Baptism Equips for Mission

Today we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord. Confusingly, this happened when Jesus was an adult, and not as a child. So why does the church celebrate it here at the end of the Christmas season?

Before Jesus began his public ministry (his preaching, miracles, gathering disciples, etc.) he went to the Jordan River. His cousin John was there baptizing many people. Baptism was a ritual of repentance, and a ritual of death and new life. You cleanse your body with water on the outside, and commit to a new life on the inside. There were also many examples in the Old Testament of the whole people of Israel being “baptized” through the actions of the Lord himself (Noah and his family surviving the flood, the Hebrews crossing the Red Sea out of Egypt, Joshua leading the people over the Jordan into Israel, etc.). This time, John was preaching for people to prepare themselves for something big. There was a Messiah coming, a savior for their people. 

Along comes Jesus, who wants to get baptized too. Needless to say, John knows who Jesus is. In the account from Matthew’s gospel, John the Baptist tells him, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?” Jesus replies, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Mt 3:14-15 NABRE). 

What does he mean? Why would Jesus want to get baptized, if he doesn’t need to repent of anything? I think we need to look at Jesus’ mission. To sum it up briefly: God the Son became man, that man might become God. So, in order to fully unite himself to humanity, in order to be like us in all things but sin, Jesus undergoes this ritual. Jesus humbles himself, and fully embraces his humanity. And this, friends, is why we celebrate this feast in the same season as Christ’s birth. Both the feast of the Nativity and the Baptism of the Lord highlight the humility of Jesus. In both places, he clearly displayed his desire to become one with us, so that he can raise us up with him.

So how can we live out this feast day? I think the key is to remember that Jesus is one with us now! We are the body of Christ. The equipping and the anointing that He received at His baptism is ours now as well! Jesus actually received two things at His baptism: He received the anointing of the Holy Spirit AND he received the love of the Father. “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased”. In our lives, we need to humble ourselves like Jesus did, we need to know and acknowledge the love of our Father (and therefore know our identity as sons and daughters of God) and receive the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit. And as the second reading in 1 John says, there will also be a baptism of blood. The Lord will call us, like Christ, to sacrifice. All of these will equip us for OUR mission and public ministry on earth.

Songs for Reflection:

I See Heaven – Bryan and Katie Torwalt

Open up the Heavens – Meredith Andrews

Holy Spirit – Bryan and Katie Torwalt

All Who Are Thirsty – Brenton Brown

Glory in the Highest – Chris Tomlin

Prepare the Way – Charlie Hall

Joy (Unspeakable Joy) – Chris Tomlin

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Brendan is just your average Millennial hipster: He likes playing guitar, throwing frisbees, sipping whiskey, and grooming his beard. But he also has a passion for walking with teens and young Christ-followers, hearing every person’s story, and waking up the Church. Brendan works at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Lenexa, Kansas (near Kansas City) as a Youth Music Minister, fusing together his two loves of sharing Christ and sharing the power and need for good and beautiful contemporary praise.

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Do We Trust?

I always like to read through the entire reading for the day and pray through it a little before writing a reflection. Well today, the line that stood out the most was right at the beginning. “We have this confidence in Him.” I immediately thought to myself, do I?

Do we have confidence in God? Through all the things that have happened in our world do we still have confidence that God has a plan, or do we want to try to forge our own path. I know there were many times in 2020 where I wanted to take over the driver seat and do my own thing because things didn’t seem like they would work out any other way. But then I heard that simple line from the First Reading and am faced with the question. Do I really have confidence in him?

As 2021 begins I think this is the most important question we can ask ourselves. We have no idea what is going to come our way in 2021 and although we should be smart and plan as much as we can, we also at some point have to put down the reigns and trust that God loves us, that he wants what is truly best for us, that he has a plan to get us there, and that he has power to get it done.

If the past couple years has shown me anything about the world it has shown me that we tend to think we can get through everything on our own and God is only petitioned when it’s the really big stuff. And then we put him back in the closet of our hearts and try to endure through life until the next big thing comes. What would happen if we trusted him with the big and the small? Not just one moment but with every moment? I think this has the power to change our year for the better.

I would encourage you to take just a few moments to ask yourself that important question. Do I have confidence in him? And then be bold and ask great things and expect miracles. From all of us here at Rodzinka Ministry, God Bless!

