Blessed Virgin Mary (Note & Bulletin)

Happy New Year!  With the beginning of a new year, our minds can often turn to making some New Year’s resolutions. I know myself, January 1st begins and I have all the best intentions, only to find that by 10 am I’ve forgotten or broken most of them.  In the First Reading of this past Thursday’s Mass there was a sentence from St John’s Epistle that I had never noticed before. St John said that as Christians, we are to walk as Jesus walked.  When I think of the Christian life, I often think in terms of behavior.  There are commandments in the Old Testament; the moral teachings of the Church; and our own customs to follow.  But St John seems to be saying something different, something more.  Being a disciple of the Lord is not primarily about following rules and instructions that are outside of us, rather is about living according to the life of Christ in an internal way.  What I mean by this is the invitation of God to make Christ’s life our own. 

With his nativity and incarnation, God has made our lives his own and through his grace we can make his life our own. We may wonder how this could ever be.  But I think the joy expressed in our readings this week give us a hint.  In the Second Reading, St Paul writes how, because we “are sons and daughters, God has sent the Spirit of his son into our hearts, crying ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer slaves but son, and if son then also heir, through God.” And, in the Gospel, we hear how when the shepherds returned from seeing the Christ child “glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told to them.”  The joy of the Lord’s coming is the understanding in our hearts that God has taken up our life.  We can so often feel a great distance between ourselves and God, maybe even a distance that’s too big to ever be bridged.  But when the Father sent the Son to be born of Mary, that distance –that gap—has been bridged by God.  This gift of the Lord Jesus is not just for some or the select few but it is for everyone.  And like the wise men who saw it and knew it, we are overwhelmed with joy.  

There are so many things in my life, in my heart, in my faith that I wish were different.  I wish I could be a better disciple of the Lord.  Yet, what is infinitely more important is that my life, all of our lives, with all their imperfections, is taken up in God’s love.  God does not wait for everything in our lives to be perfect; he takes it all up in his love now.  God has saved us and set us free.  As we come to know the incomprehensibility of his love, our hearts become light because our hearts rejoice.  And it is only through our knowing that he has taken up our lives in love that we can ever dare to make his life our own.  For me today, this is the epiphany – the revelation of the Father’s love in Christ Jesus – and the revelation, through that love, of our own identity.  We all desire to walk in light and not in darkness. We all desire to make our home in God’s kingdom.  The truth is just before us.  It is so clear and concrete and yet it is so hard for us to take hold of.  If we are to walk as he walked, to live in love as he lives in love, we want to be who God has made us to be.  We are children of the light; we are children of the Father.  And so, like the shepherds, we are overwhelmed with joy and go forward “glorifying and praising God.”

God Bless, and Take Care!

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Weekly Parish Bulletin559.55 KB

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