By Judy Coode
“Rise up in splendor! Your light has come,
the glory of God shines upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples;
But upon you God shines, and over you appears God’s glory. . . .
Raise your eyes and look about;
they all gather and come to you:
Your sons come from afar,
and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.
Then you shall be radiant at what you see,
your heart shall throb and overflow.”
(Isaiah 60:1-2, 4-5)
Earlier this week, on January 2, the Maryknoll Sisters celebrated their feast day, their 101st year. They are women who, like the Magi from the East, follow Christ’s light and exult in its glow. In impoverished communities around the planet, they have taught and sutured and given refuge and shared resources and wandered through jungles with children in their arms as helicopters circle overhead. They have built schools and administered health clinics and organized delegations with determination, grace, and humility. As a Christian community, we give thanks for their witness and their immeasurable contributions to us all.
Maryknoll sisters and other missioners who cross borders often have the experience of Christ revealing himself anew, in unexpected places, through surprising messengers. You may have heard or read the story of the little boy who goes out in search of God, packing snacks and drinks for his journey. He went a few blocks and then sat down a park bench next to an old woman. She smiled at him kindly, so he shared his food and drink with her, and they sat in contented silence all afternoon. When he got up to go home, the boy gave the old woman a big hug and a warm smile. At his house. his mother noticed his glow and asked if he found God. “Oh yes,” he said, “and she has a beautiful smile.” In the meantime, the old woman went home, too. Her son noticed her happy mood and asked her what had happened that day. She replied, “I met God today, but he’s much younger than I expected.”
Reflection: God will be revealed to you repeatedly in 2013. Will you be ready? Will you stay awake? How will you bring God to others in the new year?
Prayer: Close your eyes and breathe in, experience, welcome, enter, and celebrate the presence of God.
This reflection is from The Presence of God: Reflections for Advent 2010. Judy Coode is a former chair of the Pax Christi USA National Council and the author of A Maryknoll Liturgical Year available from Orbis Books.