Abraham is mentioned in both readings for today. Pres. Jimmy Carter, a Christian, hosted Anwar Sadat, a Muslim, and Menachim Begin, a Jew, at Camp David. All three men claimed Abraham as their common father in the faith. Muslims through Ishmael and Jews and Christians through Abraham’s other son, Isaac. Thus, we should be treating each other as brothers of a common father not as rivals. What is your personal attitude toward Muslims and Jews? Do you see them as brothers or rivals?
In the “Adventures of Alice in Wonderland,” The King tells the Queen, “the horror of that moment I shall never forget.” To which the Queen replies, “You will though, if you don’t make a memorandum of it.” Moses warns the people not to forget what God has done for them. How do we keep God’s many blessings from slipping our minds? “God gave us memory so that we can have roses in December.” (James Matthew Barrie)
The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord challenges us to renew our own dedication to the redemption of the world. As we recommit ourselves to the work of redemption, we pray that we, like Jesus, may grow in strength and wisdom. It is also World Day for Consecrated Life “to help the entire Church to esteem ever more greatly the witness of those persons who have chosen to follow Christ by means of the practice of the evangelical counsels.” (St. John Paul II, 1997)
We hear how Saul became the first King of Israel. He stood a foot taller than anyone else; he was handsome; he, at first, was victorious; he seemed blessed by God in every way. Yet, he would wind up being a failure. He seemed destined for greatness. But, he failed in being obedient to God’s commands.
After the Baptism of the Lord, Ordinary Time begins. Thus, January 9 to February 13, 2018, is the start of Ordinary Time. February 14, 2018, is Ash Wednesday. The seasons of lent and Easter take place. Ordinary Time will resume on Monday, May 21, 2018.
Today, we begin a new calendar year. (Will you still put “2017” on your checks for a while?) Since this Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God falls on a Monday, it is still a Holy Day but the obligation to attend mass is put aside in the USA. We are reminded that Jesus is “Son of God and Son of Mary.” She is the “God-bearer.” “May the Lord bless you and keep you.”
My brothers and sisters, I don’t think any of us, including myself, know how truly blessed we are on this Christmas Day. God’s great gift to us is His very self. About all we can say is that Jesus is God’s beautiful Christmas gift to us. What we do with it in the days ahead will be our gift back to God. Let’s make our gift something beautiful to God. Let’s make it the gift of ourselves just as God made Himself a gift to us 2,000 years ago.