Monthly Scripture Reflection
“Raise your eyes and look about.”
Isaiah 60: 4
January 2020 is here. The shepherds have gone back to their flocks; the host of angels have returned to separate choirs; and the Holy ‘Family have settled down to life in Bethlehem, presumably to better quarters than the stable provided. We, too, have resumed our usual day-to-day lives.
But wait, there’s more. The star is still needed, to guide the “Magi from the east” to “the place where the child was.” The angels still have their messages to deliver—that the Wise Men not go back to Herod, who really sought only to take the life of the “newborn king.” And another message was to Joseph to flee with Mary and the Child out of Herod’s reach. The January gospels continue with Jesus’ Baptism and the beginnings of his ministry.
So in the lengthening days of January, with the poetic prophet Isaiah we grow from “darkness to radiance.“ “Anguish has taken wing, dispelled in darkness.” “Upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom, a light has shown.” The servant “whom God has chosen” has called all nations “for the victory of justice.” Not only are the eyes of the blind opened, but people who live in whatever kind of darkness see again. There will be “abundant joy and great rejoicing.”
St. Paul in his Epistle tells us what coming to the light means–that we “Gentiles are co-heirs, members of the same body, co-partners in the promised of Christ Jesus. In Acts St. Peter says, “In truth God shows no partiality.” “Whoever acts uprightly is acceptable to him.” Paul echoes, we “who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus are called to be holy.” And he urges us to be “united in the same purpose.”
The Gospel writers, St. Matthew and St. John, both tell of John the Baptist being surprised when Jesus came to him to be baptized. (You should be doing me!) “Behold the Lamb of God, who will baptize not with water like me, but “with the Holy Spirit.” The heavens opened and the Spirit of God “was seen descending upon him” and a voice was heard, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And then Jesus invited some new friends to “follow me” and went about preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” and “curing every disease and illness.
When we “raise our eyes and look about,” what do we see? Hopefully a united people finding ways to “follow” Jesus. In a common practice called “lectio divina” we are told to choose one word or phrase in a passage to meditate upon. What if we chose “another way” from the Magi story? What could we be doing differently? What should we be? What star can we follow to imitate Jesus as
“He went about doing good.”
Terry Schulte, MASL