Pastor’s Message This Week:
GOD IS WITH US” ALWAYS, EVERYWHERE, AND IN EVERYONE
“Facebook is of the Devil!” was a Luddite rant of mine for years, until both sisters, one of three brothers, other relatives and friends, and our own Saint Andre Bessette page, convinced me to give it a try. It still can be devilish in its unfiltered content and temptation to waste a lot of time, but it also has allowed me to reconnect with extended family and friends around the country, and, in a most delightful way, to see the littlest of ones, babies and toddlers of those I know and care about, to be welcomed into the world and grow in wisdom and age and favor in the sight of God and of their families. These include the tiniest of newborns, my own godchildren, and children of family and friends who are in special need of intercessory prayer.
In an Advent season when we hear familiar stories of prophecies and signs, and of how the birth of Jesus Christ came about, we are reminded that the fulfillment of a promised sign as deep as the netherworld or high as the sky came about in the annunciation, conception, birth and revelation of a child of God and of the Virgin Mary’s humanity, the reason for every season of preparation and celebration.
The Christ Child was welcomed into the world by Mary and Joseph, by shepherds and magi, by Simeon and Anna, and by millions of believers in every age, because in him, a perfect union of divinity and humanity, Emmanuel, “God is with us, ” came to be, always, everywhere and in every human person made in the image and likeness of God.
Sadly, he has been rejected, persecuted, or ignored by many as well, suffering on the cross himself, and suffering in the body of every child rejected in every age, including our own modern culture of death, which labels far too many children as a problem, inconvenience or burden on the already living, who then want their own choice over life and death for the most innocent and vulnerable among us. That rejection or ignoring of the gift of human life is also extended to many of the already here, be they poor, homeless, sick or injured, or perceived as an unnecessary burden on society.
But because Jesus shared our humanity, suffering and death, and took on himself our burden of sin, every human person, every brother and sister in the human family, can and should be for us a sign of Emmanuel, of “God is with us.” This is the Gospel of God foretold by the prophets, embodied in Jesus Christ and his Church, and preached by the Apostles and their successors. King Ahaz did not want to hear it, but Mary and Joseph, Isaiah and Paul, and so many others did, and continue to do so. When we pray, worship and give thanksgiving, when we prepare for and celebrate the Incarnation of God in Christ, when we welcome each other and our parish’s guests in his name, we proclaim, over and over again, that God is with us, always, everywhere and in everyone. It’s a Good News message that is at the heart of Christ’s divinity, our shared humanity, and everything we do in his name, always, everywhere and in everyone. Post that on your Facebook page, if you’d like to like.
~ Rev. John Patrick Riley, CSC