January 13, 2014 begins the first week of Ordinary Time in our church. You may be asking, "What does Ordinary Time mean? Ordinary Time makes up most of the liturgical year in the Catholic Church. It refers to the period of the liturgical year that falls outside of the major seasons like Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter. Many people think Ordinary Time refers to the parts of the church year that are unimportant; yet nothing could be further from the truth. This is the time where we are called to be extraordinary in the ordinary moments of our lives.
January 19, 2014: Two weeks ago we celebrated the Feast of the Epiphany (manifestation). Last Sunday the Epiphany continued as Jesus was announced as the Beloved of God at His baptism. On this Sunday we hear of the third "manifestation" of Jesus as the Christ, or "Chosen One". From the very beginning, John’s Gospel names Jesus as the Light, the Savior, and the Messiah.
God desires us to see these Epiphanies and to become Epiphanies, manifestations, as God’s Beloved in our world.
January 26, 2014: As a vocation director, I find this Gospel a familiar reading and often used it to invite people to a religious vocation as a priest or a religious sister or brother; to be like Peter and Andrew, James and John and to leave everything in order to follow Jesus.
Yet, this is your call, too, and it is an urgent one.. Jesus tells us, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand!" and "Come, follow me." Peter, Andrew, James and John responded to this message whole heartedly, "Yes, we’ll follow you." Their yes meant they would radically change their lives in order to think and act as a follower of Jesus.
What does this call mean for each of us? What must we radically change in our lives in order to think, act and follow Jesus?
February 2, 2014: On this feast of the Presentation of Jesus, we look to Mary and ponder all these things in our heart, by again taking the time to grasp the deepest meaning of Christmas — the coming of God into our midst.
We look to the example of Simeon and Anna and how they spent their time in prayer and patient waiting so that they might witness God in their midst. Let us ask: How am I like them?
How do I ponder, pray and wait to see and know God in my life?
February 9, 2014: In Jesus’ day, salt was very important because it preserved and added a kind of zest to food, which gave life to people. So if we are to be salt, we are to preserve and enliven the message of Jesus, making it a message that brings life and enhances the lives of God’s people.
"You are the salt of the earth…" What an extraordinary gift Jesus presents to us, to be salt for him and for the sake of the world. As we reflect on what Jesus is saying, we need to ask ourselves, "How am I salt for the world?
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Sister Del Santo is director of vocations for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Rochester.