Tag Archives: Gospel of Matthew

Blessed with peace

Rip Caswell (b.1962)
Baptism of Christ

May the Lord bless his people with peace. Psalm 29:11b

Today may we be blessed with
trust in God’s unfailing presence,
confidence in God’s love and patience,
comfort in God’s peace.

Pay homage

attributed to Payag (Indian)
The Magi Follow the Star, from a Mirror of Holiness (Mir’at al-quds) of Father Jerome Xavier, SJ (1549–1617)
Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper, between 1602 and 1604
Cleveland Museum of Art

And behold, the star that [the magi] had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. Matthew 2:9b

Would I have seen the star that would lead me to find Jesus? Or would I have been like King Herod, unable to see and follow, afraid and troubled?

Today I will look for and pay homage to the light of God’s self-revelation in nature, in the people I encounter, in prayer and meditation. I will not be afraid to welcome God’s presence.

Leaving home

Flight into Egypt
France, 17th century
polychromed oakwood
collection of the Musée L, Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. Matthew 2:14

Imagine how frightened Joseph and Mary were — and how courageous — to leave their homeland in the face of danger and persecution, and to make a new life in a strange country.

My ancestors came to America from Ireland, most of them so poor they traveled in steerage. One side of the family was illiterate. On the other side, my great-great grandmother died soon after arriving in New York and so did the baby twins to whom she had just given birth. Men on both sides of the family took work as laborers and mill workers. They saved what they could from their tiny salaries, bought houses, turned their yards into vegetable gardens, and made sure their children got a good education. Today I live very comfortably, thanks to the courage of my ancestors.

May I always extend a welcome to newcomers. May I be grateful for their example of courage and their reminder of my own family story. May I remember Jesus, too, was a refugee.

 

 

 

Whose star

JESUS MAFA. The Three Wise Men, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.

The star of the Christ leads me by the light of love, hope, compassion, and peace to reveal God’s goodness in me, my neighbor, and the world.

Other stars in our world attract me with the promise of riches, power, ease, and fame.

And then there are the dark stars that seduce me into depression, despair, and discontent.

I must choose with the wisdom of the magi the star I will follow.

And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. Matthew 2:9b

In this moment

Unknown Icon Painter, Russian (active 1690-1710 in northern Russia)
The Holy Trinity
egg tempera on wood, between 1690 and 1710

We are in the presence of God. Now.

We are not alone. We have not been abandoned. The Lord is with us always.

Listen to the silence. Feel the fullness. Absorb the peace.

Trust.

[Jesus approached and said to them,] “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b

The mystery made known

And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. Matthew 2:9b

Those who have made the trek, followed the star, and encountered the Christ teach me that the power and light of love can never be fully obscured. May their example renew my faith when it is clouded by pain, depression, or grief, and rekindle my hope when it is diminished by disappointment, disillusionment, or discouragement.

 

When did I see you

Photograph of a Soup Kitchen during the Depression
June 1936
National Archives and Records Administration.
Office of Presidential Libraries.
Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.

There are no subtexts or hidden agendas with Jesus. He spells out exactly how we are to serve him: by taking care of each other, especially those who are poor or in need.

Who can I help today?

[Jesus said to his disciples,] ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Matthew 25:34b-35