I have grasped you by the hand;I formed you, and set you
as a covenant of the people,
a light for the nations…
I am so thankful that God has me by the hand. I so feel like a little child sometimes – one who needs constant reassurance and guidance. He calls us all to be a light for the nations. One does not have to watch the news to know that our world is shrouded in darkness at the present. Amidst the darkness, however, are glorious beams of light shining forth from God’s children who reach out to the victims of violence, the homeless, the ignorant, the angry, the addicted and so forth. The horrors of evil never trump the beauty and radiance of the light of Christ shining forth. The more we stay connected to God in prayer and scripture each day, the brighter we will be able to shine – the more we can overcome the darkness. Let’s set the world on fire with the love of God!
He shall bring forth justice to the nations,
not crying out, not shouting,
not making His voice heard in the street.
a bruised reed He shall not break…
The Lord is always communicating with us. Most often it is just as described above – in a whisper – softly, gently – yet persistent. How can we better attune ourselves to His voice? I do know that we must put down the electronics. (I say this as I am typing away at my computer!!) We must walk/drive from place to place fully present and aware of our surroundings. We must look for the beauty that exists wherever we are – even in the starkest of places – it is there. We must listen attentively. What does He wish to say to us? How much more would we feel His presence if we but increase our receptiveness.
Why spend your money for what is not bread,
your wages for what fails to satisfy?
Heed Me, and you shall eat well,
you shall delight in rich fare.
Come to Me heedfully,
listen, that you may have life.
Stuff. We are surrounded by stuff. There is a gadget or app for nearly everything one would need to do. Our homes and offices are filled with stuff. Stuff is not bad, so long as it does not hinder our relationship with God, ourselves and with each other. I find it so freeing to go through my home a couple of times a year and purge – de-clutter. Here are a few words of wisdom regarding stuff:
“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”
“Unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens. If you have them, you have to take care of them! There is great freedom in simplicity of living. It is those who have enough but not too much who are the happiest.”
Peace Pilgrim (Sorry – not sure who that is)
“If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.”
Give to the LORD glory and praise,
Give to the LORD the glory due his name…
As a society, we seem to have lost fear of the Lord and respect for His Holy Name. His name is used so casually. Sometimes, it is even used as a word to curse. How this must wound the heart of our God. In the new year, let us resolve ourselves to use His name with utmost respect. Let us also resolve to not tolerate disrespect to the name of our God in the forms of entertainment we chose.
The LORD is enthroned as king forever…
Of course, this reminds me of enthronement of the Sacred Heart in the Domestic Church – our families. I cannot emphasize enough how this consecration has changed my family for the better. Jesus made 12 promises to those who honor His Sacred Heart. They are amazing promises, not to take lightly or dismissed. Can you imagine how our world would be transformed if families would truly make Jesus the KING of their hearts and of their homes? I beg you to consider it.
God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD.
I know of so many people who are suffering right now – good people, faithful people. I bet you do too. Sometimes, it is overwhelming – the sense of helplessness we experience in the face of such suffering. You know, with the amount of sin and evil in the world right now, Christ’s heart must just be broken. After all that He has done for us as a human race, and this is how we honor and thank Him. It logically goes to follow that if Christ is suffering, that those who love Him and are closest to Him would be suffering as well. Does that make sense? We are connected, so we share in His suffering – sometimes in body, sometimes in mind and sometimes in spirit. The wonderful news though is that we are never alone. He is with us, beside us, surrounding us, infusing us by the power of His Spirit with His strength, His peace and His love. On one hand (in very human terms) suffering sucks. On the other hand, it can be a very, very powerful tool of transformation – a very powerful means of salvation. Think about this.
In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.
Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly
is acceptable to Him…
Do we truly think of everyone around the world – rich, poor, educated, uneducated, black, white, Muslim, Jew…as our brother and sister? Do we long for everyone’s salvation? Are we willing to make sacrifices, to offer up our suffering and to pray that everyone may “fear the Lord and act uprightly?”
Finally, in today’s gospel, we visit the scene of Jesus’ baptism. Jesus did not need to be baptized, as He was without sin. Our Lord didn’t just tell us what we must do, He showed us what to do and submitted Himself to it. That is what a good teacher does. This is what makes Him the ultimate teacher! In submitting to baptism Himself, He not only showed us the Way, but He sanctified the waters of baptism for all that would follow Him. Our God is truly an awesome God!