Reflection for the First Week of Ordinary Time


You are my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased!

'Star of Bethlehem' by Edward Burne-Jones, 1891, depicting the 
Adoration of the Magi with an angel holding the star of Bethlehem.
Baptism of Christ by William Blake, 1800

This Sunday’s Gospel tells us that Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan. And … he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, You are my Son, the beloved, in whom I am well pleased.

The angels announced Jesus’ birth to the shepherds, the star led the Magi to their epiphany. This Sunday wecelebrate Jesus’ manifestation (epiphany) to the world as the Son of God. William Blake’s painting depicts the heavens torn apart with a crowd of angels.

The Church year begins with Advent and Christmas, with the celebration of Jesus, Saviour, God with us. The baptism of Jesus marks the transition from Christmas Time to the first week of what the church calls Ordinary Time. The experience of Advent and Christmas grounds our ordinary everydays!

Alfred Delp SJ, a German Jesuit, shortly before he was executed in a Nazi prison camp, wrote about Advent:   Space is still filled with the noise of destruction and annihilation, the shouts of self-assurance and arrogance, the weeping of despair and helplessness. But just beyond the horizon the eternal realities stand silent in their age-old longing. There shines on us the first mild light of the radiant fulfillment to come. From afar sound the first notes as of pipes and singing, not yet discernible as a song or melody. It is all far off still, and only just announced and foretold. But it is happening. This is today. And tomorrowthe angels will tell what has happened with loud rejoicing voices, and we shall know it and be glad, if we have believed and trusted in Advent … and we might add, lived and experienced Christmas.

The letter announcing the Year of Consecrated Life quotes Pope Francis, People today certainly need words, but most of all they need us to bear witness to the mercy and tenderness of the Lord which warms the heart, rekindles hope, and attracts people towards the good. What a joy it is to bring God’s consolation to others!    (Pope Francis’ Address to Seminarians and Novices 6 July 2013, quoted in the Letter announcing the Year of Consecrated Life)

FCJ Word
God’s unifying energy made visible in Christ Jesus, ‘God with us‘, ignites hope in our shadowlands, in the gaps and gullies where the lost, forsaken and forgotten lie hidden. (General Chapter 2013 Directions)

What can I take from my own experience of Advent and Christmas
into the ‘ordinary’ days of my life?
How do I “bear witness to the mercy and tenderness of God”?

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