Sunday, December 28, 2014

From the Beginning

Beloved, I am writing no new commandment to you but an old commandment that you had from the beginning.  The old commandment is the word that you have heard.  And yet I do write a new commandment to you, which holds true in him and among you, for the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. 1 John 2:7-9

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.  This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.  It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. Luke 2:25-26

Prayer for the Help of the Holy Spirit
O God, send forth your Holy Spirit into my heart that I may perceive, into my mind that I may remember, and into my soul that I may meditate. Inspire me to speak with piety, holiness, tenderness and mercy. Teach, guide and direct my thoughts and senses from beginning to end. May your grace ever help and correct me, and may I be strengthened now with wisdom from on high, for the sake of your infinite mercy. Amen.
-- Saint Anthony of Padua 

There seem to be only two things that come upon the people in the beginning of St. Luke’s Good News:  First comes fear and then comes the Holy Spirit.  We see it in Zechariah, Mary, Jesus, the people and in Simeon.  First, we see fear come over people when they come face-to-face with the unknown.

Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him. Luke 1:12

Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea.  Luke 1:65

However, this sense of fear gives way to awe when they realize that they have found favor, not the anger, of the Lord.

And the angel said to her in reply, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.  Luke 1:35

For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.  Luke 1:48

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the holy Spirit was upon him.  Luke 2:25

The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.  Luke 2:40

Perhaps the absence of the Holy Spirit leads us into a state of fear.  Although the Holy Spirit is never absent.  Maybe in those times of fear, we let other preoccupations get in the way of our sense that the Spirit it present in our lives.  Then, the awareness of this presence of the Holy Spirit leads to the love of the Lord and charity for those around us.

In the first reading, we see the testament that the continuity and freshness of mutual charity in Christian experience.   Jesus did not change the commandment but rather gave it a fresh telling.  Through Christ, the commandment of love is light.  It defeats the darkness of evil in a new age.  All hatred as darkness is incompatible with the light and Christian life.

There are three days left in this calendar (tax) year.  Any gifts you make to provide love and light the charity of your choice through financial or in-kind donations are deductible to the extent allowed by your personal situation.  You have until 11:59 pm on the Seventh Day of Christmas (aka December 31) to claim any charitable deductions on your 2014 taxes.  Tick…tock…the end of the year is near. 

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