December 31, 2011

Bible Teachings For Spiritual Life: Epiphany Moments Drive Our Spiritual Life

Bible Teachings For Spiritual Life: Epiphany Moments Drive Our Spiritual Life

Epiphany Moments Drive Our Spiritual Life

An Epiphany Moment is when we learn something that changes how we think and how we live our life. The Wise Men have an Epiphany moment when they personally see the baby Jesus. They had been watching the stars for a divine sign for years and now, in a remote stable, they found God in a baby. Their thinking about God was dramatically changes and they responded by giving precious gifts only appropriate to a king, a priest and one destined to die a special death.

December 17, 2011

The Birth of Jesus is Like a Light Coming Into the Darkness

John is trying to explain the significance of Jesus birth. This is one of the most important events in human history. We measure time from Anno Domini – the year of the birth of Jesus. This is AD 2011. John begins with an explanation that would be clear to people familiar with Greek Philosophy. Their idea of God was wisdom which Greeks described as The Word. Once he has their attention John moves on to connect the birth of Jesus to being like a light coming into the world. Let us get a grasp of what John means by light coming into the world before we move on to look at the meaning of Jesus birth.

We Are All Chosen and Called By God

Most of us take most of our lives trying to figure out what God wants us to do. It took me about 45 years. The story of God calling Mary to become the mother of Jesus  is the ultimate “call story”. God is calling Mary to take an enormous risk, to really trust in God. She lived in a culture that stoned women to death that had children outside of marriage. This young girl of about thirteen was called to have an intimate relationship of absolute trust in God.

1. Notice how personal this relationship is.
The angel does not say God is going to give her some teachings or some rules to pass on. This is what the prophets had been doing ever since Moses. God was doing a new  thing. God was about to come Himself in human form. He needed a human partner he could trust. He chose Mary and called her into a personal relationship.

December 3, 2011

Advent Calls Us To A New Beginning

Advent is the beginning of a new liturgical year. This is a new cycle of teaching. In Year A we studied Matthew's Gospel. In Year B we will study the Gospel of Mark. The Gospel of Mark was written just before the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. It is a bare bones historical account written in a breathless tone. The first sentence - "In the beginning" tell us this is a new creation story modeled on Genesis. God is going to do a new thing. This new thing begins with the ministry of John the Baptist calling people to repentance. This repentance and symbolic water baptism is in preparation for the coming of the Messiah. John promises that the Messiah will come in spiritual power and baptize people with the Holy Spirit. This is the beginning of a new relationship between God and humanity.

We Are to Watch for What God is Going to Do

The First Sunday in Advent is the beginning of a new liturgical year. The Readings follow Jesus warning from last Sunday to watch for His return at the end of time. Now we also watch for what God is going to do at Christmas. Watching is a serious religious responsibility. In ancient times only the best soldiers were trusted to be on watch for enemy attacks. The survival of the whole community depended on the diligence of the watchman. The watchman needs to stay awake, know what e is watching for and avoid distractions.