In seeking the greatest gift, what we are looking for isn't a rich man to bail us out of poverty, but rather the One who lived in poverty, died as a criminal and now invites us into His poverty. The greatest gift that we receive from God is the very hunger to seek Him.
This seeking is much like our body looking for the next breath. The air we inhale isn't ours, and we can't hold on to it, but we have to exhale it so as to seek more of what we can't possess. Yet this constant seeking gives us life and energy.
Perhaps the responsorial psalm for the third Sunday in Ordinary Time summarizes God's movement in the day's readings. God answers mankind's hunger for the infinite and He is man's light, salvation and refuge.
He alone speaks to the deepest hunger for the infinite placed in the heart of man. "One thing I ask of the Lord; this I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, that I may gaze on the loveliness of the Lord and contemplate His temple," the psalmist wrote. "Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord."
The readings for the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time demonstrate for us that God's call of mankind is truly transformative. The first reading begins: "The Lord said to me: you are my servant, Israel, through whom I show my glory."
Scripture scholars aren't certain of the identity of the servant. It may be Isaiah, or it may be Israel. We know that God has called Isaiah to be His servant, as He also called Israel to be His servant. However, isn't it true that He has called us also to be His servants?
The Gospel reading for Sunday, Jan. 1, helps us understand why the calendar year begins with the celebration of the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God.
It all began with the shepherds tending their flocks when an angel appeared to them and told them to go to a stable in Bethlehem, where they would find a savior who is "Messiah and Lord." "You will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger."
The feast of the Birth of Jesus is perhaps the most attractive feast of the liturgical year. Children, adults and elders gaze into the manger at the "infant wrapped in swaddling clothes" and are speechless in awe and admiration.
How could an infinitely great God show more affection for fallen mankind than by becoming a helpless baby, born in a stable and placed in a manger? Normally, babies were born in the family home, surrounded by extended family, to provide support for the mother and father.