Hello to everyone, Fr. Pat continues his steady holding pattern in ICU in Rochester. He knows that you are all praying for him. He is a good fighter and your prayers and faith have helped him so far. His family extends a sincere "thank you" for your continued prayers. Please continue to pray. Hope you have a great weekend. Margie I know I can never fill in for Fr. Pat, but here is a Sunday reflection for you: This Weekend In our first reading from Deuteronomy, Moses reassures his people that God will sent a prophet after him. They are about to enter the promised land, but Moses is not allowed to go with them. The Israelites request someone to be a spokes person for God. They tell Moses:?Let us not again hear the voice the LORD, our God, nor see this great fire anymore; lest we die? It was an ancient belief was that if a person saw the face of God he would die. So God agrees to their petition and says he will raise up a prophet from their own kin, ?and I will put my words into his mouth?. God also includes a warning that the people need to listen to the message or the words that come from him, through his prophet. Another warning is given to anyone who dares to speak for God, and speaks falsely. Being a prophet is a serious position to fill! If we look closer at the preceding sentences in this chapter, we see that Moses is warning his people, about those in the surrounding nations who claim to have special abilities and powers: the fortune tellers, the charmers, the ones who seek messages from the dead. The important message here for the people of Moses, is to remain faithful to the ?LORD your God?, the one who led them through the desert, and avoid the many false prophets as they enter into a new territory. How can this reading have relevance for us? Have you ever gotten swayed by a false prophet? How about the false gods of drugs, alcohol, glimmer of sports, the temptation to create your own moral guides? What is it that seems to become more important that the real message from God that we receive in scriptures and from the example of Jesus? In our Gospel from Mark, we see that Jesus is a prophet for God and more. His message is clear and powerful because he speaks with authority given to him by God. ?The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.? It is the man with the unclean spirit, not the scribes, who first recognizes Jesus for who he is ?I know you are the Holy One of God?. Jesus not only has the authority of God in his words, but also in his actions, as he commands the unclean spirit to come out of the man. Jesus is more than a prophet, he is ?God Incarnate?. This is what our celebration of Christmas is all about. The reading from Paul?s Letter to the Corinthians, urges ?adherence to the Lord without distraction?. In our innate search for the love of God, it is easy for us to become distracted by all the world has to offer: different leaders of cults, messages from TV and the Internet, the attractions of computer technology, money, self satisfaction. How do we stay focused on the true prophet, the true message from God? We are called to listen to the message of Jesus . How can we improve our ability to listen to his word ? Preparing for Sunday may be a start. The readings for each up-coming Sunday are always listed in the bulletin. It is never too late to read scripture either. There are guide and commentary books to help us understand and get the message about God?s love for us.. The message this week is clear for us in the twenty-first century...who are you listening to who are you following? Don?t look for the message of God, or the love of God in all the wrong places!