The Gospels continue to challenge us to the core. This is especially true in the way our social relationships have developed.
Feeling safe and secure in the world are not things that come easily these days. Actually, we may find ourselves feeling more reservation, caution, reluctance, and fear than ever before. In a moment's notice, life can drastically change. When someone has been intentionally and violently hurt, especially someone we love, we can all too easily find ourselves very attracted to the Old Testament philosophy of "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth."READ MORE
We cannot exchange them at will or simply use them for our own designs and purposes. What does the word “commitment” mean to you? We can begin to understand its meaning by looking at some synonyms: dedication, devotion, allegiance, loyalty, faithfulness, fidelity, and bond. Commitment is primarily about relationship, and Jesus is all about relationships. How our lives affect others, how we treat our brothers and sisters, how we resolve conflict, and how we view the vows of marriage. Jesus’ teachings on obeying the commandments, murder, reconciliation, marriage, divorce, and adultery all stem from the sacredness of commitment. All of this has a God connection.READ MORE
To be salt means to bring taste, zest, and joy to life. We are asked to liven things up a bit by allowing the joy of our faith to spill over into the lives of others. Only a sincere and deep relationship with God can freshen up humanity and set it on proper course. To be light means that our faith must translate into action so that we can be Christ for others and extend the same arm of mercy and compassion that Christ did.
Our acts of piety, then, cannot be directed solely at ourselves. Prayer is never about self-benefit but must always be directed toward union with God, deepening our relationships with one another and learning how to be effective stewards of the beautiful universe God has entrusted to our care.READ MORE
"Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel."
Very often, having more light is not something we desire as it forces us to confront something we really do not want to see. There can be comfort found in darkness. It has an eerie sense of security to it. We do not have to challenge ourselves or be challenged and can simply exist in some fabricated state of self-fabricated blissfulness. Jesus came to bring light, and it is a light that is resisted by many and hated by some. It is a light that causes us to see things as they really are and not as we would want or need them to be.READ MORE
It begins! Jesus is doing something new. “He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea.” Jesus leaves his family, his profession of carpentry, and everything he has known and loved for the previous 30 years.
He goes because it is time. Something new is beginning, and Jesus will not begin it alone. “As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers … he walked along from there and saw two other brothers.” What does he say to these men? “Come after me.” These words are for Peter and Andrew, for James and for John. They are also for all of us.READ MORE
On the cusp of fame, power, or influence, would you turn it down? Today’s Gospel again features John the Baptist. Controversial but popular, John has gathered quite a group of followers. He has disciples. Peoplecome from near and far to be baptized by him. Pharisees and government leaders are drawn to his preaching. If John was another man, a lesser man, he would have claimed his owngreatness. Instead, John the Baptist is a witness to humility.
“The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Beholdthe Lamb of God … he is the one of whom I said, “A man iscoming after me who ranks ahead of me.”… the reason why Icame baptizing with water was that he might be made known.’”READ MORE
The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives four reasons for the Incarnation, why God became man in Jesus Christ. The third reason is "to be our model of holiness." All of Jesus' words and actions model for us what we ought to do. He also shows us how we're meant to be. Jesus' baptism ought to remind us of our own baptism and of the importance of baptism in the Christian life.
The Baptism of the Lord reminds us of our Trinitarian identity. When we are baptized, we stand in solidarity with Christ, bathed in the waters he sanctified. There, the Father proclaims our adoption into the family of God. "'This is my beloved son [this is my beloved daughter], with whom I am well pleased.'" And the Spirit, too, descends. We are filled with the Spirit's grace and power to continue Christ's mission on earth.READ MORE
We may walk many roads when we search for God, and He leads us all the while. The men we honor today were not Jews. The Messiah wasn’t coming for them, not in the minds of Jesus’ contemporaries. These men were astrologers. They were adept at reading portents in the sky, a practice condemned in the Mosaic covenant. Still, to the best of their knowledge and awareness, they were seeking the truth. This truth led them to journey from their own homeland to honor a king they’d never met, one they couldn’t be sure truly existed. “‘We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.’” Who do you know seeks God so tenaciously?READ MORE