Who’s In Charge Here, Anyway?

A Reflection for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

By Sr. M. Martha Pavelsky, MHSH

Readings:
https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/122020.cfm

In today’s first Scripture reading (2 Samuel 7: 1-5, 8b-12, 12A, 16), we see God issuing something of a course correction to the king.  David somehow had come to think that he had created his own success (“Settled in his palace”, “rest from his enemies”) and he wanted to share his prosperity with God.  As soon as you read that, you may think, “isn’t that backwards?” and in fact God instructs the prophet Nathan to remind King David of how he made it to the top – namely, with the power of God, not on his own merits.  Put more bluntly, God asks David, “Who do you think you are? I called you from herding animals.  I made you commander of my people.” In contemporary parlance, in other words, God is saying to David, “Get over yourself!”

Most of us have gotten such treatment at least once in our lives, maybe not from a prophet but from life itself.  We are shocked – SHOCKED – that thus and such is happening to us!  A pandemic – herenow? Businesses shutting, opening, shutting again? People who never could have imagined needing any kind of public assistance, forced by lack of funds to stand in line at a food bank? We are not citizens of a third-rate dictatorship – ah, but haven’t you heard that very term used recently, and repeatedly?

Here we are, folks – look in a mirror and confront your own need, then turn to God and express just what God has been hoping to hear from you: your longing for a savior.  Jesus’ coming to save us was not just centuries ago.  He will come again and again, in all sorts of disguises and through all sorts of people and agencies, whenever we humble ourselves to ask, and accept what has made available.

For reflection:

In what ways are you serving as God’s surrogate in reaching out to others’ needs? Think beyond the material to the emotional and spiritual. Take note of the expressions of longing in so many Advent and Christmas hymns, such as “O come, O Come, Emmanuel”. Make those songs your true prayer.

 

 

 

 

 

The Christmas Encounter

By Sr. Princess Mary Dawson, MHSH

 

John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

 

The birth of Christ into the world was not one filled with the comforts one would expect.

The evening was cold and in some ways empty of joyous celebration – at least to the eyes of onlookers. The child came into the world with much love from his parents and with the air of mystery in their hearts.

 The infant Jesus’ birthing was bringing many gifts to the world. The gifts could not be wrapped, but instead would grow as Jesus would and be given to all who opened their hearts.

 Jesus is the loving gift of God to the world. The very son of God became small in the taking on of our flesh. Jesus in his humanity would feel our pain, grief, hunger and more. This child Jesus, born into the world, was given in love and was destined to teach us how to love.

All who would encounter Jesus would find they are loved completely without conditions and such loving would bring about transformation to many wounded hearts.

Jesus Christ, the infant born to us this day with a heart full of God’s love for each person, is the Christmas Encounter fully alive. There is no greater gift.

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord" -Luke 2:11

A Reflection for Christmas by Sr. Loretta Cornell, MHSH President

Merry Christmas, and blessings during this Holy Season of Christmas and all through the New Year.

Cards, good wishes, ads, parties, television specials—they have all led up to this special holiday of Christmas.  It is easy to get caught up in all the hustle and bustle.  One of the Christmas stories that I like to watch is a Christmas Carol.  Within the story it shows how mercy and forgiveness can lead us into compassionate relationships with others, and especially with our God.  The greatest story of this Holy Season is the Nativity – the birth of Jesus.

 

jesus-christmas

He broke forth in birth to shine the love of God on all.  In the spirit of Christmas we are shown how we can be for one another.  Ebenezer Scrooge has an encounter with his former business partner, Jacob Marley.   While in business together they were caught up in greed and not looking out for others.  When his business partner came to him tormented and dragging heavy chains, Scrooge asks why he is tormented because Jacob was a good businessman.  Jacob in a raised voice says that the human race was his business and he was not charitable, merciful, or loving.  Jacob tells Ebenezer that he has a chance to redeem himself.  Thus begins a long night of revisiting the past, the present and what the future may hold if he does not change his ways.  He journeys into the dark night of the soul and finds redemption and is reborn.

Jesus does the same; he journeys with us into time and leads us to look at what we could have done better and leads us to forgiveness of self and others leading to compassion, mercy, joy and love.  Jesus calls us to be the light that brings the love of our God to all of humanity.

Let us remember our loved ones near and far.  The Mission Helpers have Sisters in Venezuela who, although they are in the midst of their darkness of not having a Church in which to celebrate Christmas, still bring the love and light of Jesus, who knows what it means to be born in a stable.  The people in Manzanita, Venezuela, will meet in another location to celebrate the Christmas joy and goodwill, which gives cheery warmth to all the people who are the candle in the night to shine the love of Jesus and spread it throughout humankind.  Merry Christmas and blessings in the New Year.

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

                                                     –John 1:14