January 2, 2017 – Monday before Epiphany

Saint for the day:Basil the Great (329 – 1/1/379)

1 John 2:22-28    –    Psalm 98    –    John 1:19-28

“All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.” (today’s Responsorial Psalm 98)

 In these days following our celebration of Christmas the Church has given us various examples of what it means to “follow Christ.” We have jumped in and out, back and forth from the feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr to St. Thomas Becket, the Holy Innocents and now, Sts. Gregory and Basil who died toward the end of the 4th Century when there was much turmoil in the Church. I think that hearing about this wide variety of saints helps us to understand what it means to follow Christ.

There is something peaceful and quiet about meeting Jesus in the cave at Bethlehem. It’s one of my favorite images and I certainly play that out as I sit here in our House Chapel in the quiet and dark of early morning. No troubles. Nothing bothering me. Very little noise from the outside. I can gaze at the Nativity scene right in front of me and think about how wonderful it is to be here.

But, as I’ve said before, that image of the little baby Jesus, with his arms open in welcoming is the same one who will later stretch out His arms on the Cross for our redemption. Right away, in the midst of all of our joyful, Christmas celebrations we are being reminded that we must get out and get “on the way.” And the saints who are honored in these days are another reminder that it’s not always easy to take a stand for what we believe and there are times when we are very much alone in our desire to be faithful in following Jesus. Just as it must have been challenging for Mary and Joseph we, too, have to come to an awareness of what it means to be “Christ Bearers.” It means that you and I, with all of good and bad qualities are the ones who will carry Jesus to all we meet along the way. Will we make mistakes? Of course. Will there be moments of success? Perhaps. Will we sometimes find ourselves alone in the dark – like Jesus in the Garden – for sure but we are never totally alone if we have made that commitment to follow Jesus. Amen!

 This “Scratchpad Reflection” was originally written for January 2, 2012


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