“Those who keep these commandments (‘…believe in the name
of God’s Own, Jesus Christ, and love one another…’I Jn 3: 23) live in God
and God lives in them.” (I John 3:24a)
“On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love said to me…” (Twelve Days
of Christmas) Yes, this is the eleventh day of Christmas,
and God who loves us is speaking great things to us in today’s readings.
Our Advent prayer, “O Come Emmanuel,” pleads to know that God is with us.
If you were like me, perhaps those days of Advent were a little too filled
with the many preparations for Christmas: shopping, decorating, wrapping
gifts, baking, preparing for guests…. My advent prayer to know
that God is with us was buried in the busy-ness of the season.
As Christmas arrived with the many family and friends’ celebrations, perhaps
there was a little time to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas…that
God truly is with us. However, today’s readings are a wake-up call
to the full realization that what God has promised is in our midst, if only
we will take notice.
Matthew wants us to know that ‘God is with us’… In today’s gospel,
Jesus leaves Nazareth to begin his ministry in Capernaum. Matthew points
out Jesus’ travel to the land near Zebulun and Naphtali to emphasize that
Jesus was fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah: “Land of Zebulun, land
of Naphtali…the people who lived in darkness have seen a great light; on
those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”
And he notes that Jesus’ ministry includes healing, teaching and proclaiming
the good news of God’s presence in the people’s midst.
How will we know that God is in our midst today? John reminds us that
if we only “…believe in the name of God’s Own, Jesus Christ, and love one
another…’ (that we) live in God and God lives in them (us).”
As I sit with these readings, I discover a gentle reminder of what the past
five weeks (Advent and Christmas) invited me to tune in to…
How simple… God is with us…God lives in us and we live in God…yet how difficult
to stay in tune with the message in the midst of our busy lives.
Perhaps now is the time to slow down, take a deep breath, and let God be
in our midst…live in God and let God live in us. Tomorrow is the Feast
of the Epiphany…a time when we celebrate that the revelation of God made
flesh in our midst was realized for all peoples.
Where might we find God in our midst…where is the light shining in our world,
our everyday lives? Whose lives do we touch (or are we touched by)
where healing is offered in our lives and in our friendships with others?
Jesus proclaimed: “Change your hearts and minds, for the kingdom of heaven
(God’s presence) is at hand!” (Mt. 4:17) Let us take time to
open our hearts and minds… to become attentive to God’s presence in our lives…to
take the time to let God live in us.