1st Reading: Malachi 3:1-4
Malachi is a pseudonym meaning “My Messenger.” The author probably wished to conceal his (or her) identity because his attacks on the priests and ruling classes were very sharp. Malachi arrived on the scene after the excitement of the return from exile had worn off. Morals were suffering. People were reneging on their tithes, intermarrying (and losing their cultural and religious identity), and oppressing the widow, the orphan and the foreigner. For Malachi, this moral slide began in the temple (Guentert, US Catholic, p. 22). Compare this with the Gospel!
St. Jerome identified the messenger referenced in this pericope as the prophet Ezra. Jesus adapted the words to John the Baptist (Mt 11:10, This is the one about whom it is written: “‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.”) (Jerome Biblical Commentary, p. 400). The imagery of lye and fire is meant to be transformational. When we allow God to come into our life and our decision-making, we can be refined and transformed! How have you found this to be true in your life?
2nd Reading: Hebrews 2:14-18
In this part of the letter, we understand that God made Jesus “perfect” through suffering. The verb translated ‘make perfect’ in Greek is teleioun. In the New Testament, this word has special meaning, that the thing or person so described fully carries out the purpose for which designed. So, the verb teleioun will mean not so much “to make perfect” as “to make fully adequate for the task for which designed”. So, then, what the writer to the Hebrews is saying is that through suffering Jesus was made fully able for the task pf being the pioneer of our salvation. Jesus Christ fully identified himself with humankind by becoming a man, and suffered like humans do. Jesus also sympathizes with humankind, feels with them. It is almost impossible to understand another person’s sorrows and sufferings unless we have been through them. And because he sympathizes Jesus can really help. He has met our sorrows; he has faced our temptations. As a result he knows exactly what help we need; and he can give it, (Barclay on The Letter to the Hebrews, p. 26-28).
Gospel Reading: Luke 2: 22-40
It is by the wisdom of elders that our eyes are opened to what Jesus’ purpose will be. Anna’s name means “grace”. Like Simeon, she has spent her life in awaiting the Lord, (Faley, Footprints on the Mountain, p. 75). The reference to “a sword will pierce” is why Mary depicted as Our Lady of Sorrows is generally illustrated with swords (see Union Street church window!).
The requirement for the wife only to be purified after childbirth is found in Leviticus 12:1-8. Since Mary and Joseph could not provide a lamb, they make the offering of the poor. The family of Jesus is here seen as totally observant of the law, (p. 74).
Only at great cost would Jesus carry out the purpose for which he was born. Both he and his mother would know suffering – but that suffering, as Anna the prophetess would affirm, would bring about the redemption of Israel while offering the light of salvation to the gentiles. As we celebrate this feast, let us present ourselves to God, as Jesus did. Offering all we are, all we have and all we will become; let us, like Jesus, be willing to go forth from this place determined to be a source of light and healing in an often dark, broken world. Let us grow strong and wise, knowing that the favor of God rests upon us, (Sanchez, NCR for Jan. 17-30, 2014, p. 25).
Consolation as defined by Margaret Silf, Inner Compass:
- Directs our focus outside and beyond ourselves
- Lifts our hearts so that we can see the joys and sorrows of other people
- Bonds us more closely to our human community
- Generates new inspiration and ideas
- Restores balance and refreshes our inner vision
- Shows us where God is active in our lives and where he is leading us
- Releases new energy in us (p. 53)
Compare this to the consolation of Israel. How can Jesus help you find consolation?
Fr. Bob’s “Catholic Schools Week” homily…
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time A: Catholic Schools Week
This is a historic day. It is the first Word of God Sunday. It was proclaimed by Pope Francis in September to honor the Bible and Holy Scriptures in our lives. We have several days set aside to celebrate the Eucharist, but this is the first day dedicated to the word of God, the other “leg” on which we stand.
And what a blessing that it occurs simultaneously with Catholic Schools Week for in our schools we learn, celebrate and follow the word of God. It is what sets us apart and fills our schools with nothing less than the character of Jesus Christ. The word of God comes alive in Catholic schools.
The Word of God comes alive because we teach it. I have felt sorry for many of our teachers because they are trained to teach so many things…
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Fr. Bob’s homily 2nd Sunday Ordinary Time, cycle A
2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time A
Have you ever thought of Jesus as a superhero? I think he checks off many of the boxes. Does he have other worldly origins? Check. Does he have an intriguing birth story? Check. Does he emerge suddenly in early adulthood with mysterious powers? Check. Do crowds marvel that he has done things no one has ever seen before? Check. Indeed, Jesus does seem to pass the test. He has that wow factor; a charismatic figure some people fawn over, some dispute and enemies despise. (This is likely true because superheroes are Christ figures and not the other way around.)
He also shares the most important trait – he has a mission. Every hero has a mission and Jesus’ is spelled out by John the Baptist. Jesus “takes away the sin of the world.” Look carefully; he takes away implies that someone already has…
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1st Reading: Isaiah 8: 23- 9: 3
Rather than trusting in God’s light, Israel and Judah (the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom of the Hebrew people) tried to live by their own ‘light’ – their own self-important ways. It brought darkness and destruction to both. The prophet is looking for an ideal king to lead his people. Kings were seen as being ‘adopted’ by God and a sign of God’s presence with his people. King Ahaz of Judah did not live up to his calling. He had made an agreement with Assyria against the Northern Kingdom of Israel. The prophet looked to a new king, Hezekiah, to be a ‘savior king’. These hopes were not realized. Hezekiah eventually became a disappointment, too. (Celebration, Jan.1999)
The great light that Isaiah is speaking of is the revelation of God’s love beyond Israel to even the Gentiles. It is the day when God’s love becomes real for those who are without a religious tendency, to those who are toughened by despair, to those who think hope is nothing but a day dream. But this light does not come by way of some paranormal experience – it can come only by way of ordinary people open to and filled with God’s extraordinary love. This love can come to our world today only if you and I bring it, with God’s help. (Exploring the Sunday Readings, January, 1999)
What dispels your darkness? Isaiah seems to think joy has something to do with it. Henri Nouwen describes joy as, “the experience of knowing that you are unconditionally loved and that nothing –sickness, failure, emotional distress, oppression, war, or even death – can take that love away.” He goes on to say, “Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day,” (Here and Now, p. 30-31). Can you say more about the joy you experience in your life and what God might have to do with it?
2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:10 – 13, 17
This letter of Paul’s was probably written about 54-55, A.D. It is really not the ‘first letter’ since Paul writes of a previous letter in 1 Cor. 5: 9. Remember in the early church Paul’s letters were treasured and circulated, but not really organized until around 90 AD. So some were lost and others then were put out of order. The ideas and their importance are still valid. (Barclay, The Letter to the Corinthians, 4-6)
Cephas was the Jewish version of Peter’s name. His ‘group’ was probably made up of the more Jewish Christians who still held tightly to Jewish traditions and law. Apollos was an educated man from Alexandria whose learning and Greek influence made him more attractive to the Gentile Christians and those with greater education. Paul reminds them that these differences should not lead to division. That it is Christ Jesus we must look to for the light – the truth –the insights we need. A preacher’s ‘job’ is just to lead us to Jesus. It is in the cross of Christ that we find the absolute assurance of God’s love – there is the fullness of wisdom in no other place. It seemed there were not serious doctrinal differences here in Corinth, but cliques and factions. The word for united is usually used when two hostile parties reach an agreement. In Mark 1:19 and Matthew 4:21 the same word is used to describe the mending of torn fishing nets. Keep this in mind when you read the gospel. (Celebration, January 1999 & 2005)
Do you think having no divisions among us is realistic? It is our diversity that makes us the body of Christ. But there lies the answer…diversity doesn’t have to mean division. Donald Cozzens in his book Faith that Dares to Speak talks about contemplative conversation. “Both conversion and conversation are cognates of converse – to turn around, to turn toward another. Understood as a noun, converse includes the meaning of free and honest interchange of ideas, dreams, hopes – and yes, fear….We move too quickly to shrill argument and righteous declarations rather than turning first to silence that prompts openness of heart and nudges the soul toward the place where conversion of intellect and imagination occur…Contemplative conversation, conversation that emerges from silence and prayer, on the other hand, possesses a tone and humility that disarms defensive postures of rectitude. There is a freshness, a lightness of spirit present when this kind of conversation is entered into,” (p. 110-111).
