Monday Morning Alka-Seltzer - January 2013
Your word is near,
O Lord our God,
your grace is near.
Come to us, then,
with mildness and power.
Do not let us be deaf to you,
but make us receptive and open
to Jesus Christ your son,
who will come to look for us and save us
today and every day
for ever and ever.
From Your Word Is Near, by Huub Oosterhuis
I went to Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address for today’s meditation, an address given to a nation terribly divided. All of President Lincoln’s energies were directed toward one goal, and one goal only – our national union. He fought the war with that one purpose, a war eventually won with incalculable costs of blood.
With that in mind, here is the final paragraph of his second inaugural address delivered in one of the most dreadful of times in our nation’s history.
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
Today’s Gospel account tells us:
After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”
As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Then they left their nets and followed him. He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him.
Our challenging question is: What do I need to leave behind in order to better follow Jesus?
“It is done.
Once again the Fire has penetrated the earth.
Not with sudden crash of thunderbolt, riving the mountain-tops: does the Master break down doors to enter his own home? Without earthquake, or thunderclap: the flame has lit up the whole world from within. All things individually and collectively are penetrated and flooded by it, from the inmost core of the tiniest atom to the mighty sweep of the most universal laws of being: so naturally has it flooded every element, every energy, every connecting-link in the unity of our cosmos; that one might suppose the cosmos to have burst spontaneously into flame.
In the new humanity which is begotten today the Word prolongs the unending act of his own birth; and by virtue of his immersion in the world’s womb the great waters of the kingdom of matter have, without even a ripple, been endued with life. No visible tremor marks this inexpressible transformation; and yet, mysteriously and in very truth, at the touch of the supersubstantial Word the immense host which is the universe is made flesh. Through your own incarnation, my God, all matter is henceforth incarnate.”
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
The Proclamation of The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ
"The Twenty-Fifth Day of December, when ages beyond number had run their course from the creation of the world,when God in the beginning created heaven and earth, and formed man in his own likeness;
when century upon century had passed since the Almighty set his bow in the clouds after the Great Flood, as a sign of covenant and peace;
in the twenty-first century since Abraham, our father in faith, came out of Ur of the Chaldees;
in the thirteenth century since the People of Israel were led by Moses in the Exodus from Egypt; around the thousandth year since David was anointed King; in the sixty-fifth week of the prophet Daniel;
in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad; in the year seven hundred and fifty-two since the foundation of the City of Rome; in the forty-second year of the reign of Caesar Octavian Augustus, the whole world being at peace,
Jesus Christ, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, desiring to consecrate the world by his most loving presence, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and when nine months had passed since his conception, was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem of Judah, and was made man:
The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh."