Thomas Edward Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, was a British military officer and writer. He is remembered for his exploits during the Arab revolt against the Turks in the First World War. He led raids, captured various key posts, and fought his way through Palestine to Damascus. He returned to Oxford at the end of the war to write an account of his experiences. The title of his book was Seven Pillars of Wisdom, which comes from today’s first reading from the Book of Proverbs.
Sometimes the person that matters most is the one least regarded, and sometimes what is essential is the last thing we think of.
I AM A frequent shopper, and I am often amazed at the sheer variety of choices that we have at the grocery store. A dozen types of apples, cereal in every shape and size, rows and rows of meats and cheeses. Sodas and paper towels, chips and cleaning products. We are blessed in this country by an overabundance of foods and products, shelves overstocked with comestibles and merchandise. One of the most ubiquitous items is bread.
Do we trust God to provide for us?
I think that this is the question today’s readings and today’s Gospel, in particular, ask us to reflect on.
My dad was a wanderer. My earliest memories of childhood vacations include one of us kids asking “where’s dad?!?”or more often my mom asking us in consternation “where is your father?!?” Something would catch his eye and he would be off to explore and learn more about it. He never meant to cause anxiety or worry in us and he certainly never purposely left us; he just became so engrossed in something new that he forgot about everything else.
I WANT TO highlight three important takeaways from this Sunday’s Scriptures that have direct, urgent, and practical significance for us. Each of us is baptized into what we refer to as Jesus’ threefold office: priest, prophet, and king. Today’s readings help us understand: what does it mean to be a prophet?
People change, for better or worse. Many situations can happen in someone’s life that causes them to reevaluate for the good, or to slip into habits that are detrimental. We all have times that we change to some degree. High school students graduate and move to college. Often within the time of one semester, something changes. Maturity sets in, minds are opened, world views are molded, and life experiences shape personality and actions. When a loved one passes away, things can change. When one moves onto a new vocation in life, things can change.
“Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
This week we celebrate the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. In the Gospel from Luke, we hear an account of the occasion of his birth, with a focus on his naming. During that time, one’s name indicated one’s lineage, and the name John was not found within his family. John the Baptist’s parents, Elizabeth and Zechariah, were of old age yet were favored by God and had a child. Because of this great blessing, Elizabeth and Zechariah chose to name their son “John,” which means “the Lord has been gracious” (At Home with the Word 2018).
Today's reading tell us much about sin. From the fall of Adam and Eve, to the Psalmist crying for mercy, and Christ becoming the victim of accusation and name calling. Sin has become something of a norm for us in public discourse. We have experienced a crisis in truth over the past years. Facts have been challenged with “alternative facts,” science has been denied, and lies are so prevalent in our political and social media spheres that finding the truth is hardly easy. We have also seen an erosion of what is appropriate public decorum in the rhetoric that comes from our leaders.