Thursday, December 31, 2015

Reflections for Christmas Week, Part 2

Thursday – Children of God

God sent His Son that we, too, might become children of God. We humans lost that designation long ago when our first parents sinned, turning their backs on their Father, God, and deciding to go their own way. 

But God, loving Father that He is, didn't give up on humanity. He still wanted a human family to love and care for, so He made covenants with His people, creating family bonds with them by swearing oaths. As the years passed, He expanded His family, gradually incorporating more and more people into His covenants. 

Humans were not yet, however, full members of God's household. They were still in sin, breaking the covenants left and right after the pattern of Adam and Eve. 

But God had a plan: “And the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as of the Father’s only-begotten Son, full of grace and truth.” This Word, this Son, died to save us from our sins and to open the gates of Heaven. He also established a new covenant, a permanent covenant, one that re-instituted God's family in a perfect way in the Church, the Body of Christ, and “to those who did accept Him He gave power to become children of God...” 

We can now be true children of God, true sons and daughters in the Son as members of His very Body. In Baptism, we received sanctifying grace, the indwelling presence of God Himself in our souls, and we cry out “Abba! Father!” in recognition that we are now part of Him. We are His beloved children, and we have the opportunity to live in His house for all eternity.

Friday – A Blessing

On this first day of the new year, simply spend some time reflecting on the blessing we hear in today's First Reading:

“The Lord bless you and keep you!
The Lord let His face shine upon
you, and be gracious to you!
The Lord look upon you kindly and
give you peace!”

Embrace this blessing as your own, and don't be afraid to pass it on.

Saturday – John's Honesty

“Who are you?” The question rang out as the priests and Levites gathered around John the Baptist by the banks of the Jordan. 

John was honest: “I am not the Christ.” The priests and Levites continued their questioning: “What are you then? Are you Elijah?” “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” “No.”

By this time the questioners were stumped. They had run out of options. Contrary to their expectations, John was claiming nothing. 

“Who are you,” the priests and Levites demanded, “so we can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself?

John looked straight at them and replied, “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.” 

The voice who prepared the way for the Word... That was all John ever claimed to be. He could have declared that he was the long-awaited Messiah. People probably would have believed him. He could have asserted that he was Elijah or the Prophet. People had been expecting them, too. But John never insisted on his own importance. He was just the voice, the one who would fade away into the background and allow the Word to take center stage. John knew himself and his Lord too well to ever be anything but honest.

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