Today’s Thoughts: “What then, will this child be? For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.” I have celebrated a few baptisms in my life as a priest and there is one thing I do the same at each one. During my homily, I ask all gathered to consider asking themselves two questions as they celebrate the baptism of the child. When they get a chance during the party that usually follows the baptism, to hold the child for a moment, they are to ask themselves – First, what do they, wish, dream, hope for this child? Second, how will they help this wish, dream, hope to come true?
As I prayed with the Gospel (Luke 1: 57-66) this morning the picture that I painted above of a baptism came to mind. If you have ever taken a baby in your arms perhaps one of the first questions that came to your mind was – “What will become of this child?” The same question people asked at the circumcision of John. I think it is a natural question to ask when seeing a new born. What will this child be? What gifts, what talents, does this child have? What kind of life will this child encounter, live? What lies ahead for this child?
Another thought when looking at a new born is the fact that this child has come from God. I use an image in one of my mission talks of a new born child coming into the world. The image is that when a child is born, the child, she or he comes directly from the hands of God. The last face before coming into the world a child sees is God’s. If the child could speak in words that we could understand she or he could tell us about God. Unfortunately, by the time the child can speak in words we understand she or he have forgotten what God looks like and like us, the child spends the rest of her or his life making the journey back to those hands of God. Just think the first hands to embrace us after we take our last breath will be God’s. The first face we will see will be God’s. In other words, the hands of God are with us at birth and throughout our life.
The story we find in the Gospel today about John’s circumcision is all of our stories. When we came into the world people wondered what we would become. People looked at us with love and knew God’s hands were at work. Yet, unlike John we don’t know the end of our story. It is still being lived out, it still needs an ending. We know what John became. We know how John lived out God’s call. We know how John allowed God’s hands to be at work in his life.
Who then are we? How then are God’s hands at work in us? These are our questions for this day. These then are our questions for the celebration of Christmas. These then are our questions for the beginning of a New Year.
Have a great Monday everyone!
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...