We begin the First Sunday of Lent with the story of the creation and fall of man. We are told that man was created out of clay, and then God "blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being."
I am reminded of the story of the little boy who crawled out from under his parents' bed and asked his mother, "Mom, is it true that we were created out of dust and that we will return to dust?" and his mother said, "Yes, that is true." The boy replied, "Then under your bed there must be somebody either going or coming!"
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 readings for the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time are as amazing as they are incomprehensible. God is as infinite in power as He is in mercy and love.
The Book of Wisdom states: "Before the Lord the whole universe is as a grain from a balance or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth." On my family's farm, we had a balance scale to weigh items to be sold, and I can assure you that if a grain of wheat fell from the scale, we would never have noticed.
Since we are a people covenanted to the Lord, the readings for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time spell out the everlasting consequences of our everyday decisions, whether good or bad.
In the first reading, the Lord clearly speaks to His chosen people, "Woe to the complacent in Zion! Lying upon beds of ivory, stretched comfortably on their couches, they eat lambs taken from the flock, and calves from the stall!"
For the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, the second reading from Hebrews captures a vivid snapshot of the deepest longing of our hearts, a life of eternal glory with God, in the midst of all the angels and saints. The first and third reading reveal humility is a necessary virtue to get there.
The author of Hebrews describes the giving of the first covenant on Mount Sinai as a fearful and dreadful experience, with "blazing fire and gloomy darkness and storm," together with a trumpet blast and a voice so frightening that the people begged never to hear such words again.
God is the initiator of all salvation and He sends His invitation to everyone. What we do with that invitation affects God's glory. If we receive and live it, we bring God's glory to others; if we reject it, we diminish God's glory and rob Him of the opportunity to glorify us.