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Tommy Shultz is the Founder/Director of Rodzinka Ministry and the Director of Faith Formation for the North Allegan Catholic Collaborative. In these roles, he is committed to bringing all those he meets into a deeper relationship with Christ. Tommy has a heart and flair for inspiring people to live their faith every day. He has worked in various youth ministry, adult ministry, and diocesan roles. He has been a featured speaker at retreats and events across the country. With a degree in Theology from Franciscan University, Tommy hopes to use his knowledge to help all people understand the beauty of The Faith. Contact Tommy at or check out his website at

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Love is the Victor

The First Reading today begins, ‘the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God, is indeed, victor over the world, through the Spirit, water and Blood of Christ.’

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states,  “The Word became flesh to be our model of holiness: ‘Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me.’ ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.’74 On the mountain of the Transfiguration, the Father commands: ‘Listen to him!’75 Jesus is the model for the Beatitudes and the norm of the new law: ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’76 This love implies an effective offering of oneself, after his example.”77(ccc 459)

It is through and because of God’s love, Jesus’ love, that the man with leprosy was healed in the Gospel. Love is the victor over the disease! This conviction is echoed in the reading from Isaiah in the morning office , “Turn to me and be safe, all you ends of the earth, for I am God; there is no other!” Love is the Victor of the world!

The Catechism goes on to say in ccc 872: “In virtue of their rebirth in Christ there exists among all the Christian faithful a true equality with regard to dignity and the activity whereby all cooperate in the building up of the Body of Christ in accord with each one’s own condition and function.”  It is through the Holy Spirit, the water and Blood of Christ that healing has been shared with all humanity.

The Victor of the world is love, God’s love. Fr. Casey Cole, ofm offers this perspective:

In the way we love one another, work for justice, and offer sacrifice—doing as Jesus did—we can actually make a difference in our world because it is in these moments that Christ dwells in us and the Holy Spirit is sent forth from us. What is it that we always pray? “Send down your Spirit and renew the face of the earth!” If we want to follow after Jesus, we must let go of our cynicism and bleak outlook on the world, and instead believe with all our hearts that Christ is in control of this mission. We must look beyond what is not yet redeemed and open our eyes to the overflowing torrent that is God’s love in our world, transforming and renewing the face of the earth. We must realize it is through us, those whom Jesus has called as his disciples, that this work is being accomplished.

Listen to the song from Friz Love, Heal the World Jesus . My hope is that God’s love transforms our world this year through faith, prayer and that which is each of ours to do in His kingdom on earth. Shalom

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Beth Price is part of the customer care team at Diocesan. She brings a unique depth of experience to the group due to her time spent in education, parish ministries, sales and the service industry over the last 25 yrs. She is a practicing spiritual director as well as a Secular Franciscan (OFS). Beth is quick to offer a laugh, a prayer or smile to all she comes in contact with. Reach her here

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He First Loved

“We love because he first loved us.”

Think about that for a second and really let it sink in. God loved us first. I know for a lot of my life, especially in high school, it sometimes felt like I was constantly chasing after God. As if the sins I had committed increased the dark and spaceless void between myself and God and I was the subject who had to do everything I could to bridge the gap and win him back.

Have you ever felt that way? The good news we hear in the First Reading today is that God is the one who longs for us. He starts the whole process and sees it through in a loving and consistent manner. Think about a romantic relationship for a second. Typically there is one person who is initiating the love. Something about the other draws them out of themselves and gives them the courage to make that first move. Well with God we don’t have to wait or wonder. 

Since the very moment of our conception, God has been chasing after us, longing for us, loving us first. He looks at us and since he is the perfect gift he not only gives himself, but he becomes one of us in order to save us from our sin. This reality should blow us away. It changed my whole perspective on life. I no longer needed to feel like God was lightyears away from me, a sinner, but when I look up he is already there. He is helping me, guiding me, giving me grace and love.

We are now a week into the new year. Maybe a focus of this year can be to stop throughout the day and become aware of how God is loving us in each moment. We can forget if we don’t actively engage in the things he is doing in our life. It’s the same in a relationship as well. If you stop being intentional with one another then you start losing the sense that the other person is even there for you. Let’s be intentional with God this year. This can be as simple as stopping a few times a day and saying, “Jesus, I love you.” It doesn’t have to be hard. Wherever we are, God is there. From all of us here at Rodzinka Ministry, God Bless!

