We have found the Messiah: Jesus Christ, who brings us truth and grace. – John 1:41

Life_Giving Faith.pdf

The world rings in the New Year with fireworks bursting high in the sky. Shouts of joy are heard as each time-zone strikes midnight and people toast to a new dawn filled with well-intended promises and resolutions. The liturgical year is also illuminated with joy, as the sun sets on the Christmas season and rises with Ordinary Time. While the party lights fade and confetti is swept away, the light of Christ continues to brightly shine. We, as Catholic Christians, are called each day to adore him, persevere in faith and follow his call.

Star with royal beauty bright

Have you ever imagined what kind of star would motivate three Magi to bear gifts and “traverse afar?” St. John Chrysostom points out that “God calls them by means of the things they are most familiar with, and he shows them a large and extraordinary star so that they would be impressed by its size and beauty. God called the Wise Men in the midst of their ordinary occupations, and he still calls people in that way. Like the Magi, we have discovered a star, a light and a guide in the sky of our soul.”

How does God call us to himself through the ordinary? What light are we following? Is it the consistent “star” radiating the call to come to Jesus? Or is it the dimming flare of an exhausted firework, a moment of beauty but out in an instant? Better yet, are we radiating the light of Christ in the ordinary moments of life?

Come let us adore him

Latria (your Greek-rooted, Latin word of the day) means supreme worship offered to God alone. This is adoration. As the final notes of “O Come All Ye Faithful” are sung, “Come let us adore him, Christ the Lord,” the call to action remains. We are to humble our posture, reverently kneeling with head bowed and eyes fixed on our Lord Jesus Christ, joyful and triumphant. All people, the simple and lowly to the wise and powerful, shepherds and Magi of yesterday and today, are invited to hear the good news and answer “yes” to salvation in Christ.

Westward leading still proceeding

Never give up! Jesus call us to persevere while following his star. Seeking the perfect light of truth may come at a cost, but it is worth traversing any desert on the back of a camel for months. When the faith gets tough the faithful get tougher. The truth is a powerful beacon shining a path to eternity: strong, consistent and secure. When a truth seems confusing or unacceptable, instead of pushing it aside, uncover the reality of its value. Some truths are harder to live, yet with prayer and conformity to Christ the truth will ultimately set you free.

Seeking to become

When the Lord calls, sit up and listen. We are made for the Lord. Hence, he calls us to follow him (the star), to love him (in adoration) and know him (the truth). Once pursued we can grow to be like Jesus and share him with others. We seek to become his disciples. This is the primary role of Christians: to know, to love and to serve him (CCC #1). And in turn we share this with our neighbor.

During these two weeks we hear about four major disciples: Mary, the first disciple, who shared Jesus with the Magi; St. John the Baptist, who pointed the way toward him; St. Andrew, who followed the call; and his brother, Simon, renamed Peter, who upholds the truth to this day through his successors. These living models of discipleship forged a path through the impossible to make the possible a reality for us today. Resolve this year to seek the way, and the truth in Jesus Christ. Become an intentional disciple, such as these. You will have new life in Christ, and by his radiant light, lead others to adore him. Come and you will see (Jn 1:39).

Welcome to 2018!

Dow is the director of Evangelization and Catechesis for the Diocese of Baton Rouge.