January 7, 2021
by Carol Zuegner
Creighton University's Department of Journalism, Media, and Computing
click here for photo and information about the writer

Thursday after Epiphany
Lectionary: 215

1 John 4:19–5:4
Psalm 72:1-2, 14 and 15bc, 17
Luke 4:14-22

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Praying with the Aftermath of Christmas


In my part of the world, the dawning of new year brings resolutions – to lose weight, to start that exercise program, to be more organized. I have made a lot of these resolutions in the past. By the end of the first week of the year – right about now – I perhaps would have started to be a bit less resolved in those noble pursuits.

Today’s Gospel offers a way to refocus my resolve. Let’s set the scene: Jesus has been preaching and speaking in Galilee and returns to his home in Nazareth to the synagogue there. He must have been a bit nervous. Familiar faces can calm our fears, but they also can make us want to do our best. Jesus did not disappoint the hometown folks and offers a new road map for me.

The passage he read from the prophet Isaiah contains a list that I believe can help me to revive and revise my resolutions for the year. I can do my part in my own way for those who struggle, whether it’s being kinder to family and friends or doing more to help make the world a better place. The question I am asking myself is how do I proclaim my own year acceptable to the Lord? What changes do I need to make? What small changes can I make that will build on love and faith and justice? How can I live my life according to the commandment in the first reading: “Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” I can make my revisions to my resolutions small: I can start by praying for those I disagree with along with my prayers for those who are struggling. That can help me remember that my brothers and sisters everywhere are loved by God.

I pray today for God’s grace to help me make and carry out my revisions to my resolutions in proclaiming my goal of a year acceptable to the Lord.

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