One of the well known terms that our holy father Pope Francis likes to use in his reflections is this idea of accompaniment. God calls us where we are at to share in his life.
We believe in a god who is a companion to us on the life journey and calls us to do likewise. As I recall from my studies of the old testament so many years ago now that I can hardly remember anything but one phrase that does come to mind is this idea of a “God who comes and pitches his tent among his people.”
Another Old Testament title that we have heard from the prophet Isaih in advent is that Our God is Immamuel: Translated into english this means that God is with us and for us. Such ideas remind us of the closeness of God to us- he is not remote like on some desert island or planet but is as close as a neighbor or friend.
In Advent we heard the words of the Angel Gabriel to Mary made into the well known prayer ‘Hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with you’ . It’s interesting that following this account in the Gospel of Luke we see that Mary doesn’t take time to bask in the glory of god’s call that is certainly hers, but immediately goes out to visit and I’m sure assist her cousin Elizabeth who is with child.
The message I take away from this is that those who are blessed and graced by God are called to service and love of others. Certainly Mary did this in an exemplary way in this scene but in so many others that the gospels record for us.
At Christmas we recall the visit of the shepherds to the manger in bethlehem heeding the message of the angel “I bring you tidings of great joy for today is born a savior Christ the lord.” And after this graced encounter with the holy family the scriptures tell us that they glorified God for what they heard and seen and go out to share this experience of faith with others.
In a way these shepherds are the 1st missionaries and teachers of the faith. The shepherds don’t waste anytime getting the word out that christ-the messiah has come.
In the well known gospel for the feast of the Epiphany we read about the three kings/or magi and their search for the christ and the dangers they face along the way in the person of herod. We are reminded that we are called to be sensitive to those seeking a deeper faith life and those facing hardships in whatever form they may be in today’s world.
As we begin the new year we give thanks to our God for being companion, guide and savior and for sending us so many who have been there for us along the way . A blessed new year to you all!.