Living in the age we do, with all its technology and modern convenience, Jesus’ summoning the twelve, at least for me, is a little hard to swallow. It’s hardly the alluring advertisement for evangelization and disciple-making candidates! No food, no money, just a walking stick and sandals! Not even a second shirt! But if you dig a bit deeper, you hear that “Jesus gave them authority…” Read: Jesus gave them the tools they needed. There was nothing out of the ordinary about the first disciples—fishermen, tax collectors—all ordinary folks. We are all called to be disciple-makers. What the gospel tells us is in order to become that, we need to divest ourselves of what keeps us from sharing the Good News. When we do that, the Lord equips us with what we need, just like Amos, again an ordinary person—a shepherd and arborist—who the Lord sent forward to ministry. And just like the apostles, God meets us where we are, gives us the tools we need, and sends us to be his hands and feet and voice. “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet, but yours.” (Teresa of Avila) As we walk with our walking stick and sandals, let us pay particular attention to how we can be Christ visible in the world. How will we let the Lord meet us where we are? Where will we be his hands, his feet, his eyes, his compassion in the world?
Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, Hail, Our Life, Our Sweetness and Our Hope!
My parents had a routine during their retirement to pray the Rosary daily. Sometimes they’d pray together and sometimes not, but they did almost every day. My mother had a very strong devotion to the Blessed Mother, probably because she lost her own mother at a very young age. As the mother of 6 boys, she probably figured she needed all the help she could get! We see Mary as the model disciple. Though we find it difficult at times to follow her example of “fiat” unconditionally, she is the ultimate goal of discipleship. Mary had difficulties in her life, but she carried her daily crosses without bitterness or anger, and she carried them, as did her Son, with great faith in the Father. Let our focus be to become just a little bit more like Mary, to say yes to the will of the Father in our lives, and model her discipleship, even if it is in the smallest of ways.
O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria, pray for us!
Ready the way! Each year on the Second Sunday of Advent, we hear readings which focus on preparing for the coming of the Savior. The prophet Isaiah tells of the voice in the desert; (John the Baptist) calling to prepare the way of the Lord. The mountains will be made low, the valleys filled, the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people shall see it together! My particular favorite verse today is “Comfort! Give comfort to my people.” (Is. 40—1) In this particularly difficult time/year, we all are stressed, on edge, or just good old-fashioned burned out! How can we prepare the way today? How can we prepare a place in our hearts for the Lord when we are weary? Advent is a time of renewal as we celebrate the seasonal reminder of the presence of God with us. Indeed, the presence of God IN us. With God in us, we can heed the call of Isaiah who calls us to be comforters, to speak tenderly. And, in these difficult times, we can assure each other that like a shepherd, God feeds us, gathers us, carries us, and leads us with care. As we navigate our Advent and Christmas preparations during this time of pandemic, however that may look for you, let's bring God's comfort to all!