It is New Years Eve today. I am anticipating the coming new year with anticipation and hope. I recently realized hope is the only action verb I can think of that depends on itself to come true: Hope depends on Hope! Faith depends on hope as well. It is what gets us through those trials, when faith is challenged. To me, both hope and faith are graces from God with each working in the other. And together, there is a synergistic effect greater than each separately. Jesus showed us this on the cross: three nail equals four-giveness (Sorry for the pun but anyone who knows me, knows I love puns.)!
Quote or Joke of the Day:
Give God what’s right — not what’s left.
When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.'” Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.” (NAB Mt 2:3-8)
King Herod reminds me of the ‘typical’ politician, even today. He was no different than the Sanhedrin and Sadducees later in Jesus’ life. Nor is he any different from the politicians of today! All have the need to be superior to all others. All are filled with greed, narcissism, suspicion of friends and foes, and fear of losing power.
Herod had no interest in paying Jesus homage. He was tyrannical, and wanted to eliminate any threat to his power. He had no idea where this new ‘messiah’ was, but he knew that even as an infant, Jesus’ presence was a threat from those following Him rather than the “King” of Judea: Herod.
Herod’s consultation with the chief priests and scribes have a remarkable similarity to an old Jewish legend about the child Moses, in which the “sacred scribes” warn Pharaoh about the imminent birth of one who will deliver Israel from Egypt, and the kings plan to destroy Moses (Matthew 2:11, Psalm 72:10, 15, and Isaiah 60:6).
Again, a lowly versus mighty theme is intertwined in this part of the story. Bethlehem is a small, poor, and lazy village, compared to the metropolitan Jerusalem with its rich and affluent lifestyles. I just think about all my family vacations, which were spent getting away from the big city, and trying to spend as much time in the rural lifestyle as was possible.
It is interesting that as I try to go to the basics in my lifestyle, I am also getting to the basics of my faith. There is nothing fancy to my belief in God, and being Catholic. I need only one basic element, and the rest just fall into place:
All I want is to be in your presence my Lord, Jesus Christ. With your grace, I want always to see you in this life of exile, and in future life of eternal paradise. Amen.
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Secular Franciscan Order Motto:
Pax et Bonum
(Peace and All Good)