Well, a day late, but here we go.
Here is the passage for this Sunday:
John 1:(1-9), 10-18
1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
1:2 He was in the beginning with God.
1:3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being
1:4 in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
1:5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
1:6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
1:7 He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.
1:8 He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.
1:9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
1:10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him.
1:11 He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him.
1:12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God,
1:13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
1:14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
1:15 (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.'”)
1:16 From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
1:17 The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
1:18 No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.
The incarnation is a kind of vast joke whereby the Creator of the ends of the earth comes among us in diapers…. Until we, too, have taken the idea of the God-man seriously enough to be scandalized by it, we have not taken it as seriously as it demands to be taken.
New Year’s Eve
“May God send you help from the sanctuary, and give you support from Zion.” – Psalm 20
Where are you on New Year’s Eve? I’m in an AA meeting, one of God’s strong sanctuaries, even though they are often located in church basements. Some of you will be there, too, later today – it’s the kind of holiday that is hard to take “one day at a time.” Others of you will be in Watch Night services, Weight Watcher meetings, airplanes headed back to college, Alzheimer’s Care units, dialysis chairs, homeless shelters, online with others leaving situations of domestic violence. Some of you will go to a party and others will watch the ball drop in Times Square with a single good friend.
Psalm 20 is a prayer that asks, “God grant your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans, that we may shout in joy over your victories.” Most personal victories come less from tomorrow’s resolutions than today’s good sanctuaries of physical, emotional, financial and spiritual support. Sanctuaries are found where one or more are gathered to care, to help, and then to just shout in joy for another’s success. Sanctuaries are found where God is present in community.
Recognize the sanctuaries in all their diversity. Plan to be in one when you need help; plan to be in one when someone needs you.
God, grant us the humility to seek sanctuary, the compassion to offer it to others – no matter how different they may be from us, and the faith to know that you are always the source of serenity, courage and wisdom. Amen.
There is nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred, and that is one of the deepest messages of the Incarnation.
I am glad, brothers and sisters, that our church is persecuted precisely for its preferential option for the poor and for trying to become incarnate in the interest of the poor and for saying to all the people, to rulers, to the rich and powerful: unless you become poor, unless you have a concern for the poverty of our people as though they were your own family, you will not be able to save society.
Source: The Violence of Love
At the End of the Year
The particular mind of the ocean
Filling the coastline’s longing
With such brief harvest
Of elegant, vanishing waves
Is like the mind of time
Opening us shapes of days.
As this year draws to its end,
We give thanks for the gifts it brought
And how they became inlaid within
Where neither time nor tide can touch them.
The days when the veil lifted
And the soul could see delight;
When a quiver caressed the heart
In the sheer exuberance of being here.
Surprises that came awake
In forgotten corners of old fields
Where expectation seemed to have quenched.
The slow, brooding times
When all was awkward
And the wave in the mind
Pierced every sore with salt.
The darkened days that stopped
The confidence of the dawn.
Days when beloved faces shone brighter
With light from beyond themselves;
And from the granite of some secret sorrow
A stream of buried tears loosened.
We bless this year for all we learned,
For all we loved and lost
And for the quiet way it brought us
Nearer to our invisible destination.
John O’Donohue (1956 – 2008)
Happy New Year