The Prologue of the Gospel of John speaks of Christ as God’s Word and Light. May we dwell upon the Word of God in the coming year as we are guided by the Lord’s Light. Happy New Year!
Category Archives: Christmas
The Gospel reveals that growth and knowledge often take time to develop. This process of maturity reminds us that our own spiritual life requires a steady discipline of commitment over the entire course of our lives.
The prophecy of Simeon reveals the Light of Christ in the world, which uncovers human hearts and leads to their rise and fall. The Lord continues to shine in our lives today, inviting us to embrace this light and live accordingly.
In the midst of the Christmas season we see the harsh consequences of human sin. The massacre of the innocent children demands that we carry out the teaching of Christ as we strive to protect those who are most vulnerable.
Study: Recall a time when you experienced a moment of clarity and understanding – when it all came together.
Pray: Ask the Lord for direction and insight regarding any particular decisions or needs.
Serve: How can you help someone clarify their focus and gain direction?
I was sitting in a Calculus class, and my blood was beginning to boil. For over an hour I had been trying to understand a concept without any success. The professor had patiently explained it twice (using two different examples), two friends tried (telling me how EASY it was – like that helped…), and I had read the “helpful hints” section of the textbook (which I still do not understand to this day).
I looked down on the page of equations, a seemingly meaningless series of numbers, letters, and signs, and put my head in my hands and took a deep breath. I then turned to look out the window and daydreamed for a couple of minutes. (I think the professor was just glad I was quiet…!) Then I looked back at the textbook.
It made sense.
I could not believe it. I finally understood in a span of three heartbeats what three different people had been trying to tell me for over an hour. The light bulb went on, and I said “OH!!!” just a little louder then I realized.
The professor, a gentle man with a deep faith, came over to me with a big smile. He said, “Do you get it?” When I told him how it came together he said, “Good for you, Andrew! You just had an epiphany.”
There are times in life when an event or experience comes upon us in a rush. We are caught up in the moment, held in awe by our new awareness. We discover a new insight, understanding, or perspective which shapes and changes how we see the world.
In the Scriptures today we follow the journey of the wise men, guided by a star to the baby Jesus. As the star rose they pursued its course, searching for understanding and wisdom. When they found the child their response reveals the magnitude of their convictions. They knelt in homage, giving the very best gifts they had to offer.
As we journey on in our lives God places before us opportunities and events where the Lord is especially present. In these great and precious moments our eyes are opened – if only briefly – to the grace and blessings around us. We can ask the Lord for this gift of understanding – a gift which recognizes and responds to God’s presence in our midst.
The blog was originally published on January 1, 2015.
The Holy Family reveals how God is present within our families at all times in life – good and bad – and supports us with grace and strength. Holy Family, pray for us!
The martyrdom of St. Stephen is a sober reminder that in light of the joy of the Lord’s birth we also confront the daily reality of death in our world. May St. Stephen inspire us to never take for granted an opportunity to live each day with faith, hope and love.
I keep all of you who listen to these podcasts in my daily prayers! May the coming year be filled with blessings as we grow closer to the Lord and one another.
COVID-19 has disrupted many lives this year, uncovering our human vulnerabilities and weaknesses. May the birth of the messiah remind us that through the Incarnation of Jesus Christ God becomes like us in all things but sin, meeting us in the midst of our struggles and giving us the strength, wisdom and courage to carry on.
Study: What is going on in my family right now? What dynamics, concerns, and strengths are we facing?
Pray: Call upon God’s grace for your family. Be specific and practical!
Serve: How can we help bless our families right now? What can we do to strengthen and unite together as a holy family?
During this holiday season I am amazed – even with all the challenges of COVID-19 – at how many people creatively reorganize their schedules and events to accommodate the many family events that happen during this time of the year. Many people spend long hours on the road, sometimes celebrating Christmas two or three times with different branches of the family tree.
For some people this time of year can be a mixed blessing. The stress of traveling with uncertain weather, compounded with the hectic expectations of the commercial side of the season, can sometimes lead us to view Christmas as an exercise in frustration. This frustration is particularly true when we add the unique issues that are part of our own family.
All of us are part of a family. Some big, others small, some scattered across the globe, others spaced along a couple of city streets. In our extended families there are people we can’t wait to see, and there may even be some who are difficult to get along with for a conversation. Within our families there is usually a mixture of joy and sorrow, peace and discomfort, calm and chaos.
Yet like it or not, God has planted us within these groups of people to help us find our place within the larger world. Our families help define who we are, how we experience life, and what our dreams and hopes are for the future. With all their strengths and weaknesses, our families help us understand the meaning and purpose of our lives.
The fact that we celebrate the family of Jesus helps us realize that God is present within our families, too. The “Holy Family” was not perfect. Hardship and persecution followed them before and after the birth of the baby Jesus. They struggled and suffered like every other family, celebrating the joys and sorrows that accompany us all through life.
The struggles of the Holy Family help us see that the journey of our own families is not an easy one. Yet we can take hope that just as God was present to them, so too will the Lord strengthen us.
The feast of the Holy Family can remind us all that God truly walks with us in our own families. Within the blessings and limitations that exist in our families, we recognize God’s loving touch – shaping our lives and helping us see the “Holy Ones” that God has placed in our midst.
Note: This post was modified from one that was published on December 25, 2017.