by Ed McKibbin, Notre Dame Associate
The prayer below was sent home from my boy’s school.
It seems to fit as we celebrate the Presentation of Christ this weekend.
Heavenly Father, on this Feast of Candlemas (the Presentation of Christ), I recall the gift Mary and Joseph gave to the world by offering baby Jesus to You in the temple.
I offer up to You all the children in my family. I place them into Your perfect will and I turn their futures over to You.
Help me to let go of my ideas of what they should do with their lives, and show me how to guide them into the purposes for which You created them. Help me to learn from the example of the Blessed Mother, whose heart was pierced by the sword of her Son’s pain, how to always trust in Your plans. Holy Family, pray for us.
On this Feast of Candlemas I believe it is a good time to assess how we depend upon and trust God in our daily lives. Simeon and Anna are two people referenced in the Gospel, in addition to the examples provided to us by Mary and Joseph, who live their daily lives based upon complete trust in and dependence upon God. Simeon and Anna are rewarded by having the opportunity to personally witness in person that long awaited Messiah.
This is a good lesson for us in our daily lives. When we reply upon ourselves, as opposed to God, we find that it is easy to become frustrated and angry during the difficult times in our lives. However, when we turn our lives over to God completely, and depend upon God in our day-to-day lives, we are rewarded, like Simeon and Anna, with the feeling of God’s presence in our daily lives when moments become challenging.
I acknowledge that this is often easier said than done, because we tend to be prideful and think we are strong enough to handle anything that comes our way. Yet, God calls us, and is always there for us to trust and depend upon Him to lead us in our lives. Those times we can do this are the times when we feel most at peace given that we sense the presence of God in everything we do and in everything that comes our way in life.
by Phyllis Chandler, Notre Dame Associate
“The Lord is my light and my salvation.”
In the second reading this Sunday, from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he says, “I urge you . . . that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.” It appears that even among the early Christians there was divisiveness and bickering about whose “camp” they belonged to.
The same is true today. Our country is torn apart by partisanship, name-calling, and animosity. Instead of uniting to achieve our shared goals, we are deeply divided and accomplishing little that will bring about peace and the common good.
Surely we can do better. Issues are seldom as clear-cut as they appear. The more we study them with an open mind, the more aware of this we become. For example, we are called to respect life. Yet, individuals who are adamantly opposed to abortion strongly support the death penalty. Many people express concern about climate change, but are wasteful of our natural resources. On a personal level, I recently had to question to what extent my love of chocolate contributes to the forced labor of children on the cocoa plantations!
Perhaps we should listen to St. Paul’s exhortation to follow the gospel of Jesus “so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.”
During the coming week, let us more closely examine our own beliefs and biases and pray that the light of Christ will illumine us to work with each other toward a shared vision of God’s will in our lives.
by Marylou Garrett, Notre Dame Associate
This Sunday’s readings emphasize that by responding to God’s call and humbly doing his will rather than our own, we point the way to Jesus and help reveal God’s faithful love for all of creation.
In the first reading God calls his chosen people, Israel, to manifest his forgiving love to the Gentiles as well as to their fellow Jews. “I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” The future, perfect, light to the nations will be Jesus.
In John’s gospel’s account of Jesus’ baptism, John the Baptist humbly recognizes his role was to point to one greater than himself. “The reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known by Israel.” The Spirit had revealed this to John, and John put the spotlight on Jesus, the one who would baptize with the Holy Spirit.
Jesus’ own humility in accepting his cross out of love for us literally saved us. When we were baptized we were anointed with the same Spirit that he was. In what specific ways is the Holy Spirit calling you and me, right now, to decrease so that our modern world’s awareness of God’s tender love for all of us, right now, can increase?
by Sr Mary Kay Meagher ND
A long time ago I was involved in a parish Baptismal prep for expectant parents. I was stunned hearing in their discussion the questions of what will happen to my baby if he or she dies and is not baptized?
It has called me to examine what is Baptism really about? It is not the ceremony or timing or circumstances surrounding the event but the establishment of God’s relationship with me.
This Sunday we celebrate the Baptism of our Lord. What is outstanding in this story is not the how of His Baptism but what was revealed to Jesus in the voice he heard:
“You are my Son, my Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
Jesus’s baptism, at the hands of John the Baptist, was God’s liberating spirit of approval. It was not a washing away of sin.
I suggest reflecting and listening to the voice spoken to each one of us in our own Baptism:
“You are my beloved daughter (or son…with you I am well pleased.”
How can we really hear this? Take this in? Live with the enormity of this relationship every day? Listen to this voice? Let it shape our being?
by Sr. Rita Ostry, ND
This weekend we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord, the manifestation of Jesus’ presence to the Magi and all people. What intrigues me in the gospel story is the three people following a star that leads them to Jesus. The experience had a profound effect in their lives. This challenges me to ponder what star am I following that is leading me closer to Jesus? Is this deepening my relationship with Jesus?
So I take time to consider various stars ---
These are a few stars that are shining and inviting me to some serious change and action. What star is beckoning you to be led to a deeper relationship with Jesus? How is Jesus manifesting his presence in your life? Blessings on your week and may you be guided by a star that leads you into a surprising relationship with Jesus.