The Feast of The Baptism of the Lord

God’s Gentleness

He shall bring forth justice to the nations, not crying out, not shouting, not making His voice heard in the Street. A bruised reed He shall not break and a smoldering flax he shall not quench. Isaiah 42:2–3

Careful readers of Chapters 40–55 of the Book of Isaiah have long found in these prophesies distinctive themes of hope, and in the fifty-second and fifty-third chapters the prophet offers the image of a Savior who comes to comfort, who is bruised for our iniquities, who does not display the beauty that the world desires, and who deals gently with those He calls. It is an image that transforms the idea of the King, for the one who is coming calls us from a visage made undesirable by suffering. He comes not to judge but to heal. He will come in glory, but now He comes in gentleness. His kingdom in this world is a kingdom of the heart. His grace works from the inside out. Continue reading “The Feast of The Baptism of the Lord”

The Feast of the Epiphany

His Star

We saw His star as its rising And have come to worship him. Matthew 2:2

For the Mediterranean world, Greeks and Romans, Hebrews and Egyptians, life was part of a larger system and our lives were seen as dependent upon beings, God and gods, and upon events that happened elsewhere. For the Hebrews the pattern of nature was established and sustained by the eternal God who had created it, and the pattern of every life was determined by, or at least depended upon, the will of God, who, was known not only because the firmament showed forth his handiwork (Psalm 19:1) but who touched the believer through his providential presence and through his chastening absence. Mankind was never alone in the world for not only was God ever present, but the angels, both the fallen angels and the obedient angels, were influences usually invisible but sometimes apparent. Continue reading “The Feast of the Epiphany”

The Fourth Sunday of Advent

When the New Life Began

Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.
Luke 1:38

When the New Life Began

Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word. Luke 1:38

The turning of the times from futility to fulfilment may be seen as the Gospel of John sees it, as the day when John the Baptist saw the Holy Spirit descending and recognized Jesus as the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world. As the Church reflected upon its knowledge of the Lord it understood that the age of redemption had begun not when Jesus began to teach and heal but when He was born of Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. The apostolic mission then knew that He had not become the Savior at the Jordan or in Bethlehem but that He had been the Lamb of God standing at the heart of the Trinity from the foundations of the world (Revelation 5:6), born for us of a chosen woman once in time. Thus, after much thought, it was determined that the birth of the Lord should be celebrated, and after a still longer time that the date of that celebration should be December twenty-fifth. And then in the fifth century, as the place of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the economy of God was more carefully considered, the Church understood that she is properly called the Mother of God, the title that ensured for all time that she would not be considered the mother of Jesus’ human nature only but of the mother of Incarnate Word. We cannot be certain but perhaps it was this awareness of her place in the mystery of our redemption that fostered, beginning in the sixth century, the celebration of the day when the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would be the mother of the Lord. And thus the Feast of the Annunciation came to be established on the 25th of March. Continue reading “The Fourth Sunday of Advent”