We mark our time with days and years. Today is the last day of 2017. What will 2018 hold for us? We do have a choice. We can choose to live with joy. We can choose to see with eyes of mercy. We can serve others first. We can live mysteriously with Our Lord Jesus. 2018 will offer us what we wish to believe, see and do. Let’s make it a wonderfully blessed affair. Happy New Year!
Believing is seeing! Faith is so much more than a set of beliefs. Faith is a set of actions and experiences that follow from our belief in our Saving Lord Jesus. Mystics go on a journey - a road less traveled. It is one that is often clouded in mystery and challenge. However, they are seeking a worthy objective - a daily encounter with Jesus. As a Christian and Catholic, I see now that my daily quest is to be with Jesus. I can find Him everywhere. But, I must use my eyes of faith to see and be with Jesus. As a mystics, seek Jesus!
In today’s Gospel (Luke 2:22-35), Simeon recognizes Jesus as the fulfillment of the promise made to him to see the salvation of his people before his death. He rejoices! Do we become so complacent in our faith that we fail to recognize the blessing of Jesus in our lives? Do we miss His Blessings for us because we are not awake? It can easily happen. I know I miss it unless I am aware. I pray we may all be aware of His Love for us each day.
Today, December 28th, our Church remembers the Holy Innocents who died due to the fear and rage of Herod. He feared a rival king. A child was born, Jesus, who was a king but in such a different way. Jesus is not to be feared. He is to be adored and praised and listened to! A heavy price was paid by the children and families of those who felt Herod’s violence. Can we remember their sacrifice today? Do we help children and their families in need? Will we hear the cry - their cry - in today world? Many suffer - and we are the hands and feet of Christ today. Let’s us pray and serve the children in need today.
Christmas can be very stressful. Preparing for Christmas now comes with so many requirements that we can fail to slow down and reflect on what Jesus means to us and what Christmas is all about. After Christmas, when the shopping and event preparation are completed, can be that time to slow down and “drink in” what Christmas means for us. It means Christ is with us! It means we can rest in His Hope and Love. It means we can rest in His Presence. Don’t let Christmas be just one day a year. Let it be each day of your year. God with Us - Christmas - is a message we need to carry our entire life and each day of our life. What does Christmas and Christ mean to you? Can you now slow down and be present to Him? Don’t miss the Christmas Season which can - and should - bring its own blessings.
Christmas Day has ended but the Christmas Season continues. We should remember that what we celebrate on Christmas is to last the whole year through. The message of Christmas is one of hope and presence and love. Our world can be changed by such a message. We must be the one that gives it!
In today’s Gospel from Matthew (Mt 1:18-25), we hear of Joseph who seems to be making a rational decision. And yet, we find out it is not God’s Will. Joseph is not supposed to divorce Mary who he loves. Instead, he is to take her and her unborn child Jesus into his home. He learns this in a dream from an Angel. Joseph acts in faith to do God’s will. And in the process, fathers the Son of God. Amazing! We must learn to hear God’s Will for us. This can come in many forms. But to hear His Will, we must be able to listen to our hearts and the voice of God. May we seek to do this during this Blessed Christmas Season.
Do you have moments, no matter how brief, that you feel the amazing presence of Jesus? They can come upon one quickly and then they fade. They can be after prayer - or while cooking dinner. They are moments that can bring you to your knees. They can give you a smile so wide that it feels it will break your face. Jesus’s love is so overwhelming and amazing! Jesus is the real and only true gift of Christmas. When we celebrate this gift with family and friends we begin to live in the eternal reign of Jesus - right now! May you experience the presence of Jesus - Christmas - this season!
Jesus will heal us if we have faith that He can. In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus heals the paralytic because of the faith of him and of his friends. The did not doubt that Jesus could and would heal him. Are we as open to our own healing? Do we believe it is possible? If so, like the paralytic, we too can be healed of what ails us. All is possible with our Triune Lord!
Advent is a time to prepare our hearts for Christmas. It is much more than being ready for the celebration of this year’s holiday. It is the preparation for our life long celebration of the Incarnation. Jesus came to proclaim that God is for all and in all. Jesus points the way to our own belief in the Incarnation. May we all use this Advent season to prepare our hearts for the continued revelation of the mysteries of the Incarnation in our lives - on Christmas Day and every other day of our year.