Last Sunday, the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus was celebrated, bringing the Christmas-Epiphany cycle to its conclusion. Unlike Matthew and Luke, who begin with the infancy narratives, Mark begins his Gospel with the baptism of Jesus: the heavens opened, the Spirit descending like a dove, and the Father’s voice: “You are my Son, my beloved; with you I am well-pleased.” Each day of his life, in every aspect of his mission on earth, Jesus lived out of the truth of those words spoken by his Father: he lived as the Beloved Son of God.
as I prepare to go into the world,
help me to see the sacrament
in the wearing of this cloth ---
let it be “an outward sign of an inward grace” ---
a tangible and visible way
of living love for my neighbors,
as I love myself.
For many of us, this pandemic has felt like a long, endless winter night. I am reminded of the Chronicles of Narnia, where the White Witch ruled over a land where "it was always winter but never Christmas." But when Aslan came, spring returned to Narnia. So too, for Mary and Joseph, the road from Nazareth to Bethlehem was a hard, cold journey
There was a slight, yet brisk breeze blowing; it was as if the breeze were guiding me to the Temple. The sun was barely peeking over the surrounding hills as I walked into the courtyard. I started pacing, and as I turned around, a flickering light caught my eye. It seemed to be coming from one of the Temple rooms. It may have been a candle, but I couldn’t stop looking at its brilliance pouring from the window.