First Week of Ordinary Time: Jan. 3-9, 2021

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Alexander, Andy, S.J.
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"Beloved, we love God because he first loved us. " 1 John 4
The Week of Epiphany|For most of the world, January 6, is the celebration of the Epiphany of the Lord, although the US and some other countries celebrate it this Sunday. It is the feast in which we celebrate the Good News being shown/revealed to the Gentiles - the rest of the world. It is a celebration of the Light himself. It is also an acute awareness of the rejection of the Light. After being warned in a dream, the Holy Family become political refugees and must flee their own country.|In the U.S., we celebrate two U.S. saints, Elizabeth Ann Seton and John Neumann and then Wednesday after Epiphany. For places celebrating Epiphany on the 6th, Monday and Tuesday of the Second Week of Christmas are celebrated.|In the second half of the week we read for the First Letter of John about the mystery of love. The gospels are from stories in the life of Jesus.|The Baptism of the Lord is on Sunday. We hear the Lord say in the first reading from Isaiah, "Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit." That is echoed in Mark's Gospel, after Jesus' baptism: "On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him.And a voice came from the heavens, 'You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.'" This feast marks the end of the Christmas season. Monday begins Ordinary Time on the Church calendar which will continue until Ash Wednesday.
Daily Prayer This Week|In this week of Epiphany, we can all let ourselves be blessed with the Light of Jesus, in this period after Christmas. Our Christmas was probably different this year. For some of us, it was simple, perhaps quite poor. For some of us, it was made difficult with some family disfunction, or at least disagreements or hard feelings. And, yet, our faith offers us the grace of Jesus, being the Light in whatever darkness we experience. We can rely on our faith to see what we are too often prevented from seeing because we are discouraged, hurt, lonely, feeling alienated in any way. We can see hope where others only see darkness, because we let ourselves be touched by Jesus as God-with-us, by Jesus as unconditional love for us, by Jesus as always accompanying us on our journey, each day. We are not alone.|This is a week when we can ask for the grace to be a light ourselves, for others. We can be a light within our family. We can offer comfort, presence and accompanyment for someone who is feeling down, hurt or separated. We can reach out to a friend or relative and offer our care. Such light can even reach into the darkness of anger and grievance. Light that reveals love and presence, can so often, bring healing and peace.|We can let ourselves be blessed by the words of the First Letter of John. "If anyone says, 'I love God,'|but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him:Whoever loves God must also love his brother."|We can let ourselves be blessed by the encounter between Jesus and the leper: "Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean."|Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, "I do will it. Be made clean."|Lord, teach us to love, to be a light for others, and to bring reconciliation and peace where it is so needed. And, Lord, let us turn to you, with whatever isn't "clean" in me and ask you for your healing. We so long to hear you say, "Be made clean."
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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