Today’s Gospel: Luke 2, 16-21
In 2013, we heard Pope Francis suggest to the priests of our world that they should be like “shepherds living with the smell of the sheep.” Today, as we begin a new calendar year with a reading from Luke’s gospel, I am contemplating my own role as shepherd. I love to imagine when I read this portion of the infancy narratives what it might have been like to be one of them, that ragtag group that received the angelic message of Christ’s birth.
I would have run, sheep in tow, to the side of the manger.
I would have wiped away happy tears, feeling blessed to see with my own eyes what had so long been foretold and prophesied.
And I would have reluctantly pulled myself from that spot near my Messiah and his parents, imagining with great excitement how to tell everyone I knew about what I’d seen and heard and felt.
In truth, you and I can relate not only to the shepherds in Luke’s recounting of this moment, but also to our Blessed Mother, who received their visit and “pondered” what all that was happening to her might mean. Today, as we celebrate Mary, we are called to follow her example too! We give God our “Yes” as she did, but we also often keep things “in our heart” as family members, quietly praying for those around us.
Today, as I begin to imagine all that is to come in 2017, I will pray to be part shepherd, part Mary. I’ll pray for the excitement and energy and courage to tell everyone I know about the Christ child and how much he loves us. But I’ll also huddle close to the manger as Mary did, quietly adoring his precious face and praying for what I know is to come. I’ll ask for the grace to give my own “fiat” to the challenges, trials and moments of persecution which will surely be a part of striving to love this Messiah.
I’ll pray to learn to live with the smell of the sheep and to lead my little flock ever closer to the God of infinite love.
As I begin a new year, how is God calling me today to live out my Baptismal call to be priest, prophet and king? How can I follow Mary’s lead in making time each day to ponder the movement of God’s love in my life?
Blessed Mother, as we celebrate your life today, help me to grow ever more deeply in love with your son Jesus, to follow his teachings and to share his mercy with those I encounter each day.
Copyright 2017 Lisa M. Hendey