What Gift Do You Bring?

Our readings today convey several interesting topics. Collectively, they touch on something that struck me from Matt’s reflection on Wednesday (January 2); “We encounter each person right where they are and love them, scars and all.” The end of today’s first reading says, “for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything.” The responsorial psalm calls us to, “cry out to God with joy, whose kindness and faithfulness endures forever.” The alleluia reinforces this saying to adore the Lord because of the great light that has come upon the earth. To me, all of this supports the fact that God sent Jesus to us because of His great love for us, all of us on earth (full of many scars and faults).

In his wisdom, God inspired many witnesses of his great love and faithfulness to humanity which comes through the writings and prophets of the Old Testament and is fulfilled in the Gospels and epistles of the Bible. We see this demonstrated in the Church writings and in the creed of our faith, which is noted today, as it is the twelfth day of Christmas. The twelve drummers represent the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.

I believe in one God,

the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,

the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him, all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.

For our sake, he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,

he suffered death and was buried,

and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.

He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.

9. I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins

and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead

and the life of the world to come. Amen

Today is also the memorial of St. John Neumann. St. John was quite a gifted and faithful witness of God. St. John Neumann had many challenges to overcome in his quest to become a priest even before he immigrated from Bohemia to America and Ellis Island dressed shabbily, not knowing the language and with a single dollar in his pocket. The following quote exemplifies what Matt was getting at; that each of us has a purpose and was created to be loved and to love others.

Everyone who breathes, high and low, educated and ignorant, young and old, man and woman, has a mission, has a work. We are not sent into this world for nothing; we are not born at random; we are not here, that we may go to bed at night and get up in the morning, toil for our bread, eat and drink, laugh and joke, sin when we have a mind, and reform when we are tired of sinning, rear a family and die. God sees every one of us; He creates every soul, …for a purpose. He needs, He deigns to need every one of us. He has an end for each of us; we are all equal in His sight, and we are placed in our different ranks and stations, not to get what we can out of them for ourselves, but to labor in them for Him. As Christ has worked, we too have but to labor in them for Him. As Christ has His work, we too have ours; as He rejoiced to do his work, we must rejoice in ours also. ~ St. John Neumann

Sit with this today. What is the work you rejoice in to do for the Lord? Think about what your gift can be to the Lord on this eve of the Epiphany. The little drummer boy had his work of music for the Lord. How are you to be a witness to and for God?

Beth Price is a Secular Franciscan (OFS) and spiritual director who has worked in several parish ministry roles during the last 20 years. She is a proud mother of 3 adult children. Beth currently works at Diocesan. You can contact her at bprice@diocesan.com.