January 2016

As we move into another calendar year, we may find ourselves with many different expectations, desires, apprehensions, resolutions…most of which may spring from what our experiences of last year have been. Basically we are being invited to be open to whatever may come our way, including the unforeseen, the unexpected... what really matters is the way we respond to these "now” moments of each day. Setting aside some times for reflection on some words from the Scriptures each day can open "new doors” for us over time. Gradually we may find ourselves moving from set patterns to a greater awareness of living the gospel message in our daily lives – a Word which is alive and active in our lives when we are open to receive it – Hebrews 4:12. The question we may wish to ask ourselves during these times is if and how we are keeping ourselves open to being challenged by the Word of God; whether the Gospel is truly the "manual” for our daily living and the decisions we may feel called to make. In the text from Isaiah we hear the words "arise and shine…” which invite us to stand up courageously, believing that it is the light of God which guides us on our way – inviting us to move from individualism and set patterns in order to reach out to others in gentle and empowering ways. This calls for a gospel-based spirituality nourished by daily reading, reflection and prayer. It also calls us away from a desire to control to an empowering model of shared responsibilities. Let us take up the invitation issued by Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium: "I invite all Christians everywhere at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to his encounter: I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since ‘no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord’. The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms”.

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