I have received a thank you card from La Causa and Interfaith Older Adult Programs, two of the organizations helped by our gifts from gift Sunday. These actions of ours really make a difference.
Each month I am sharing one of the International Baccalaureate words from our school, Wauwatosa Catholic. The word for December is “principled.” Principled people are honest, fair, and respectful, taking responsibility for their own actions. A principled person does what is right because it is the thing to do. Sounds like someone living Gospel values!
“…and shall name him Emmanuel.” These words jumped out at me as I read the first reading for this weekend. Their importance is underscored by Matthew who repeats them in our Gospel selection, adding “which means God is with us,” in case we didn’t know. As we hurry around this week in the final preparations for celebrating the Birth of our Savior, I invite us to reflect on the immensity of that reality, one of the biggest differences between the Old Testament and the New Testament.
For the Chosen People of the Old Testament, God was very distant. They could not say the name; Moses took off his shoes to approach God; and they believed the only place God was present was in the Holy of Holies in the Temple: that is why the Temple was so important to them.
What a difference for us: God has taken on human form and “pitched His tent among us.” He is present to us in the Gospel; He is present to us in His Body and Blood; He is present to us in the community, also His Body; and He dwells within us as the Holy Spirit. How much closer could God be!!!!
This is what we are preparing to celebrate: God is with us! But our celebration also asks us to reflect on how we are bringing His Presence to those who are not aware of how close God is to us. Like Mary, we need be say, be it done unto me according to your word. I invite us to take some time this week to be quiet and reflect on the awesome reality of God’s constant presence to us and ask ourselves how we are sharing His presence with those we meet. Veni, Emmanuel! Come, Lord Jesus!
-- Paul James Portland, SDS