body of Christ. In January Christian churches of all kinds celebrate a week of prayer for Christian unity. Only through the union of all Christians will we be able to witness to the world that the name Christian means unity not division, peace not war.
Reflection:In what ways can you express the peace of Christ in the ordinary events of your daily life?
Ephesians 2:14-18 He came and preached peace.