Monday, December 29, 2014

St. Michael's News Connection • Week of December 28th

The Grace of the Interrupted Moment

Between the last of December and the beginning of January – a little over a week – the Church packs in three special feast days: The Feast of the Holy Family, the Solemnity of Mary, and the Epiphany.  In a poetic sense, the Church is bursting with the joy.  The joy of the season cannot be contained.

Unexpectedly, the word burst led me to think of the word interruption – the Latin rumpere meaning to burst, and interrumpere meaning to break apart. And I found that  as I reflected on each of these feasts, interruptions play a significant aspect in the gospel accounts. In the Feast of the Holy Family, Joseph is warned in a dream to take his family and flee to Egypt.  Later and angel appears and tells him to return to Israel –though Joseph makes a slight change in his destination. Their lives are uprooted more than once, yet they respond with faith hope, and love.  In Mary’s case, an angel appears to her without warning, and her “ordinary” life is turned upside down when she responds with her fiat to become the Mother of God.  In the Epiphany, a star changes the direction the magi’s lives take. Then after paying homage to Jesus, the magi are warned in a dream to return to their country another way, thereby avoiding Herod. Having met Christ, and for the sake of Christ, they choose to face an untried path on their journey home.

Dealing with interruptions in life is not easy, particularly if you are like me, and like to plan things, set schedules, follow routines, and complete things sequentially – and then, at the end of the day, review all that “I have accomplished.” But as I reflect upon this week’s three feasts, it becomes increasingly evident that once we meet Jesus we are called to meet the unexpected, we are called to a life filled with interruptions.

Jesus came to interrupt our lives.  He calls us to break old habits, to open our hearts to new life.  He calls us to focus less on our own needs and wants, and respond to those of others. He presents us each day with the grace of the interrupted moment. And if we elect to respond, the promise of life a bursting with joy awaits.

Jim Gase

Monday, December 1, 2014

St. Michael's News Connection • Week of November 30th

Joyful Anticipation

The Season of Advent is upon us, and during these next four weeks, we anticipate and reflect not only on the birth of the Messiah, but we also prepare for His Second Coming. In this First Sunday of Advent, Mark’s Gospel reminds us to “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.” 

At first glance, these words seem a bit ominous, but, in fact, this is a message of hope. Our lives are filled with moments of joyful anticipation, and oftentimes this can be elating: watching as the sun dips below the horizon, looking forward to the cherry trees blossoming each spring, waiting for a toddler to take his first steps. American novelist Nicholas Sparks remarks, “Never forget that anticipation is an important part of life…without excitement, you have nothing. You’re cheating yourself if you refuse to enjoy what’s coming.” A. A. Milne’s character Winnie the Pooh explains anticipation this way: “ Well,’ said Pooh, ‘what I like best,’ and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.

As faithful Christians, we spend the next four weeks getting ready. We light our Advent candles, listen to familiar Christmas carols, and adorn our homes to reflect the festivities; even baking and purchasing gifts reminds us of what is to come.  We do this with a watchful eye, vigilant, alert, and prepared.  So let us fly on the wings of anticipation this Advent, and be ready for all the glory that this Season holds.

Kathleen Mock
St. Michael’s School