Spiritual Reflections

'Who are you?'

One of the elderly sisters in my religious community used to ask a younger sister that question every day at breakfast. The senior in question didn’t have dementia. She was challenging the other to dig deeper into her own identity, to discover and articulate who she really was. The younger one started with her name and went on to other words which described the relationships that called her forth: sister, daughter, friend, etc. Some answers had an overtly religious tone while others could include such varied roles as a swimmer and a Cardinals fan.

The signs of salvation

We tend to think that the trial of Jesus happened only at the end of his life, before the rulers of the people, Pilate and Herod. In reality, Jesus was on trial for the entirety of his earthly mission. Every time he did or said something, it raised implicit questions, like, "Who does he think he is?" and "Is this the one to come?" Response to those questions depended on two basic sources for discernment: the religious tradition of Israel and the openness of each individual to accept or reject the challenge of Jesus' person and message.

Announcing the coming

Look at your Advent calendar. Can you spot John the Baptist with his 100 percent organic outfit and odd, non-vegetarian diet? Although he hardly fits the cute calendar images, he's a key character of the Advent season. His warning that it's time to change our behavior may sound a bit like "You'd better watch out ... you'd better not pout ..." but the reward he promises for conversion is not at all like a tinseled tree surrounded by toys and electronics.

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In This Issue

January 13-26, 2017

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