Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
Happy New Year!

No, I’m not early. Today is the first day of the Church’s Liturgical year. Today we begin to celebrate anew the events that shape our path to heaven. Matthew will be our gospel writer for the year, the “A” cycle. (Mark is “B,” and Luke is “C.” John pops up during special times including Advent, Lent and Eastertime in all three years.)

I’m sure you were laying awake last night wondering about the liturgical cycles, weren’t you? Personally, I’m grateful because there is a certain genius in the organized flow. Despite occasional evidence to the contrary, the Church is nothing if not organized.

I say ‘celebrate anew’ because the story of the events we celebrate doesn’t change, but WE DO! We are at different places in our lives. At times, the world that whirls around us scarcely seems recognizable, even in the short space of a year.

Remembering events can remind me of stable factors in my faith-life. Remembering helps me deal with some of the instabilities in the rest of my life.

Today’s reading from Matthew might not strike you as reflecting anything ‘stable.’ Jesus says, “For you do not know on which day your Lord will come... you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come."

A little careful reflection showed me something I hadn’t thought of before: for me there is a stability in the idea of being prepared. And more than that, if the Lord is saying “Be prepared” then I know it’s something I can do. Phrases from the other two readings for today jump out.

...walk in his paths. ...walk in the light, ...beat swords into plowshares, ...throw off the works of darkness,...put on the armor of light.

All those things and more give me an agenda that overcomes the sadness I feel when I see the divisions we currently experience in our country. So many of us seem to relish choosing sides and digging in and the swords that were beaten into plowshares are again being refashioned into swords... IF we let that happen.

I don’t need to be right. I want to be light.

I don’t need to be clever. I want to be wise.

What can I do to plow a row of kindness-bearing trees? What can I do to plant a seed that will bear fruit I may never see?

I came across an idea of Father John R. Donahue, S.J. Regarding Matthew and this year’s “A” cycle, he wrote, “Matthew’s gospel leads us deeply into the mystery of the Passion and death of Jesus. At the very beginning of his ministry Jesus is tested by Satan to choose a way of life marked by powerful demonstrations of his power rather than a path of service and suffering. Matthew’s Jesus heals people and violates the sabbath law to aid them as a sign that God desires mercy, not sacrifice. He is the Son of man ‘who came not to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.’ Christians today are summoned to confess with the Roman centurion that the one who was crucified and rejected is truly the Son of God.”

Over the year, Matthew will help us live the paradox of finding life in death – each day.

Next weekend we BRING A FRIEND. As you know, we’ll have wine and cheese after 5:00 Mass on Saturday, and a Sue and Scott (The Martini’s) Pancake and Sausage spectacular after 8:30 and 11:00. Food is always a good way to get folks in. I made a mistake when I said next Sunday was the feast of the Immaculate Conception. That feast is moved to Monday the ninth and it is NOT a holy day of obligation.

Again, Happy New Year! And be well...

In Jesus,
sign frjim

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