Epiphany Reflection, Jan. 6, 2018
Seek the well-being of the city to which I
have sent you. Pray for it to God. For in seeking
its well-being, you shall find your own. Jer.29:7
The prophets called upon the people: Raise your eyes and look about. Your heart shall overflow
at what you see. Places we go are often only lit by the light of faith. Like the Magi, our search
pushes us onward to look for the holy, to understand the promise of the One who calls us forward. It is ours to follow the star, expect the light, bring the hope – all the gifts we have to give
to the city.
When the sun rises in the morning sky, you will see the Savior, Gift from God. “And the Word was made flesh and lived among us.” John 1:14
The great symbol in the Christmas story is light. The people who walked in darkness and waiting in fear now see a great light: Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, the townspeople, the Magi. Thanks to Christmas we will never be left in darkness. This day is the beginning of the story that leads everyone to the great Paschal Mystery of Easter when we pray that the “light of Christ rising in glory will dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.” And one by one, whether it be Christmas, Epiphany or the Vigil of Easter, our call is to pass the light to each other.
Fourth Sunday of Advent, Dec. 24, 2017
The Prophet Samuel, reflects in the first reading today, the building of a house and a community. A place and a welcome for the guest who will come and make the promise of life which will endure forever. 2 Sam.7:1-5,8-12,14,16
The boundaries of heaven and earth are not as fixed as we think. God is everywhere and always present calling us to be the means by which God works in the world. What is the road God puts before us?
The writer called Luke puts before us in the Gospel the story of a young girl in a backwater town who becomes the instrument for God to enter the world. Amazing! Her “yes” to this invitation is a turning point for all of humanity. Our “Yes” continues Jesus coming.
Third Sunday of Advent, Dec. 17, 2017
Isaiah preaches, “The spirit of God is upon me … and in my God is the joy of my soul.”
Joy, the theme of this third Sunday of Advent, calls us out of ourselves and focuses our attention on others or on a cause bigger than ourselves. Joy flows from God’s presence in us and transforms everything. What joy do you see around you this year … in yourself, your family or friends, in the goodness of others?
The Gospel of John, with insights from his community:
John’s words point us in a strong direction: the light of the One who comes after him. Get ready is the point; make straight the way of God. It’s a good Sunday to look at priorities. What is keeping you too busy? What do you hope for? What is the invitation of hope this year? How do you notice it?
So may we know of hope that is not just for someday but for this day – here,
now, in this moment, not made of wishes but of substance,
Hope made of muscle and bone, hope that has breath and a beating heart,
Hope that will not keep quiet and be polite.
Hope knows how to holler when it is called for, hope that knows how to sing when there seems little cause, hope that raises us from the dead, not someday but everyday
again and again and again.
Second Sunday of Advent, Dec. 10, 2017
We go to the universe, to all of creation to find the deep mysteries of our existence promised by God. God calls our community to see what is important, to resist the behaviors that distract us from the real work at hand and to give ourselves to loving one another and the One whom we will one day see face to face and know fully, even as we are fully known. Christ does not wait for an Apocalypse before he shows up, he is in our midst even now.
The Prophet Isaiah writes, “Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God.”
Comfort is one of the great treasures God offers to us in this season. When we become aware of God’s comfort to us we can open our hearts to the broken-hearted among us. It is our call to Advent holiness.
Pray and assist the poor found on our city streets
Bless the feet that dance in Guatemala and Haiti
Clap to the rhythm of liberation in every heart and in every place
Light a match in the dark in you in me in Puerto Rico
And carry the coming dawn – give comfort.
– Jan Richardson (adapted)
First Sunday of Advent, Dec. 3, 2017
All the way back to the earliest of times, the waiting called Advent began in the heart of God. As the people waited for God’s coming, they listened to the promise revealed by the Prophets whose teachings helped them understand the Divine-human relationship. They learned peace – shalom. They learned hope, as a mystery, a path to trust that what was revealed to them would be fulfilled.
We too, thousands of years after the Prophets, listen to hear the Word as it comes to us in a world broken-hearted and yearning for the peace promised – God with us – that can transform our world and our lives.
The reading for the First Sunday of Advent from the Prophet Isaiah tells us,
“Yes God, you are our parent, we are the clay and you the potter;
we are all the work of your hands.”
The Gospel of Mark reminds us,
“May God not come to you suddenly and find you sleeping.
What I say to you. I say to all: Watch. Christ will give you light.”
What signs of Jesus coming will you look for? What does it mean to be clay in God’s hands? Sometimes God shows up in ways that will surprise us.
Prayer: God, may we be so awake that we become more aware of our need for You and more aware of the needs of many suffering in our world today. We cry out, “ Come, Lord Jesus.” And God’s answer is always, “I’m coming.”