The Gospel– Matthew 4: 12 – 23
Here we see Jesus setting up his home in Capernaum. His old life at Nazareth was over and done; it was clean cut, a momentous decision. The village was on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. This lake was and is a large inland lake that is 680 ft. below sea level. It has quite a warm climate and is surrounded by phenomenally fertile land that was, thus, quite densely populated. It is considered to be one of the loveliest lakes in the world. “Seen from any point of the surrounding heights it is a fine sheet of water – a burnished mirror set in a framework of rounded hills and rugged mountains.” In Jesus’ time it was thick with fishing boats. This is probably not the first time that these men have met Jesus. Some of them may have been disciples of John. They had known and talked with Jesus; they had heard him preach. Now these fishermen were being invited to “throw in their lot with him.” These were ordinary, sort of middle-class men – certainly not poverty stricken – nor were they men to be easily fooled or impressed. And, as fishermen they may have had just the qualities Jesus needed in his disciples: men of patience, perseverance, courage, cleverness, with the ability to ‘fit the bait to the right fish’, to stay out of the way, and to know how to recognize the right moment for action.
(William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol.1 77-79)
Joseph Fitzmyer, a New Testament scholar, notes how strange this metaphor of ‘catching people like fish’ seems to be. The mission of the disciples was to bring them to salvation (fullness of health). Yet, what fishermen do to fish is far from salutary! He points out, though, that the Greek term that Jesus used to say that they would be ‘catchers or netters’ of humanity could literally be translated as “you will be taking them alive.” The strange metaphor then comes to mean that those ‘caught’ or ‘netted’ by Peter and the others would be saved from death and gathered into God’s Kingdom. (Celebrations, Feb. 1998)
Other interesting ‘fish’ facts: A fish was an early symbol of Christianity because the letters of the Greek word for fish are I-C-H-T-H-U-S. These are the same letters that begin the Greek words for “JESUS CHRIST, GOD’S SON, SAVIOR” (IESOUS CHRISTOS THEOU HUIOS SOTER)
The early Christians also hung an anchor on the doors of the houses where they would gather to celebrate Eucharist because it resembled a cross. This secret symbol identified their ‘house churches.’
The leaving of everything to follow Jesus was the way the gospel writers expressed the need of disciples to make Jesus the priority in life. These fishermen were no longer just fishermen any more once they began following Jesus. They probably went out during the day with Jesus to the surrounding areas and returned to their families at night or after short intervals, even fishing when necessary. Their total response to Jesus is meant to be an example to all of us as to where our priorities should lie. With Christ as the center of their lives, it was now more important to go out to ‘catch’ the suffering sea of humanity that was so in need of God’s love, God’s kingdom and God’s presence in their lives. What they have to offer others in Jesus’ name is not just good news; it is great news! We have the same calling. (Mary Birmingham, W & W Wkbk Yr A, 363,364)
In preparation of Word of God Sunday this upcoming weekend:
God so understands our nature. His Word has been revealed to us gradually, and, because we are human, in very concrete ways.
The Word was spoken
The Word was heard
The Word was seen
The Word was felt
The word was tasted
The Word was spoken
“In the beginning… God spoke…let there be light” (Gen. 1:1 – 3)…and “Let Us make man in our image” (Gen.1:26)… Who heard Him? Did He speak to Himself – “Let Us…” Did He speak to the Angels? Or rather, was the speaking… His WORD…more than sound… It was something pliable and sensuous. The Word created.
The Word was heard
Adam and Eve heard God speak and move, “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.”(Gen.1:28) “When they heard the sound of the Lord God moving about in the Garden…” (Gen 3:8) God spoke to Noah (Gen. 9:9…); He commissioned them and covenanted with him, “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you.”
