A Reflection for 2020

(posted December 16, 2020)

For most of us it has been an incredible pace that we have been keeping since Thanksgiving. Racking our brains to come up with idea's for Christmas - gifts and decorating, trying to stay safe, in the midst of a pandemic. Working through the reality of the economy and trying to make this time of the year as sacred as possible given the reality of where we are as a nation, it is not an easy task for ourselves and for our children. Hopelessness I’m afraid has entered the picture and given Christmas a new name – HOPE. We are looking for hope in any way we possible can get it. Lets take a minute to think about the kind of hope we already have: Our family’s, even though we might not be able to be with them this year – they embrace us, not because we are a distance away, but because they love us no matter what. The Vaccine has arrive! How grateful we are for the tremendous efforts on the part of our scientists and medical professionals – we are no heading in the right direction. We are in this together – we must take care of ourselves so we can take care of each other. The darkness of these winter months can challenge us even more to model ourselves as people of hope – and pray for those who have been taken away from us through this deadly virus.

God cannot live in a vacuum - God must exist in the ordinary experiences of the human person – even in the midst of a pandemic. And yet the perception today might be the opposite. People are determined to do it alone - many will be convinced that there is no need of religion or faith if one can be a survivor. I'm not sure that the intent of God was to suggest that we be just survivors. If any good has come out of this crisis it has been a deeper awareness that things are out of control and that there must be a clearer image of God in our life. And a deeper trust level to overcome the naiveté' that keeps God in a bottle until He is useful. I believe God has been, and continues to be, present through this Virus Storm – continues to give us direction – strength and wisdom.

It is not always easy to interpret the signs that God gives us. We may be confused by what we see. We need the light of the Spirit as we try to discern God's manifestations. The Magi came to discover a little more of the realities of life - when they discovered the Child Jesus. That Child still challenges the world to discover more about themselves, each and every day. People throughout the world are amazed at the outpouring of love to the under privileged throughout our country and communities. It is an effort to recognize the strife and in-humaneness that those people have been experiencing for too long. The poor represent the starvation of each one of us when we realize how hungry we are for the answers to our deepest questions.

Today we start over again. Today the people of 2020 share the same qualities as the 3 Kings: a willingness to risk the journey and follow the star: the courage to accept whatever stumbling blocks that are put in the way: and the faith to know that God and me make a terrific team. Let us make this New Year a year of HOPE. Being vigilant about our health and those around us. But ever vigilant that God hasn’t forgotten us. He’s here NOW and FOREVER!

Merry Christmas!

Father Mike

Pastor Emeritus & YouTube Pastor