At once

 St. Peter's Church, Kilmore Quay, County Wexford, Ireland photograph by Andreas F. Borchert

St. Peter’s Church, Kilmore Quay,
County Wexford, Ireland
photograph by Andreas F. Borchert

Every day the Lord says to me, “This is my way: Love your neighbor. Forgive your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you. Give to the one who asks of you. Feed the hungry. Take care of the poor, homeless, imprisoned, and vulnerable. Let your light shine for all to see. Come after me.”

How quick am I to leave my old habits and attitudes and behaviors to follow him?

[Jesus] said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Matthew 4:19-20

Pointing to love

El Greco (1541-1614) San Juan Bautisto oil on canvas, between ca.1600 and ca1605 Museu de Belles Arts de València

El Greco (1541-1614)
San Juan Bautisto
oil on canvas, between ca.1600 and ca.1605
Museu de Belles Arts de València

Today I will join John the Baptist in announcing the presence of Jesus by letting love illuminate and transform my words, thoughts, and actions.

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” John 1:29

The best gift

JESUS MAFA. <a href=

JESUS MAFA. Visit of the Three Wise Men, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved January 8, 2017]

Pay attention. Listen deeply. Encourage often. Stay in touch. Walk with reverence in all circumstances. Practice warm, welcoming silence.

Go gently, intentionally in the presence of God.

On entering the house [the magi] saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Matthew 2:11

A New Year

Piedad serie negra By RuizAnglada (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Piedad serie negra 195×150 1984 A-L
By RuizAnglada (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

A time to ponder new beginnings. To listen more deeply to the silence of God. To trust God’s peaceful, eternal presence.

And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Luke 2:19

Reverence

Balzhausen, Leonhardskapelle, Krippe Photo: Andreas Praefcke

Balzhausen, Leonhardskapelle, Krippe
Photo: Andreas Praefcke

May I follow the example of the shepherds. May I hasten to seek God’s Word. May I pay reverence to the most vulnerable of our human family.

When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. Luke 2:15-16

God is with us

advent_lightsGod is with us, God is in charge, God’s vision still has its time. Do not be afraid.

[The angel of the Lord said, “Mary] will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” Matthew 1:21-23

Shaping a prophet

3_candlesAs my paycheck seems to leave less and less for extras, my belongings are becoming more and more shabby. I fantasize about the shame of having my baggy, well-worn wool sweater chosen as the ugliest in a competition.

Jesus reminds me that fine clothing doesn’t make a prophet. Nor do power, riches, and fame. A prophet is shaped by hearing the Word of God and practicing the Way of love, peace, nonviolence, forgiveness, compassion, acceptance, and respect. A prophet stands firmly grounded in the truth of God’s love for all of humankind.

Today I will look for opportunities to love my neighbor. I will do my best to be a prophet by  sharing God’s gifts of joy and kindness.

Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out to the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine clothing? Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces. Then why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.”
Matthew 11:7-9