The Word was seen
Abraham saw the Word, “The Lord appeared to Abraham…” (Gen. 12:7); ‘While the two men walked on farther toward Sodom, the Lord remained standing before Abraham…” (Gen 18:22) Moses, and the Priests, saw the Word in the tablets of the commandments. The priests and prophets saw the Word in the scripture.
The Word was felt
When Moses, the priests and prophets held the tablets, the scripture and the prophecies, they felt the Word.
The Word was tasted
Psalm 34 says, “Taste and see how good the Lord is”; Psalm 119, “How sweet to my tongue is your promise, sweeter than honey to my mouth. ” The song of Solomon says “…As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.” (Song of Songs 2:3)
It is only in Jesus, the Word, that we are fully satisfied: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God…” (John 1:1)
The Word was spoken… “I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.”(John 12:50) Jesus commands us to speak the word, “Go, and make disciples of all nations…”(Matthew 28:19)
The Word was heard … “This is My beloved Son. Listen to Him.” (Luke 3:22) “Many more began to believe in Him because of his word and they said to the woman, ‘we no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.’” (John 4:42)
The Word was seen… Jesus moved among them, ate among them,died among them… they saw Him doing… “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.”(John 5:19)
The Word was felt… The apostles and the people touched the Word and the Word touched them. “Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones and you can see I have” (Luke 24:39) … Jesus cured, touched, kissed, cried…(John 11:35)
The Word was tasted… “This is my body,…this is my blood…” (Luke 22: 19 – 20; Mark 14:22-24)… “I am the bread that came down from heaven…” (John 6:51… “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him…”(John 6:54)
With Jesus, the revelation of the Word is complete. “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the word of life, for the life was made visible, we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us..” (1 John 1:1)
We now are sent forth to speak the Word, so that other may hear; to be seen and to see; to touch and be touched …so that He may be known. Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of the Father who sent me and to accomplish His work.” (John 4:34) Our food is to do the will of the one who sends us, Jesus. We offer Him so that others may be sustained by Love…“ I give you a new commandment, love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34)
Fr. Bob’s homily on the Baptism of the Lord…
Baptism of the Lord A 2020
Let me start with a funny story about a sad time in my life. My great friend Steve and I grew up in the same town. Incredibly, as my Mom was dying of cancer, his Mom died in a tragic car accident. I went over to visit Steve’s family and they asked me if I would preach at her funeral. I told them I would do the best that I could. The funerals were one day apart at the same church. I preached Steve’s Mom’s funeral on a Monday and then presided at my own Mom’s on Tuesday. Of course, Steve came and later came up to me and said, “Bob, I thought what you said about my mother was beautiful.” I said, “Thank you.” But then he said, “Well, I thought it was great until I heard what you said about your own…
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Father Bob’s Epiphany homily…
(To be read fast)
Are you tired of the same old thing and looking for a new direction? No longer want to be a slave to tests or pushing pencils or the drudgery of your current employment? Would you be interested in a job that allowed for exciting travel, new adventures and meeting interesting people? Then have you ever thought of becoming a magi?
You might be thinking, Fr. Bob, I could never be a magi. Well, just read the next 600 words or so and follow these four easy steps and you too could become a part of the fast paced and ancient magi industry. So why not say yes to this life changing opportunity? So let’s go!
Step one, is keep your head up and look to the sky. Magi have their eyes gazing up, seeking something new. You cannot be a magi if your eyes…
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1st Reading -Isaiah 42: 1-4, 6-7
What does this tell us about God’s chosen one? “God’s Servant brings forth justice carefully, caringly and gently, so gently as to refrain from breaking bruised reeds and from quenching smoldering wicks. In other words, the Servant has respect for persons who are weak, fragile and in jeopardy. His manner of bringing justice matches the goal of justice which he enacts. As a result of his efforts in the cause of justice, healing, freedom and reconciliation are to be experienced by ALL,” (Brueggerman, W. Texts for Preaching). Think about how people who may feel forgotten by God – like at the time of this writing (Babylonian Exile) – hear this reading.
