When the Three Kings came, they were representatives of the gentile world. The light of the Christ child shone upon them, too. Not only did they see his star in the east, but they also had very good connections with angels, and they receive a warning in a dream not to return to Herod the Great. Herod had murdered two of his own sons, some of his wives, and his faither-in-law as well to stay in power. When the Magi left town not telling Herod about the Messiah, he murdered all the boys younger than two years of age, because they too, threatened his reign. Joseph hid Mary and Jesus in Egypt to avoid Herod’s evil.
Herod and Evil seems like one heck of a way to begin the first TWITCH OF 2022. Fortunately, that’s not what we heard as the first reading today. Did you hear Isaiah?
What incredible words. I steal some thoughts from Fr. Tom Shanahan, SJ., (of Creighton University.) He says,
“Consider for contemplation some of the words and phrases offered by the prophet:
- the "splendor" of Jerusalem
- the "glory of God"
- the "light" that pierces the darkness
- becoming "radiant" by what you see and experience
- your heart will "throb and overflow" the "riches" of the sea will be emptied out for you” THAT’S the way to begin a New Year. In the middle of all the stuff that challenges us today, there is extraordinary news: We are people of light. The glory of the Lord is lighting us up. We come together as a community of believers to remind ourselves of just who we are. We leave hand in hand, or maybe elbow to elbow, to show each other the way, and to be light for each other, the light that comes from faith.
We sing, “Let it Shine, let it Shine, let it Shine!”
Let what shine? This little light, that’s what. And... “I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine..."
It’s not just let the light shine; but I’m ‘gonna’ be the one to shine it. Anyone got a battery?
Sometimes our batteries do run low. I have one in the power chair I use that’s persnickety sometimes. I plug it in to charge and it eventually winks back in green. For no good reason, however, sometimes it just says, “I think I will slow down for a while.” The chair moves slower. I just wait until it changes its mind and it decides to go where I want to go.
SO, speaking of being charged, where do you think we will wind up this year? Shall 2022 be a time of healing and hope? Seems to me, the answer is, “It’s up to us.” At least I know for myself that what will be important is what I bring to the table. I won’t wait for someone else to do it for me. It’s one thing to be gracious about accepting the kindness of other people; it’s another thing to expect it, as though it was your due, and not because someone else is being kind. I’d like 2022 to be a time when I can kick it up a notch by working harder at noticing the goodness of other people. I know the more I see in them the more I will “do likewise.”
I’d also like to begin this year the way I ended 2021. I want to thank all the people who make this a great parish, especially all the ministry people. The “attitude of gratitude” is a pretty good fuel, if you want to mirror the face of Jesus in day-to-day living.
I was thinking about making a resolution for 2022 to preach shorter, but you’re not going to get that lucky.
Here’s a prayer for great times to be spent together, with and in the Lord.