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Feast of the Epiphany, Year A – 2023

Meeting someone on the road – a friend, a neighbour, a colleague – the questions often arise:
“Where are you coming from? Where are you going?”

The place a person has left from, and the place where he/she is going to.
The point of departure and the planned destination…
It seems obvious that being on the road implies this.

The gospel text of today leads us to meet some people who are precisely on the road (Matthew 2:1-12).

Magi – wise men coming from the East, we are told.
And they are going to a place they are not too sure about… some mysterious destination.
At one point on the way, they will stop to ask more about it saying:

“Where is the infant king of the Jews?”

This question would not be asked nowadays.
But THE question that should be asked is…
Where do I come from and… where am I going… in life?!

We may not be able to change anything to where we have been so far,
but we, definitely, can do something about where we are moving to…

A destination… some people call it ‘a goal’ which they pursue with all the energy they can muster.
Something they have fixed for themselves to reach, no matter the cost.
A few would say: “Something worth living for, something worth dying for…”

At the beginning of a new year, it is good to ask: ‘Do I have such a purpose in life?’
What if this were not a place but… a Person?…
No longer “The infant king of the Jews”, but the one who has revealed himself as “God-with-us”.

Because this is the one who is, not only our destination, but our faithful companion on the road…
The Magi could not yet know him as such, but we do!
Or… do we?…
  

Note: Another text is available on a different theme, in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/fete-de-lepiphanie-annee-a-2023/

  

Source: Images: Unsplash    Blendspace

 

 

Feast of the Nativity of the Lord, Year A – 2022-2023

Many are the texts offered to us during the festive season of the Nativity.
And the figures, or characters, that we meet in the different scenes are also many.

Through all this, one aspect strikes me as very interesting.
It is the fact that so many of the people are… on the move!
People are… displaced, so too speak.

 Mary and Joseph must leave Nazareth to go and register themselves in Bethlehem (Luke 2:1-5).
The shepherds leave the place where they watch over their flock to find a new-born child (Luke 2:8-20).
The Magi set on a long journey to find the new king born in a distant land (Matthew 2:1-12).

As I look at them all, I wonder if Christmas is not precisely this: a celebration of… displacement!
A period, a blessed moment, when we accept to be uprooted to reach another place…

Nowadays, many have to accept a painful departure into the unknown…
Some people are forced from their homes and must start a long journey of migration…
So many people of different nations make the experience of ‘diaspora’ – being strangers into foreign lands…

For many of us the displacement, the movement, will not be geographical, but no less real.
We need to move from self-complacency to a more authentic living…
We have to abandon our old certainties to find new ways of understanding, of being…
We must leave our egoistic attitudes to pay attention to the needs of those around us…

This journey cannot be described in terms of steps, stations, or kilometers.
But it will involve leaving what is familiar and accept to be… displaced by God.
He – God-with-us – will bring us to the place he has meant for us –
the place of true happiness and deep peace which we long for…
 

Note: Another text is available on a different theme, in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/fete-de-la-nativite-du-seigneur-annee-a-2022-2023/ 

 

Source: Images: www.churchofjesuschrist.org   Pinterest

Feast of the Epiphany, Year C – 2022

At times, listening to some people talking, we may hear a person say:
“It’s all a question of planning”.
True, much in life depends on the plans we make to achieve our goals.

Strangely enough, this thought came to me as I reflected on the texts of this Feast of the Epiphany.
There are many plans mentioned in today’s gospel reading (Matthew 2:1-12).

We see three Magi, yes, Wise Men, planning for a long journey.
Their plan, in fact, is to find a new-born king – so they believe.
We meet a devious ruler, himself a king, having his own plans about a potential new-born rival.
Their quest having been rewarded, the three Wise Men make a new plan for the return journey.

But this summary has left out one more plan of the utmost importance: the plan of God!
While everyone speaks in terms of kingship, God speaks another language.
In the gospel text, we are told:

“You, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.”

A shepherd, this is the one who has come to us from God – God himself.
This is what God wants to be for us: someone who watches over us, someone who cares.
Long before his birth, the description of this shepherd had been made by the prophet Isaiah (40:11):

“He tends his flock like a shepherd:
he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.”

Perhaps, at the beginning of this new year, this is something we need to learn:
to be shown the way,
to be led and…
to be carried when needs be!

 

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/fete-de-lepiphanie-annee-c-2022/

 

Source: Images: allinnet.info    Wikipedia