Well, this is obviously the last Wednesday Wisdom for 2014. I hope this has been helpful to you throughout the past year. Please feel free to share it and to tell others that they can be added to my mailing list.
This week’s Gospel: 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.
“Living fully, loving wastefully and being all that we can be” is my definition of seeing the presence of God in human life. To live for another is to escape the natural human drive to survive and to enable us to live for others, to give ourselves away in love for another. It means placing someone beside ourselves at the center of our affections. It is to recognize that God is part of who we are and that we are part of who or what God is. God is the quality of life that I see in the picture and memory of Jesus that transcends the ages. It also transcends the limits of the literal words in the biblical text. That quality is why I assert with St. Paul, that somehow and in the same way God was in this Jesus. That is finally why I am a committed Christian.
John Shelby Spong
Contrary to all our fond hopes, you seized upon precisely this kind of human life and made it your own. And you did this not in order to change or abolish it, not so that you could visibly and tangibly transform it, not to divinize it…. No, you took upon yourself our kind of life, just as it is.
Source: Encounters With Silence
We are being shown here something profoundly significant about human life. God speaks … in our language and shows us [God’s] secret beauty on our scale. We begin not by an arrogant other-worldliness, but by a humble recognition that human things can be holy, very full of God, and that high-minded speculations about [God’s] nature need not be holy at all; that all life is engulfed in [God] and [God] can reach out to us anywhere at any level.
Source: Light of Christ
As the year draws to a close, a prayer by Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, written shortly before his assassination in 1980, offers this insight:
“It helps now and then, to step back and take the long view. The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
“We plant the seeds that one day will grow,” Romero continued. “We lay foundations that will need further development.
“We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning . . . an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
“We may never see the end results,” Romero concluded, “but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own. Amen.”
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)