The readings for the third Sunday in Ordinary Time reveal an amazing thing: God wants mankind to share the goodness of the Holy Trinity. The God who said, "Let us make man in our own image" is taking the first steps in offering the holiness for which He placed in mankind such a profound hunger.
The first reading dramatically expresses this. God asks Jonah to go to Israel's most hated and cruel enemy, Nineveh, to offer His mercy and His love. This offer shocked the Israelites.
The readings for the second Sunday in Ordinary Time make it clear that when God calls an individual, He calls that individual for others -- to be relational and to pass along the Good News that he or she has received.
In the first reading, God calls Samuel, and Samuel immediately informs Eli, his superior. Samuel wants to know who's calling and why. It takes Eli three tries to give the proper advice. When Samuel goes to Eli for the third time, Eli finally tells Samuel to respond, "Speak Lord, for your servant is listening."
With the Baptism of Jesus, the process of our salvation takes a gigantic step forward for two reasons. First, when sinners line up to be baptized by John the Baptist, Jesus gets in line to be baptized, fully identifying Himself with the plight of sinful mankind.
What humility and what love it took for the holy and innocent Jesus to do so. What shame He must have endured, and He did it out of love for the sinners for whom He was to give up His life.
The readings for the Feast of the Holy Family make clear that the values that nurture and foster warm family relationships come from God through prayer.
The Fatherhood of God firmly is established in the opening reading: "God sets a father in honor over his children; a mother's authority He confirms over her sons." God Himself models the parental authority He has established in family living.
The readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent invite us to look forward to the birth of Christ through God's love of us through Mary, the mother of Jesus. The angel's greeting reveals to Mary how much God delights in her. She is the masterpiece of His creation chosen to be the mother of Jesus.
We too delight in His coming, because through Mary, we are given Jesus. With Mary, we look forward to celebrating His birth in a stable in Bethlehem.