Dear Parishioners and Friends,
On Wednesday, January 2, I turned 45. My fortieth birthday was just a few days ago, so I’m not sure exactly how that happened—time seems to move so quickly these days. I received many wonderful well-wishes, and of course the call from Mom at exactly “the time.” Good thing it was in the afternoon. As is tradition, she lovingly recounted the details of the 24-hour period leading up to the blessed event. She also shared online one of the the first photos ever taken of me shortly after my birth. Even digitally, one can still see the oval nicotine stain from it being in a frame at Grandma’s house for many years.
In looking at the picture, and reflecting on all of the experiences I have had so far, and all of the wildly varied people I have known, it struck me that we all arrive pretty much the same. Certainly some get a better start than others in terms of care and surroundings. But it is in the vast middle part of our lives that we all make our pilgrimages and find our ways as best we can with what we are given. The one exception, I think, is our Lord Jesus Christ. He came into the world just the way you and I did (and in adverse conditions), but he never sought to find
way. He sought only to do the will of the Father who sent him. His destiny was shaped not by personal desire, or social status, or by his individuality, but by his unity with God and God’s plan for us. The paradox here is that this actually made him wholly unique.
From his birth, wise men and women sought him out. They were seekers after God’s love who came from all walks of life. They saw in Jesus another way, a way that ran contrary to evil and its symptoms: the systems of injustice and oppression that defined their world. Since the historical time of Christ, much has changed in the world, and much has remained exactly the same. As the Epiphany star led the magi to the Holy Family, my prayer this season is that you too will be led by light to Christ, to experience his love for yourself, and to make him known to all people.