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Tommy Shultz is the Founder/Director of Rodzinka Ministry and the Director of Faith Formation for the North Allegan Catholic Collaborative. In these roles, he is committed to bringing all those he meets into a deeper relationship with Christ. Tommy has a heart and flair for inspiring people to live their faith every day. He has worked in various youth ministry, adult ministry, and diocesan roles. He has been a featured speaker at retreats and events across the country. With a degree in Theology from Franciscan University, Tommy hopes to use his knowledge to help all people understand the beauty of The Faith. Contact Tommy at or check out his website at

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Weathering the Storms with God

As we come to the end of this Christmas season, the readings today remind us of the Good News the season brings. The news of the birth of a Savior; the news that God loves us so much that He Himself became man in order to save us from our sins; the news that there is indeed hope for eternal life with our Maker! 

Despite the overwhelmingly good news of the Christmas season, we may not feel as though all is good. We will still weather storms. In fact, many of us may have weathered brutal storms during the Christmas season. Today’s readings remind us that no matter what storms we face, God is with us and He loves us. 

In today’s Gospel we hear the story of Jesus walking on water during a storm. He sees the disciples in a boat on the stormy sea and walks toward them intending to pass them by. However when the disciples see Christ walking on water, they fear He is a ghost and call out to Him. His response is “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid”. In the midst of their storm, the disciples did not recognize the love of Christ Himself enveloping them and ensuring their safety. Seeing their fear, Christ enters the boat with the disciples and He calms the storm. How often do we, in the midst of our own struggles and storms, fail to recognize Christ’s presence and love? Do we invite Him into our boat and ask him to calm our storms? In the First Reading, John tells us that “God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him….there is no fear in love but perfect love drives out fear.” When we fully allow God into our lives and give Him control, we have nothing to fear because His love will drive out that fear.

Of course, that’s much easier said than done. It seems to be an impossible task to place our full and unconditional trust in God and allow Him to take control of those things we cling to so closely. Perhaps we can begin by praying to Him in the small storms and that way when the big storms come, and the big storms will come, we will know exactly where to go because we will recognize God’s immense love for us. 

May we follow the example of St. André Bessette who said “There is so little distance between heaven and earth that God always hears us. Nothing but a thin veil separates us from God.”

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Dakota currently lives in Denver, CO and teaches English Language Development and Spanish to high schoolers. She is married to the love of her life, Ralph. In her spare time, she reads, goes to breweries, and watches baseball. Dakota’s favorite saints are St. John Paul II (how could it not be?) and St. José Luis Sánchez del Río. She is passionate about her faith and considers herself blessed at any opportunity to share that faith with others. Check out more of her writing at

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God’s Providence

“They were like sheep without a shepherd.”

When sheep do not have the boundaries of a field fence, or the guidance of a shepherd to direct them, they wander and range without concern or care. They follow their nose, looking for food, not noticing if they are near a cliff or a bunch of bramble.

As broken human beings, we struggle to keep ourselves oriented toward our Creator. We wander and waver, following a path for no other reason than that it was under our feet. We seek out things the world tells us are good, even if they lead us close to cliffs and gnarly undergrowth.

Jesus and his disciples had just disembarked from a boat they used to escape to a deserted place to rest and recover after much preaching and healing. But the people, who had found in Jesus something attractive, something real, someone to follow, came after them. Jesus observes them coming into this deserted place as sheep would, no plans or preparations, they were just following the trail of something good.

Rather than send them back, Jesus takes pity on them and begins to preach. We all know this story well. The people have no food, the disciples find a few simple loaves and fish, Jesus blesses them and the miracle occurs. This passage from Mark, and its counterparts in the other three Gospels, have been the source of much biblical and theological scholarship. Usually the focus is on the Eucharistic element of the breaking of the bread and the community sharing in the miracle.

Branching off from that point, I would like to turn your attention to the deserted area the people came to. They were drawn by Christ’s presence there, led by His previous teachings and hungering for more. They came without a plan, not knowing what they would hear or do next. They simply came. And when they were hungry, they turned to Jesus and his disciples with trust and expectation.

This simple faith is all that Jesus needs to work miracles in our lives. We are constantly being called by Jesus to come follow Him. However, He doesn’t always tell us where we are going, who will be coming with us, what we should bring and what we ought to leave behind. He asks us to trust in God’s Providence to provide for our needs. No matter where we are led, God will provide for us, perhaps in ways we do not expect. No one would have ever expected the gift of the Eucharist, yet this Sacrament of Sacraments has sustained the Church through good and bad, through arid deserts and flourishing community.

