“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38).
According to Saint Luke’s Gospel, just a few months after the angel Gabriel visited Zechariah and announced the conception of Saint John the Baptist, that same angel visited Mary in the little town of Nazareth. Needless to say, Mary was a little shocked when, all of a sudden, an angel appeared and told her that she was highly favored by God, and that she should not to be afraid. And, besides all that, the angel said that Mary was to conceive a child and should name him Jesus.
While a concept that does not stand up in a court of law—one cannot be charged with a crime simply by being associated with a criminal—we know that it is a very powerful force in the court of public opinion. When someone does something bad, the moral character of everyone around them is called into question.
“Beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts the most.”
This quote from the movie Hope Floats has always struck a chord with me. And lately I’ve been thinking about it a lot. In fact, a few weeks ago, after a particularly trying and chaotic morning, I posted on Facebook: “Before kids, mornings were so much easier. But they sure weren’t as adventurous or fun.”
The trail begins with an easy climb, along old logging roads, through a young mix of pine and oak, hickory and sweet gum. The last of the golden crowned kinglets call their see-see-see from the needled branches of the loblollies and the red buds blaze with their purple signs of spring. The season turns; tilting again toward the sun.
Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.”—Matthew 18:21–22
In January 1973, Mother Teresa was interviewed by Ralph Rolls on a BBC program entitled Belief and Life. Referring to the conflict in Northern Ireland, Rolls asked her to talk about what Christians needed to do to bring peace to the region. Her advice was readily reduced into one simple word: forgiveness.
A Word from Pope Francis
In our imagination, salvation must come from something great, from something majestic: only the powerful can save us, those who have strength, who have money, who have power, these people can save us. Instead, God’s plan is different. Thus, they feel disdain because they cannot understand that salvation comes only from little things, from the simplicity of the things of God. When Jesus proposes the way of salvation, he never speaks of great things, but only little things. The little thing is represented by bathing in the Jordan and by the little village of Nazareth. Disdain is a luxury that only the vain, the proud allow themselves.
Why do we make such a big deal out of the feast of someone we know so very little about? After all, except for the story of Joseph and Mary finding Jesus in the Temple at the age of 12, Saint Joseph isn’t even mentioned outside of Matthew and Luke’s infancy narratives—and even they are not considered historical by most Scripture scholars. So, what’s the big deal?
Simply put, Saint Joseph is important because of the role he played in the lives of Jesus and Mary—and ours. Like so many saints, we don’t need a lot of data to realize the significance of his life.
Chinese food is one of the many gifts from God on this earth. Cheap, easily accessible, usually sold in enormous quantities, and basically uniform in quality across the country, it’s the sort of food that I absolutely crave from time to time. Who doesn’t love a towering supply of fried meat and simple carbs? And yet, the very things that make Chinese food so desirable—price, quantity, convenience, greasiness/saltiness—are the very things that ultimately make it unsatisfying.