This is the first of four ‘suffering servant’ songs from the second part of the Book of Isaiah. The prophet wishes us to see that God acts through this chosen servant to nullify the power of evildoers and so to restore the harmony and peace that arises where God’s justice is acknowledged and lived. Jesus must have loved the Book of the Prophet Isaiah for he modeled his life on these words concerning what it is like to be God’s servant. From his baptism on, Jesus knew that he was called and empowered to be this servant – to bring light, and sight, and freedom to all in bondage. God’s justice was one of compassion for all. Like Jesus by our baptism we are called to do likewise – to try to reproduce God’s justice in the world: father the fatherless, mother the motherless, welcome the stranger, feed the traveler, be hospitable to the alien. By trying with intelligence and perseverance to love all who touch our lives, we can help to bring God’s steadfast love into the reality of our everyday life. (Celebration, January 2005)
2nd Reading – Acts 10: 34-38
Cornelius was gentile – a non Jew – yet Peter, a faithful Jew, became convinced that he too could be baptized and become a follower of Jesus. What line speaks to you the most here?
The pattern of Jesus’ life is the pattern for our lives. We are to ‘put on the Lord Jesus’ as Paul would say. Jesus’ life, death and resurrection must be a part of how we live our baptism: we are to die to selfishness and rise to the needs of others. We are to show no partiality by dying to harsh judgments and blind prejudice as we rise to seeing all people as loved by God. We are to die to grudges and revenge as we rise to forgiveness and reconciliation. We as the Body of Christ must live as Christ would in the concrete situations of our day. (Living Liturgy, Year A, 2002)
This was a significant moment in Christian history. Prior to this statement by Peter, both he and Cornelius have heavenly revelations indicating that they are too bound by Jewish rules. So what occurs now is uniquely God’s will. The thesis that in God’s eyes all foods are ritually clean constitutes a major break from Jewish practice, a break now to be supported not only by Hellenistic radicals but also by the first of the Twelve. Not being circumcised is another issue that is discussed (R. Brown’s An Introduction to the New Testament, p. 300). Peter later proclaims, “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” (Acts 10:47). And so they were.
The Gospel– Jesus’ Baptism – Matthew 3: 13-17
In first-century Israel there were two seasons: rainy (late September to late April) and dry (early May to early September). Most stayed inside during the wet season, so during the dry season people wanted to be out and about, a very important Mediterranean activity. When John was baptizing, it was probably the beginning of the dry period, The Jordan River would still be filled with water and warmed by the sun. Jesus’ baptism by John is one of the most certain historical events recorded in the gospels. Its significance caused the early Christians first some embarrassment and gradually great insight. (John Pilch, “Historical Cultural Context,” http:/liturgy.slu.edu)
There is a special irony in Jesus’ baptism that speaks to the central message of the redemptive mystery. Jesus enters into radical solidarity with all people, taking upon himself even the condition of our sinfulness, himself having not sinned. The “one more powerful” assumes the position of weakness. It is precisely in this that he is beloved, and it is from this that he is sent. But how could he be fully human, like us, if he did not sin? We misunderstand this, because we misunderstand our humanity as well as our sin. Jesus reveals to us not only what God is like; he also reveals to us who we are. (John Kavanaugh, S.J. “The Word Engaged” http://liturgy.slu.edu)
Jesus’ encounter with his calling and identity at his baptism is the starting point for all that he will undertake. It is because Jesus knows who he is that he does as he does. He trusts the truth that he is God’s beloved; he refuses, even in the face of suffering and death, to believe the lie that God is distant, uncaring, or condemning. At baptism, we are also called sons and daughters of God. In fact, our baptism is our acceptance of that truth. Like Jesus, we need to let that truth fill our lives and overflow into all we do and are. We are never just consumers or spectators or travelers or workers – all of us are God’s beloved. (“Working with the Word” http://Iiturgv.slu.edu)
How do we live as The Beloved, especially in a world that is constantly trying to convince us that the burden is on us to prove that we are worthy of being loved? The world is evil only when we become its slave. We must see it through the eyes of faith. Knowing we are the Beloved will set us free and help us let go of what distracts us, confuses us, and puts us in jeopardy of the life of the Spirit within us. Put simply, life is a God-given opportunity to become who we are, to affirm our own true spiritual nature, claim our truth, appropriate and integrate the reality of our being, but, most of all, to say “Yes” to the One who calls us the Beloved, (Nouwen, N., Life of the Beloved, p. 130-131).
