Even a hasty glance over the Sacred Scriptures for January clearly shows that God’s concerns are universal. On the feast of the Epiphany (January 6) Isaiah gives us the vision of a great procession of nations drawn toward Jerusalem and toward God. The author of Ephesians and the gospel of Matthew celebrate the fact that every human who ever lived, and who is yet to be born, is known and loved by God and saved through the sacrifice of Jesus.
On the feast of Jesus’ baptism (January 13) Isaiah speaks of the chosen servant who is the light for all nations. In the Acts of the Apostles, St. Peter states, “. . . in every nation whoever fears Him and acts uprightly is acceptable to Him.”
As Ordinary Time returns, the scriptures speak of the unity of the world’s diverse peoples. St. Paul tells us that all enjoy the same Spirit; all enjoy unique gifts and talents, but it is that same Spirit who brings all to life for the sake of the entire body of Christ.
When Jesus began His public ministry, He embodied the role of Servant and by the power of the Spirit. He preached the good news to the poor, freed the captives, healed the sick and freed the oppressed- regardless of sex, race, social status, or religious affiliation.
As we go through this liturgical year, Luke reminds us that God the Father’s embrace is universal; so is Jesus’ and so must ours be. Because we are God’s representatives- God’s images on earth- we are called to gather together without bias or prejudice. We must set aside racial slurs, stereotypes, and derogatory labels.
With this New Year let us be a church of hospitality and compassion, not one that creates exiles.
Peace and love,