We may be like sheep, but we do have a Shepherd, if we choose to follow Him.

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Kate Taliaferro is an Air Force wife and mother. She is blessed to be able to homeschool, bake bread and fold endless piles of laundry. When not planning a school day, writing a blog post or cooking pasta, Kate can be found curled up with a book or working with some kind of fiber craft. Kate blogs at

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Repentance and Trust

The arrest of St. John the Baptist marks the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. St. John the Baptist’s arrest was heartbreaking for Jesus. This was His relative and childhood friend. We can recall the powerful Gospel story when St. John leapt in the womb of Elizabeth when meeting Jesus. St. John would later grow up to become the voice crying out in the desert to prepare the way for the Messiah, and his arrest set Jesus’ public ministry into motion.

St. John the Baptist chose to live a life with few physical possessions, in the harsh desert. Jesus, on the other hand, would begin His ministry in a land full of water and beauty. In this Gospel, Jesus traveled to Capernaum to start His ministry.  Capernaum is the land where life bloomed, blossomed, and there was water! There is a vast difference between Capernaum by the sea and the lifeless desert. Jesus went to the land of water and life to begin his ministry and in many ways taught us that He is the way, the truth, and the life.

In the Gospel today, Jesus says, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” And the words of Isaiah are also inserted: “The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light.” Jesus desires to free us from our darkness. Sin blocks, clouds, and distorts our perspective, and yet the darkness of the world cannot blot out the light of Christ.

How do we allow the light of Christ into our hearts? Jesus is clear in this Gospel that we need to repent of our past sins and seek the Kingdom of God. Notice that Jesus takes the initiative to allow us to trust Him. This Gospel passage states that “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.” We should not be discouraged from our past, but rather trust Jesus and be healed.

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Emily Jaminet is a Catholic author, speaker, radio personality, wife, and mother of seven children. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mental health and human services from the Franciscan University of Steubenville.  She is the co-founder of and the Executive Director of The Sacred Heart Enthronement Network She has co-authored several Catholic books and her next one, Secrets of the Sacred Heart: Claiming Jesus’ Twelve Promises in Your Life, comes out in Oct. 2020. Emily serves on the board of the Columbus Catholic Women’s Conference, contributes to Relevant Radio and Catholic

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Let His Light Shine

As I stepped into the office at my new job, it felt familiar yet different. I had worked at parishes before, both as an Administrative Assistant and Director of Family Ministry, yet they were in different towns and one in a different state. Each community has its own flavor, its own strengths and weaknesses, its own offerings and its own needs. 

As I was welcomed by the staff and ushered into my new space, I felt ready for what was to come. Sure, there would be a learning curve. Sure I would discover additional aspects of what was expected of me as I went along, but I would be serving God’s people once again and I would be close to home. Thank you, Lord! 

Just as the Magi did so long ago, I felt joy and peace that I could finally bring my gifts to Jesus. Sure, being bilingual, having good organizational skills and a solid work ethic are a far cry from gold, frankincense and myrrh, but they are what I have to give. Just as the little drummer boy played his drum for Jesus because that was all he had, so also I offer to my newborn Savior what I have to give.

When working in ministry, it is so important to remember the words of our First Reading: “the glory of the Lord shines upon you. See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the Lord shines, and over you appears his glory.” It is the Lord who shines in and through me. It is His light alone that will dispel the darkness and the clouds. If I let Him radiate within me, others can also be radiant with joy. And however small the gifts I bear, I must realize that they are both from Him and for Him, and continually “proclaim[] the praises of the Lord.”

In the Hispanic culture the Feast of the Epiphany, which we celebrate today, is considered a second Christmas. Just as the magi gave gifts to the Christ-Child, the children are also given gifts. I even know a family that chooses to focus on the birth of Jesus spiritually on Christmas day and holds off all gift giving until Epiphany.

No matter what the date or the occasion, the act of gift-giving is important. Whether we give of our creativity, our resources, a well-thought purchase, our time, our talents…all is gift. It is that outpouring of ourselves to others, that sharing of ourselves for the good of others, that moment when we take the backburner so that others may find joy. 

