December 29, 2015
In today's readings we hear Simeon's prophecy, which ends with the somewhat cryptic words, "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” Today, as in the story of the shepherds, the magi, the prophetess Anna, the finding at the temple, the prophecy to Zechariah--all these early mysteries in the life of Jesus--we find that the Son of God is manifested to others in a series of revelations. Each revelation is a unique, unrepeatable event, and each is done within a certain context--the wise men via the star, Simeon and Anna in the very place they were told to wait, for the shepherds (poor guys!) completely out of the blue, probably knocking them right off their feet, to Zechariah, as a contradiction to what he thought was possible.
This makes me think of the variety of ways in which those around me encounter and experience Jesus in their lives and my response to those encounters. Maybe it's just me, but I sometimes get frustrated when someone describes their experience of faith in a way to which I just can't relate--maybe the person is more emotional than me, or more intellectual, or really digs writings or music that I'm just not that into. But as long as these encounters are rooted in the truth, shouldn't I instead rejoice at the variety of ways--the contexts, if you will--in which God makes himself known to His people? And isn't it all, in the end, God showing me that He is bigger than my expectations--bigger than the boxes in which I think He ought to fit?
Perhaps an area of focus for myself in the New Year will be really listening to my brothers and sisters in the Frassati Fellowship so I can better understand the spiritual needs of our community. Instead of foisting my own preferences onto a person or a conversation, maybe if I stay quiet long enough to hear what my brother or sister is saying, I will learn something new about him or her--something that will help me foster authentic friendship instead of continuing on with my same old self. I welcome you to join me in this if you struggle with it as well!
May you encounter the Infant Christ deeply and truly in the remaining days of Christmas,