“God creates out of nothing. Wonderful you say. Yes, to be sure, but he does what is still more wonderful: he makes saints out of sinners.” - Søren Kierkegaard: (1813 – 1855: Danish philosopher and theologian)
Gospel Text: (MT 4:12-17, 23-25)
When Jesus heard that John had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee.
He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea,
in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,
that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet
might be fulfilled:
Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sit in darkness
have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.
From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
“Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
He went around all of Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness among the people.
His fame spread to all of Syria,
and they brought to him all who were sick with various diseases
and racked with pain,
those who were possessed, lunatics, and paralytics,
and he cured them.
And great crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judea,
and from beyond the Jordan followed him.
Throughout the ensuing centuries, countless women and men have “met” Jesus, then selflessly left everything and followed Jesus — not just to view another miracle or two, but to freely give their lives in promoting the Good News of Jesus. One such rather contemporary disciple is St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the 19th Century foundress of the first women’s religious congregation in the United States whose feast day the Church celebrates today— and the first native-born U.S. citizen to be canonized. Her special disciple’s love included families, children, the poor of her day: each person prompted Mother Seton to be generous in loving service of their needs, with her life rooted in the person of Jesus.
You and I have received that same Jesus-manifestation in our day. We have our 21st century sicknesses, our lack of direction, our selfishness; likewise, our world suffers from violence and lack of respect for all of creation. Today Jesus continues to speak to our hearts as this Christmas season continues to inspire us, and He challenges us with great human examples such as St. Elizabeth Ann.
The question of the day: Can we say “yes” to Jesus, have a true change of heart, and lovingly follow and serve Him in our day? With the Magi of old, with St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, we have seen the Lord…and this Good News needs to be shared!