So as we gaze upon the Baby Jesus, visited by the wise men today, may we prayerfully discern which gifts we are called to give in order to let God’s light shine through us. 

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Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at her parish, is a guest blogger on and, runs her own blog at and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for almost 20 years.

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A New You

A new year, a new you. If 2021 is not going to be the biggest seller of self help books, dieting fads, and new years resolutions, then the world has lost out on a huge opportunity. I think 2020 threw most people for a loop, and we all want a fresh start, a clean slate, to become better versions of ourselves.

While we strive to make our bodies and minds better and stronger, let’s not forget that we should also take care of our souls during this new year. Part of the First Reading today really struck me. “Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you. If what you heard from the beginning remains in you, then you will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made us: eternal life.”

So what did we hear in the beginning? Think back. We heard that we are created good. We heard that we are made to be a gift to each other. We heard we are made in the image and likeness of God. I know I talk about this a lot in my posts, but it’s because it’s really one of the most important things we can understand.

If we understand that we are made in the image and likeness of God then we will remain in the Son and the Father. If we truly believe we are made in such a special way, then we will act accordingly. If we truly believe we are an image of God, then we will make that image a beacon to the whole world of God’s love.

It is easy to make resolutions about physical or monetary accomplishments and it is also easy to break them. These things are easier to break because their focus is on things that will eventually be gone. But when it comes to the spiritual resolutions we should be making, we should dig in deep and realize the eternal importance of these promises to God.

This year I am going to make a point to reflect and pray through the following Scripture verse every day. “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” I want to do this in order to be reminded of who I am, who I should be, and how I should treat others. I may even print it out and put it by my bed as a reminder. What can you do to remind you this year of the spiritual realities of God? And how can we all share these better with others?

Merry Christmas and Happy New year. From all of us here at Rodzinka Ministry, God Bless!

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Tommy Shultz is the Founder/Director of Rodzinka Ministry and the Director of Faith Formation for the North Allegan Catholic Collaborative. In these roles, he is committed to bringing all those he meets into a deeper relationship with Christ. Tommy has a heart and flair for inspiring people to live their faith every day. He has worked in various youth ministry, adult ministry, and diocesan roles. He has been a featured speaker at retreats and events across the country. With a degree in Theology from Franciscan University, Tommy hopes to use his knowledge to help all people understand the beauty of The Faith. Contact Tommy at or check out his website at

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We Are Blessed

Looking back at 2020, it is easy to say with disgust that it was a terrible year. No doubt about it. In a sense, yes, it was terrible, but it was also rich. 

Think of it this way.

Miners don’t become rich unless they know where to find the gold. It does not always sit in a lump on the ground, waiting to be picked up and marveled at by a passerby. You have to look for the gold — you have to find it. Just because you don’t find the gold does not mean that it is not there. You just aren’t looking hard enough. 2020 has been hard, true, but perhaps we are not looking at it with the eyes of God, the eyes that see every blessing and every gift that is and was given to us.

In the First Reading, the Lord said to Moses, “Say to them, The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace! So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites, and I will bless them.” God will bless us. God has blessed us. We should be full of joy because we are blessed. We should invoke his name in praise. May the nations be glad and exult. God has given us so much.

The Second Reading calls attention to the blessing of Christmas, the greatest blessing of all. “When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. As proof that you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” so you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then also an heir, through God.” This is the blessing of blessings. God sent his Son to redeem us, to ransom us so that we might be his adopted children. What a gift! Sending Jesus not only to save us, but to welcome us as adopted sons and daughters into His family, the Holy Family. 

We have been blessed. 

We are blessed. 

The shepherds, too, are good examples of those who invoke the name of the Lord. They “…returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.” 

They had been blessed and so they praised the Lord.

They already knew that a savior would come, but that does not dampen their joy. In fact, it probably increased it! We should be like them as well, lifting our arms and praising the Lord, not just when times are obviously good, or when our praise and worship music is uplifting, but now, and always, for he has given us so much.

A new year brings new promise, new hope and new blessings. May we continue to praise God for them this New Year and always.

Perpetua Phelps is a high school student residing in West Michigan and is the second of four children. Apart from homeschooling, Perpetua enjoys volunteering at her church, attending retreats, studying Latin and French, and reading classics such as BeowulfThe Lord of the Rings, C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy, and Mark Twain’s Joan of Arc. She also spends much time writing novels, essays, and poetry for fun and competition. A passionate Tolkien fan, Perpetua is a founding member of a Tolkien podcast.