Epiphany comes from the Greek, epiphaneia, meaning manifestation, striking appearance or come suddenly into view. It is when we celebrate the Three Kings, who are gentiles, coming to worship the Christ child as Lord. But how does Christ manifest himself in your life?
Reading 1: Isaiah 60: 1 – 6
The return from exile in Trito-Isaiah foreshadows the liberation won by Christ though his manifestation to the world. The Gentiles converging upon Jerusalem provide a glimpse of the manifestation of Christ – not just to the chosen people, but to the Gentiles and to the entire world (Birmingham, Word & Worship A, p. 117).
Rise up, light, shines, glory, radiance, overflow, proclaiming. These are all words that speak to us of what happens when we allow God into our life. Richard Rohr says, “What you seek is what you are. The search for God and the search for our True Self are finally the same search.” So it is an inner journey for us. Have there been moments in your life that God has touched you in a way that you felt these words? Were they times that you felt true to yourself too?
Reading 2: Ephesians 3: 2 – 3a, 5 – 6
When Paul thought of this mystery which had been revealed to him, he thought of himself as a recipient of a new revelation. Sometimes we may relate to times when solutions to problems flash before us and we don’t know how they got there. Or maybe a synchronicity happens, a type of coincidence. Is Spirit at work?
Paul’s revelation (or epiphany) is that we are ALL coheirs, copartners in the body of Christ. This has multiple levels of meaning for us today. Explore within yourself what this means for you, with your family, your parish, your community, your country, all people…
N.T. Wright in Paul, A Biography, feels Paul is trying to say, “Unity and holiness will come, and will only come, as the mind of the community and of the individuals within it are transformed to reflect the mind of the Messiah himself…Paul is using letters to teach his churches not just what to think, but how to think,” (p. 272, 274). Christ wanted us all to be One. One body of Christ. So Paul is trying to impress that message on to this community at Ephesus in a very real way.
Some historical background: The city of Ephesus is located in what is now western Turkey, across the Aegean Sea from Athens. In NT times it was both the capital city and the leading commercial center in the Roman province of Asia (not the Asia of today). It was a thoroughly Roman city. The book of Acts says that Paul paid a brief visit to Ephesus on his 2nd missionary journey (18:19-21) and returned on his 3rd journey (19:1-41; 20:17-38) to spend between 2-3 years there. Paul’s time in Ephesus usually is dated in the early to mid 50s, and he is believed to have written 1 Corinthians from there and possibly other letters. He was imprisoned there, and seems to have adversaries, (Introducing the New Testament, M. Powell, p. 326-327).
Gospel Reading: Matthew 2: 1-12
After contemplating the staggering fact that God has become a human child, we turn to look at this mystery from the opposite angle and realize that this seemingly helpless Child is, in fact, the omnipotent God, the King and Ruler of the universe. The feast of Christ’s divinity completes the feast of His humanity. It fulfills all our Advent longing for the King “who is come with great power and majesty.” We see that whereas Christmas is the family feast of Christianity, Epiphany is the great “world feast of the Catholic Church.” At Christmas the Light shone forth, but dimly, seen only by a few around the crib: Mary and Joseph and the shepherds. But at Epiphany the Light bursts forth to all nations and the prophecy is fulfilled. Epiphany demands that like these kings we should return to our own countries a different way, carrying to all those we meet the light of Christ, (Chaney, https://www.catholicculture.org).
From Ronald Rolheiser: To bless another person is to give away some of one’s own life so that the other might be more resourced for his or her journey. Good parents do that for their children. Good teachers do that for their students, good mentors do that for their protégés, good pastors do that for their parishioners, good politicians do that for their countries, and good elders do that for the young. They give away some of their own lives to resource the other. The wise men did that for Jesus.
How do we react when a young star’s rising begins to eclipse our own light?