Look for the Face of Jesus

By Deacon Greg Evers, C.PP.S.

“Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.” What does it mean to be holy like God? There are certainly a number of ways in which one can live out this call. On a fundamental level, this is what we are called to do as baptized Christian people. We look to the life and mission of Jesus for direction and inspiration on how we might respond to this call to holiness.

When I hear these readings for this Sunday, my mind goes people who suffer the effects of trauma in their lives. As I write this reflection, Turkey and Syria just experienced a terrible earthquake in which at more than 35,000 people are believed to have died. Sadly, that number is likely to climb higher as the days go by and rescue teams find more people buried in the rubble.

While trauma caused by natural disasters are largely out of our control, there are other sources of trauma that are caused by human hands. The scourge of gun violence continues to plague our society at an alarming rate. We know these effects don’t stay contained in just the local community, nor even with the particular generation that experiences such events. Trauma gets passed on from one generation to the next. This in turn can spark cycles of violence as people seek out retribution and vengeance for what was taken. Like trauma, these cycles of violence are not self-contained but have far-reaching consequences that we have not fully grasped yet.

What does holiness look like amid a world that is seemingly spiraling out of control and falling apart at the seams? Perhaps holiness looks like a mother comforting another mother who has lost a loved one to gun violence or incarceration. Perhaps holiness looks like a community gathering to mourn the loss of life and a way of living suddenly taken by natural disasters. Perhaps holiness looks like protesting in the streets.

Our Scriptures tell us that Jesus worked wonders amid those who suffered terrible misfortune. Whose lot in life was desolate with less than a glimmer of hope. In the face of such tragedies, it can be hard to find the face of Jesus. Let us look for those who are working to help and to heal. It is there that we will find the face of Jesus. As people baptized in Christ, may we imitate his example and strive towards peace, healing and reconciliation.



Deacon Greg Evers, C.PP.S., is in ministry at St. James the Less Church in Columbus, Ohio.

We Do Not have to Go It Alone

A New Year’s message from our provincial director, Fr. Jeffrey Kirch, C.PP.S.

I am not one of them, but I have heard about people making New Year’s resolutions.

Usually, these are cast in the first person: I will quit smoking. I will learn a new skill.

I am here with good news: if you hope to grow in wisdom, knowledge, or fortitude in the coming year, you do not have to go it alone.

These gifts come to us through and from the Holy Spirit. Life, we hope, is a long journey of enlightenment. We want to think that we are far wiser than we were 10 or 20 or more years ago.

Was that our own doing? Some of it was, perhaps. But the farthest leaps in understanding always come to us when we plug into the power of the One who created the universe.

So if we want to use this year as a time when we see more clearly and understand more deeply, all we have to do is ask for inspiration and guidance from the Holy Spirit. And then follow the light that the Spirit always provides.

Fr. Joe Nassal: Radiant Dawn, Epiphany

This week the “bomb cyclone” has covered the Bay Area with thick clouds, strong winds, and relentless rains. In the first reading for the feast of Epiphany, the prophet Isaiah describes a similar scene: “Darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples.” But then the prophet proclaims not just a break in those clouds but how the people will receive a great light that will bathe them in hope and peace and forgiveness. The Epiphany story proclaims that this radiant dawn of God’s love is not just for a chosen few but for all. The journey of the Magi is our journey. Epiphany encourages us to pause and consider what is the guiding light of our lives. God continues to shine, though the thick clouds may block the Divine Presence from our sight at times. The Magi show us how to trust not only in the light that guides our journey but also in the power of our dreams.

The Miracle Presented Anew

By Fr. Jeff Kirch, C.PP.S., Provincial Director

Francia, Francesco; The Nativity of Christ; Glasgow Museums; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/the-nativity-of-christ-83994

On behalf of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, serving the people of God around the world, I would like to wish you and your family a very merry and blessed Christmas.

“All around the world” has been on my mind. Earlier this month, I was in Rome to attend a meeting about religious life. I am still thinking about all those good men and women who minister to the people of God in so many ways.

Today they are celebrating Christmas in many ways, each according to their culture and customs. But each in awe of the newborn who changed the world for all of us. 

The central truth of Christ remains the same across time and cultures. But the way that we embrace the Truth is very personal. The universal and the intimate—it is a paradox that God cares about the whole world and each one of us. God is the creator of the universe and is embodied in a child too young to walk.

Let us all join in this worldwide celebration today with a continual sense of wonder that this miracle is presented to us anew. That we see it through our own eyes, yet share the Good News with all the Earth.

Fr. Joe Nassal: When Joseph Awoke-Advent 4a

Advent has always been one of my favorite seasons because it speaks of hope, expectation, and anticipation as we approach Christmas. But since 2010, when my sister Mary died on the First Sunday of Advent, I also associate this season of hope with grief. This is probably how Joseph, engaged to Mary, must have felt after finding out Mary was pregnant, and he knew he wasn’t the father. But when Joseph awoke from his dream, he did as the angel told him and took Mary into his home. An important question to ask ourselves this last week before Christmas is in the rush and crush of the season, are we awake or asleep? The great challenge as Advent people is how, even in our grief, we are called to stay awake and take “God with us” into our homes, our hearts, our communities, and our world.