In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. —Luke 2:1–5In today's reflection, Fr. Stavros talks about the genealogy of Jesus Christ. You remember that Gospel from each year right? "Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon." and so on, and so forth...
Each year as I read this Gospel, I do everything within my power not to stumble over the names. It is perhaps one of the hardest Gospel readings to get through cleanly, But as Fr. Stavros points out, clean and unclean, good and bad, virtuous and vile...these are the people that make us Jesus' lineage run the gamut. So why is this important?
There are a few reasons, and I hope you have read them in today's reflection, but the one I want to emphasize today is this: We all come from somewhere, but what is most important is where we are now, and where we are going. Think about that for a moment. Where are you today? Not in you social life, or your personal life...but where are you in your spiritual life? Are you in the same place as last month, last year....10 years ago???
The Nativity Fast, like all fasting seasons of the Church, give us the opportunity (remember we talked about that word in today's sermon) to continue to grow, to continue to MOVE FORWARD in our spiritual lives. As Fr. Stavros says: Christianity is about where we are going.
Tomorrow is a new day. One of the most beautiful things about our spiritual lives is that each day that we awake, God gives us the gift of a new day, a new opportunity, to MOVE FORWARD. We are gifted with the opportunity to grow closer to God. We are granted the possibility of coming closer to salvation.
Already, we can see the star in the East, as the wise men did. As we begin this first full week of the Nativity Fast, look for that star. Follow it towards the manger in Bethlehem. It is there that the beginning of salvation awaits.
Have you prayed the prayer challenge yet? If not, this week is the perfect time!