Second Week of Christmas: Dec. 30 - Jan. 5, 2019

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Alexander, Andy, S.J.
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"The sower sows the word. Those sown among thorns are... the people who hear the word, but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches, and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word, and it bears no fruit." Mark 4
Second Week of Christmas|The Sunday that follows Christmas is always the celebration of the Holy Family. There are wonderful readings from the Book of Sirach, the First Book of Samuel, and Paul"s letter to the Colossians or the First Letter of John. The gospel is the story of the teen aged Jesus teaching in the temple while his parents could not find him. Jesus goes back home with his family. "He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man."|Like Christmas Week, this week is filled with special Church celebrations. Tuesday is the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, The Mother of God. It is also the World Day of Peace. Wednesday is the Memorial of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church. Thursday has the optional memorial of the Holy Name of Jesus. Friday is the Memorial of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious. Saturday is the Memorial of Saint John Neumann, Bishop.|The first reading during the week continues from the First Letter of John, encouraging us to make our home in the one who makes his home in us. In Jesus, we have eternal life and we are called to love one another. The Gospels this week show us the public life of Jesus as it begins in John. Monday we hear John's iconic opening lines of his Gospel: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,and the Word was God."|Sunday is the celebration around the world of the Epiphany of the Lord. The light has come into the darkness of the world and our salvation was made known to the Gentiles. The Prophet Isaiah offers us a vibrant image of hope and fulfillment: "Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you." Matthew's Gospel brings us the story of the Magi and their encounter with Herod on the way to "do homage" to the newborn King of the Jews. "And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was."
Daily Prayer This Week|There is a very quick transition after Christmas. We move into Jesus' public life, almost completely passing over the hidden life years. Before we know it, Jesus is down at the Jordan, waiting to be baptized.|It helps to recognize this and let ourselves enter this part of the mystery of the Incarnation. We are living in the flesh each day of our lives. He came to enter this life and be with us in it. After Christmas, we have a few days to let the blessing of Christmas settle in. Now we are moving toward Ordinary Time in just one week.|Each one of us can begin our post-Christmas and the beginning of our New Year's time by staying in touch with ourselves in the flesh - as people touched by Jesus' coming. We can turn to our Lord throughout each day and have real conversations with our Savior. Over the kitchen sink, by the dishwasher, in front of the washing machine. While driving, walking, going to a meeting, returning from one.|During our preparation for Christmas we were asking the Lord to open our hearts, to let us wait with patient trust, and to come to us. During Christmas week we experienced joy and the mixed challenges of Christmas. This week we have the opportunity to have ordinary conversations with our Lord who came to be with us.|Thank you so much, Lord, for becoming flesh for me. And, thank you for being with me now, in the midst of each day's joys and sorrows. I ask you to increase my trust in you, my desire for closeness with you and my commitment to turn to you all day long. Continue to be with me when I have to make difficult decisions, when I need extra patience and care when in challenging situations. Continue to let my heart experience the joy of Christmas this week as I see signs of your presence with me.|When these words take on our own voice and our details, it will feel very personal. And, when we speak about our fears, our needs, when we express our gratitude and our deep desires, we are living and intimate relationship with the one who became flesh that we might never need feel alone again.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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