Saturday, December 31, 2016
Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas - John 1:1-18
“In the beginning was the Word.” These six words are the opening words in John’s Gospel. There is great power in these words, simple as they are. These simple words tell us that Christ “was” before all else came to be!
John then speaks about John the Baptist who was sent to testify to the Light. Light is a wondrous gift – a gift we often take for granted. In the Midwest, the days of winter are short and typically there is not much sunshine. Now ask yourself: what difference does light make in your life? It may be the light generated by the sun or light generated by a lamp or light fixture. Just imagine what would life be like without any light!
Light can make all the difference in the world. For many people, on sunny days it is easier to be optimistic and happy. When the weather is gray and gloomy for several days, we may struggle to be optimistic. The clouds and darkness may seem to weigh us down. The gift is that we have Jesus the Light with us each moment of every day. Sad to say, I suspect that we are not always tuned in to His presence. Yet, it is true! Jesus “the Light” is always with us!
Today and every day may we open our eyes, minds and hearts and expect to see Jesus, the Light!
Friday, December 30, 2016
Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph - Matthew 2:13-23
Today’s Gospel begins with an angel appearing to Joseph in a dream. The angel tells him: “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you." The angel warns Joseph that Herod is searching for the child and his plan is to kill the child.
On hearing these words, Joseph immediately took Mary and Jesus and they began the long journey to Egypt. They stayed in Egypt until they received word of Herod’s death. Because Joseph was afraid of Herod’s successor, he took Mary and Jesus to Nazareth to fulfill the words of the prophet, “He shall be called a Nazorean.”
Many people in our world fear returning to their homelands due to violence and war. What can you and I do to make our world more loving and more peace-filled? Let us to strive to act and respond lovingly to the people and the situations that we encounter as we go about our daily routine today. We may not be able to change the world, but we can strive to make our "little corner of the world” a more loving and joyful place. Who knows? The actions of one person may make your little corner of the world a brighter and more loving place.
Thursday, December 29, 2016
Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas - Luke 2:22-25
It was a custom in the time of Jesus that when a male child was born, the parents would take the baby to Jerusalem and “present” their child to the Lord. This was a custom required by the Law of Moses. In the law it was written: “Every firstborn male child shall be consecrated to the Lord.” Naturally Mary and Joseph, being faithful Jews, did as the law required. They made the trip to Jerusalem even though it was a long and difficult journey.
Mary and Joseph entered the temple with the baby Jesus and their sacrifice offering – a pair of turtledoves. At that time, there was a man named Simeon who daily went to the Temple. He was a just and pious man and he was awaiting the “consolation of Israel.” Luke writes: “The Holy Spirit was upon Him”. On this day, Simeon was inspired by the Spirit. When Mary and Joseph entered the temple with Jesus, Simeon took the baby into his arms. He then looked at the child, blessed Jesus and said: “Now, Master, you can dismiss your servant in peace; you have fulfilled your word.”
Mary and Joseph marveled at the words that were being spoken about their newborn child. Then Simeon looked intently Mary and said: ”This child is destined to be the downfall and the rise of many.” After a moment, Simeon added: “You yourself shall be pierced with a sword – so that the thoughts of many hearts will be laid bare.” I wonder what Mary thought of his remarks? Here she was with her newborn son and unsettling words were being spoken to her by this holy man. Her son was just an infant and a great gift to Mary and Joseph, yet the holy man’s words were unsettling and frightening. Yet she continued to trust in God’s word.
How do you respond to Jesus’ presence in your life? The reality is that Jesus is with us every moment! He walks with us; He graces and guides us. Today be mindful of the reality that Jesus, our Lord, is always by our sides! May we cherish and appreciate this wondrous gift!
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Feast of the Holy Innocents – Matthew 2:13-18
Today’s Gospel began with an angel appearing to Joseph in a dream. The angel told him: “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you." The angel warned Joseph that Herod was searching for the child and that his plan was to kill the child.
On hearing these words, Joseph immediately took Mary and Jesus and they began the long journey to Egypt. They stayed in Egypt until the received word of Herod’s death.
When Herod realized that Mary and Joseph had taken Jesus to safety, he was furious! He vented his anger by ordering a massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and the region. Any male child two years and younger was to be killed. Thus, the prophecy of Jeremiah, written centuries earlier, was fulfilled: “A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing, wailing, and lamenting."
The “mystery of life” continues on in our life time. Just as there was wailing, sorrow, and lamenting in Jesus’ day, there also is wailing, sorrow, and lamenting in our day. Sadly, there are many places in our world where people are suffering significantly. If we were ever to have true peace in our world, we might not recognize this planet as our home. We might think that we have gone to heaven.
What can you and I do to make our world more loving and more peace-filled? Let us to strive to act and respond lovingly to the people and the situations that we encounter as we go about our daily routine today. We may not be able to change the world, but we can strive to make our "little corner of the world” a more loving and joyful place. Who knows? The actions of one person may make your “little corner of the world” a brighter and more loving place