23 December, Thursday – Jesus, I need you

Dec 23 – Memorial for St. John of Kanty, presbyter

St. John of Kanty (1390-1473) was a Polish country lad. A brilliant student at the University of Krakow, Poland, he became a priest and professor of theology at the University of Krakow, where he was falsely accused and ousted by university rivals.

At the age of 41, he was assigned as parish priest at Olkusz, Bohemia. He took his position seriously and was terrified of responsibility, but did his best. For a long time, that wasn’t enough for his parishioners, but in the end he won their hearts. After several years in his parish, he returned to Krakow and taught Scripture for the rest of his life.

John was a serious, humble man, generous to a fault with the poor, sleeping little, eating no meat and little of anything else. He was a pilgrim to Jerusalem, hoping to be martyred by Turks. He made four pilgrimages to Rome, carrying his luggage on his back. When warned to look after his health, he pointed out that the early desert fathers lived long lives in conditions that had nothing to recommend them but the presence of God.

At the time of his death, John was so well loved that his veneration began immediately. For years, his doctoral gown was worn by graduates receiving advanced degrees at the University of Krakow. He was declared patron of Poland and Lithuania in 1737 by Pope Clement XII, 30 years before his final canonization.

  • Patron Saint Index

Mal 3:1-4,23-24
Lk 1:57-66

…I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before my day comes

Who are the prophets in my life? Who is the modern day Elijah or John who paves the way for the coming of our Lord Jesus? Am I ready to watch out for and listen to these modern day prophets? Am I ready to receive Him into my life?

As I reflected on today’s readings, there is a sense of anticipation and, at the same time, guilt — maybe even shame. My head is telling me that Christmas is the time to reflect on the coming of Jesus and prepare my heart to receive him once again. Unfortunately, even though there have been many opportunities to pause, slow down and attend to my heart, I found myself dismissing it and carrying on with work, distracting myself on social media and surfing Netflix!

Since COVID started, it has been extremely challenging to keep the faith and deepen my relationship with the Lord. Not being able to sit in adoration, receive him regularly at the Eucharistic table, nor praise and worship Him in ministry has left me parched! The yearning and dryness are a dichotomy — I have lost my footing and I yearn to get back on track!

I suppose there is no better time to start again than now, especially during this season of Advent, to truly open my eyes and heart to different ways of keeping His covenant and law. I know He is relentless and is always calling me through different people and situations.

I have had quite a difficult time over the last couple of months at work. Upon deeper reflection, I realized these were all moments that matter in my faith journey, “as the refiner’s fire or the fuller’s alkali”, He is cleansing and purifying me. These ‘prophets’ and obstacles are there so I can let down my pride and turn back to Him and say “Jesus, I need you! Jesus, I want you in my life!”

(Today’s OXYGEN by Lorraine Wong)

Prayer: Jesus, you are good and upright, faithful, and merciful; show me the path back to you. Quench my thirst and ignite the fire within me once again for I need you in my life. Help me to recognise your prophets and open my heart’s eyes to your ways.

Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, thank you for sending us your son Jesus, to be our light! He is our way, our truth, and our life!   

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