January 12, 2020

JANUARY 12, 2020

THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD
“This is my beloved Son,
with whom I am well pleased.”

In today’s Gospel God delights in Jesus who begins his public ministry. God delights in us as sons and daughters, a privilege that we receive through our Baptism.

St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) reflects on God’s love for us.

CREATED FOR LOVE
“If we know ourselves, we find God’s love. Why, because we see our own nothingness (seeing ourselves as beloved creations of God) that our very existence is ours by grace and not because we have a right to it, and every grace beyond our existence as well – it is all given to us with boundless love. Then we discover so much of God’s goodness poured out on us that words cannot describe it. And once we see ourselves so loved by God; we cannot help loving him. And within ourselves we love God and our own rationality and hate the distractions that would take inordinate attention in the world.

Some people delight in wealth or status or would rather please creatures than the Creator. These build their foundation in only worldly appearance, pleasure and enjoyment.

I want you to love God’s goodness within yourself, and his immeasurable charity, which you will find in the heart of self-knowledge. In this heart you will find God. For just as God holds within himself everything that shares in being, so you will find within yourself memory, which holds and is well-suited to hold the treasure of God’s blessing. There too you will find understanding, which makes us sharers in the wisdom of God’s Son by understanding and knowing his will, a will that wants nothing but that we be made holy. When we see this, we cannot despair, no matter what happens, for we know that everything is done with God’s providence and tremendous love.”
Excerpt from: The Letters of Catherine of Siena

A STEP ALONG THE WAY

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.

Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw, Michigan

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