Responding to God’s Call

Responding to God’s Call
by Lucinda M. Vardey

As we enter more fully into the New Year, and settle into what the Church calls “Ordinary Time” we are given the opportunity to hone our prayer life and begin again with God.

God can call us at any time. In fact, it is usually within the regular everyday activities of ordinary life that this happens. God’s call is rarely delivered like a flash of lightning, or a thunderbolt. Jesus often negated others’ requests for miraculous signs to prove his messianic kingship, by emphasizing instead the centrality of personal faith.

Jesus exemplified that perfect symmetry of relationship with God, that of doing, above all, the will of God, the purpose of every believer’s life.

As we read in the book of Samuel, God calls more than once. We may not hear it as directly as the prophet, because God invites in a variety of ways. Some of us hear God’s voice in our emotions, our feelings, a deep sense of what we are to do: others find God’s calling through their service, a slow revealing of direction within the sharing of their talents and gifts. Others, like the sick and suffering – or like Samuel himself – may be lying on their beds: some may be alone on a street, or in a park, some may be on their way to a football game (as our former pastor, Fr. Ken Decker was doing when called to his vocation to the priesthood).

Many of us are afraid to take risks, but it almost goes without saying that God’s call requires them. Let us begin again to follow the Lord’s directive by stepping away from the sidelines of pondering with maybe some fear, to acting with trust and confidence as Samuel did. May we be ready to do whatever we are asked by uttering the prayer, “Here I am, speak, Lord for your servant is listening.”

Sunday’s Readings:
1 Samuel 3.3b-10, 19
Psalm 40
1 Corinthians 6.13c-15a, 17-20
John 1.35-42

Gold, Frankincense, Me & You

Gold, Frankincense, Me & You
by John Dalla Costa

Make a trek today
With willing heart follow the star
Behold the light, laser-like illuminating the Child
Come let us bring our gifts

In a heartbeat of silence
Ponder the Presence
Bask in the Child’s glow
Touch tenderly His tiny fingers
Caress with Mother Mary His cheek

Then join the wise ones
Make an offering
Be the gift
What will be the treasure we bring to Jesus?
What commitment will we lay at the crib?
How will we honour Him?

The Child has come to save us
Yet as a child needs us
To be His eyes in our world
To be His hands doing the needed work of now
To hear for Him the joys and sighs of our sisters and brothers
To be His heart enveloping the world’s sorrows and hopes
To mourn and be merciful
And to seek justice and make peace –
In His name
And in His stead

All of us matter more than gold
Each of us are indispensable

Having followed the star generations have followed
Having heeded the holy-tug of Sacred Scripture
We too are now intertwined in the story –
Mother and Child, me and you

We’ve all crossed our own deserts of longing to be here
We’ve all trusted that God’s promise would be kept
The hard-won glorious Epiphany is ours –
Not only having God revealed to us in a stable
But revealing as well our deepest selves to God

Make a trek today
Bow, or on bended knee, approach the crib
What will we offer Our Lord?
What gift to the Christ-Child can only I make?

Sunday’s Readings:
Isaiah 60.1-6
Psalm 72
Ephesians 3.2-3a, 5-6
Matthew 2.1-12

Joy in the Family

Joy in the Family

by Fr. Norm Tanck, CSB

The Gospel for this weekend’s Feast of the Holy Family ends by telling us that, “When Mary and Joseph had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him”. We can assume that not only Jesus grew and became strong, but also that Mary and Joseph continued to mature and that as a family they grew stronger because of their love for one another and their desire to be obedient to God’s plan for them. Their obedience and love for each other gave them hope in the face of adversity and filled them with joy in ordinariness of everyday life. It was their love for one another that sustained them through difficult times. We can look to Mary and Joseph as an example and model of a family in distress as they were forced by conditions beyond their control to flee from Bethlehem to Egypt and move from place to place before they were able to settle in Nazareth. It was their love that brought them moments of peace and consolation in the hardscrabble life in a small Galilean town. And it is their love that is the model for Christian families today and a model for us as a Christian community. Reflecting on the Holy Family, Pope Francis said, “The true joy which is experienced in the family is not something random and fortuitous. It is a joy produced by deep harmony among people, which allows them to savour the beauty of being together, of supporting each other on life’s journey. However, at the foundation of joy there is always the presence of God, his welcoming, merciful and patient love for all. If the door of the family is not open to the presence of God and to his love, then the family loses its harmony, individualism prevails, and joy is extinguished. Instead, the family which experiences joy — the joy of life, the joy of faith — communicates it spontaneously, is the salt of the earth, and light of the world, the leaven for all of society.”

Sunday’s Readings:

Genesis 15.1-6; 17.3b-5, 15-16; 21.1-7

Psalm 105

Hebrews 11.8, 12-13, 17-19

Luke 2.22-40