answered them, “I baptize with water;
but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”
Second Week of Christmas: Dec. 29, 201 - Jan. 4, 2014
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Second Week of Christmas
The Sunday that follows Christmas is the celebration of The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The gospel from Matthew is the story of the angel appearing to Joseph in a dream, telling him to flee with Mary and their newborn son, Jesus, to Egypt so Herod could not find them. After a time, they returned and lived in Nazareth, “so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, he shall be called a Nazorean.”
Monday, we look in on Anna, in the temple, through Luke's eyes. When the Holy Family returns to Nazareth, "The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him."
Tuesday, we hear the beginning of John's gospel: the story of the Word becoming flesh, among us.
Wednesday, New Year's Day, is the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God and also the Naming of the Child, Jesus, a special day for the Society of Jesus. In addition, it is a celebration of World Day of Prayer for Peace. A new calendar year begins, and we can always have a new beginning, because of Jesus coming among us.
On Thursday, we hear the testimony of John the Baptist about Jesus, from John's gospel. And, on Friday John tells of what he was told about Jesus. Saturday, is the story, from John, about the call of the first disciples - Jesus saying to them, "Come and see." They went and spent the day with him.
On Sunday, the U.S. will celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord, although most of the world will celebrate it on Monday, January 6. The Epiphany celebrates the light that has come into the darkness of the world and that our salvation was made known to the Gentiles. Outside of the U.S., the Second Sunday of Christmas is celebrated, with the beginning of John's Gospel and its poetic images of light and the Word. "From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."
Daily Prayer This Week
There is a lot going on in the readings for the week after Christmas.
It helps to recognize this and let ourselves enter each part of the mystery of the Incarnation. We are living in the flesh each day of our lives. He came to enter this life and be with us in it. After Christmas, we have this wonderful Christmas season, days to let the blessing of Christmas settle in before we move toward Ordinary Time again.
Each one of us can begin our post-Christmas and the beginning of our New Year's time by staying in touch with ourselves in the flesh - as people who are touched by Jesus' coming. We can turn to our Lord throughout each day and have real conversations with our Savior: over the kitchen sink, by the dishwasher, in front of the washing machine. This practice can make sacred any part of our “ordinary life” that we hold up to God.
During our preparation for Christmas we asked the Lord to open our hearts, to let us wait with patient trust, and to come to us. Last week we experienced joy and the mixed challenges of Christmas. This week we have the opportunity to have ordinary conversations with our God who came to be with us.
Thank you so much, Lord, for becoming flesh for me. And, thank you for being with me now, in the midst of each day's joys and sorrows. I ask you to increase my trust in you, my desire for closeness with you and my commitment to turn to you all day long. Continue to be with me when I have to make difficult decisions, when I need extra patience and care when in challenging situations. Continue to let my heart experience the joy of Christmas this week as I see signs of your presence with me.
When these words take on our own voice and our details, it will feel very personal. And, when we speak about our fears, our needs, when we express our gratitude and our deep desires, we are living and intimate relationship with the one who became flesh that we might never need feel alone again.
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