Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
January 4th, 2010 - US
January 7, 2010 - International


Chas Kestermeier, S.J.

English Department
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If we look at the readings from Matthew and then John, there is a certain sequence in the ideas they contain.  First, people flock to Jesus from all over the region, Jews and pagans alike, in their need and their yearning.  Secondly, He encourages them on the very simplest level to "re-form" their lives, their very selves, in order to live in God's Kingdom.  And then John speaks of how we, in our own attempts at re-forming our lives, can know that we are on the right track, truly following the Way.

Let me make that more specific to our day, to our own individual situations.  Every one of us is moved by a single desire or yearning that goes deeper than any of the little things that we use and do to satisfy ourselves.  If we can imagine all our wishes granted --- food, shelter, safety, human love, health, strength, beauty, etc. --- we find that there is still an emptiness in our hearts, and that we need to seek a satisfaction there beyond the things of this world.  Augustine, in the opening words of his Confessions, says something like "Lord, you made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you."

To reach that point we need to set aside the things of this world, at least insofar as they are our priorities.  Yes, we need food, health, strength enough to live, and all the rest, but more fundamentally we need to re-form our lives in such a manner that these things are secondary and that knowing, loving, and serving God is primary: that is the only way that we can truly be at rest, be satisfied, be fulfilled.  It demands a separation from things, an ending to our attachment and even dependence on them that can seem like poverty in the eyes of the world.  We also need a poverty of self, putting our will and our values in the hand of the Father.  This is not a quietism but a foundation for the most trustworthy way of being active in our lives.

And how do we know that we are living this life in the best way?  When we believe that we are children of a loving Father, that we are brothers and sisters of the living Lord and Older Brother who is our model for being human and our gentle Shepherd, and that the Blessed Spirit that Jesus has given us guides us with amazing warmth and care if we so desire.

We pray to our Father as children and seek to do His loving will, trusting Him absolutely, throwing away our lives in the eyes of the world to receive it fresh and new, re-formed by the powerful, careful hands of a God who continues to call us to life, to re-create us in His own image.

Truly we are blessed. 

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