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The Last Day. A Sacred Day.

2020. The last day. A sacred day. A blessed memory of what has been, despite all, a year also blessed. The year when Jesus came. Comes. Will keep coming. Every day. Every hour. Every minute into 2021.

Today’s Gospel shines with “coming” language, connecting words, relationship, loving, living, lighting…

As we end this year, we may be saying good riddance to the darkness, hoping for something better in 2021. Jesus, however, comes into the darkness. He comes to bring life. He arrives with the light. And the darkness cannot overcome him.

When we choose living, pleasing others, reaching out in whatever way possible… we are Christ today, lighting the way through our living and our loving.

When we choose to light up someone’s sorrowful eyes, shed light on a confusing or painful situation, or offer the light of comfort to another… We are Christ. Today. And. Tomorrow.

We can be Christ because Christ has already showered his living and lighting and loving gifts on us.

The darkness brings out Christ in you because Christ is in you,
he came for you,
to melt the darkness with the touch of his presence,
so that through you and all he has touched,
no one might be alone in the world.

Despite isolation, stay with the living, lighting and loving today and tomorrow. Despite foreboding thoughts, believe in the living, lighting and loving today.

Fear less, and live more. Turn on all the lights in your heart and love more. Loving will warm our own hearts even as we give this love away.

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Sr. Kathryn J. HermesKathryn James Hermes, FSP, is the author of the newly released title: Reclaim Regret: How God Heals Life’s Disappointments, by Pauline Books and Media. An author and spiritual mentor, she offers spiritual accompaniment for the contemporary Christian’s journey towards spiritual growth and inner healing. She is the director of My Sisters, where people can find spiritual accompaniment from the Daughters of St. Paul on their journey. Website: Public Facebook Group: For monthly spiritual journaling guides, weekly podcasts and over 50 conferences and retreat programs join my Patreon community:

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Admiring Anna

Who is this mysterious woman we hear about in today’s Gospel (and this past weekend’s Gospel, for that matter)? 

Anna only appears one time across all four Gospels, in this passage from Luke. Yet, she is one of the more intriguing characters and someone from which we can learn a lot. 

Being a prophetess, Anna was blessed to have a close relationship with God and was advanced in a lot of spiritual ways. One thing that sticks out to me is her wisdom. Yes, Anna lived until she was 84 years old – a long life by today’s standards – which was well beyond the typical lifespan in ancient times, meaning that she was able to accumulate and grow in wisdom in a strictly secular sense. 

However, Anna was also spiritually wise as we can see in verse 39, “And coming forward at that time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Israel.” Anna knew who the child Jesus was – the Messiah who was long awaited by Israel. 

Wisdom is an oft-desired quality but can we say that we ourselves are spiritually wise? Can we truly say that we know Jesus as our Savior and Messiah? Even if our answer is no, fear not – for we can grow in spiritual wisdom. A great place to start would be asking the Holy Spirit to intercede for us and bestow His gift of wisdom upon us. We can’t just stop there, though. We need to work to know our Lord Jesus Christ – we come to know him in prayer, in receiving the sacraments and in each other. 

This is another thing that Anna does so well – she “never left the temple” and worshiped with “fasting and prayer.” It’s no wonder that Anna knew who Jesus was – because she constantly spent time in His Father’s house (that is, the temple – see Luke 2:49). 

How are you doing with prayer and the sacraments? Has your prayer life gone by the wayside? Have you stopped attending Mass due to the convenience of watching Mass from your recliner with a cup of coffee? If we are to truly know our Lord, these are things that cannot be set aside. 

As we approach the start of a new year, take a moment to pause and evaluate your spiritual life, using Anna as an example. If there’s an area or two where you need improvement, look to her for inspiration. 

May we all continue to know and serve the Lord better in 2021.

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Erin Madden is a Cleveland native and graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Following graduation, she began volunteering in youth ministry at her home parish of Holy Family Church. Her first “big girl” job was in collegiate sports information where, after a busy two years in the profession on top of serving the youth, she took a leap of faith and followed the Lord’s call to full-time youth ministry at St. Peter Church. She still hopes to use her communication arts degree as a freelance writer and statistician, though. You can catch her on the Clarence & Peter Podcast on YouTube as well as follow her on Twitter @erinmadden2016.

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