For the Feast of Epiphany, we created a centerpiece based on the theme: “Following the Star.” I purchased enough strings of glittering stars for each of the thirty tables. At the end of the evening, I glimpsed over and caught sight of a woman looking over her shoulder and then slipping several strings of stars into her purse. It stunned me. Mind you, it was a small matter: there were plenty of strings; they weren’t expensive; I wasn’t planning on using them soon. If she had only asked, I would have given her any or all to borrow or keep. But from that moment, I never viewed her in the same way—I never saw her as trustworthy.
After running to greet me, three-year-old Johnny heads straight to Mimi’s basket of blocks. Dumping wooden squares and rectangles on the floor, he builds a structure without calculating the number of blocks needed to complete his vision. Three-year-old children are incapable of such calculating, planning, and implementing a project. Yet this Sunday’s Gospel warns the crowds to calculate the cost before following Him. “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion?”
Our budding philosopher, still just a teenager, claimed with great authority, “Kids crave discipline.” I laughed so hard milk sprayed from my mouth. He, of all our children, seemed the least disciplined: the dog occasionally ate his homework; he was often late for school; I was forever hounding him to complete chores. On second thought, perhaps he knew from experience exactly what he meant—kids crave—need, long for, discipline. In this Sunday’s second reading from the Epistle to the Hebrews, we read of God’s use of discipline, “Endure your trials as ‘discipline’; God treats you as sons. For what ‘son' is there whom his father does not discipline?” No one likes to endure trials nor seeks discipline, so what is the writer talking about?
After our granddaughter’s baptism, one person commented on the beauty of the service. I agreed wholeheartedly, “The baptism was wonderful!” He walked on. In my heart, I exclaimed: “Actually, it was more than a beautiful service. Baptism is everything! It’s the dying and rising in Christ. It's being born of the Spirit! It's becoming an adopted child of God! It’s salvation! What could be more important? Isn’t this the entire point of life—to share in God’s life here and in heaven? This is our faith!” At baptism, each parent has been entrusted to pass on the light of our faith in Jesus Christ.
“Don’t pull all the toys out. Johnny, please keep the toys in the basket.” Three-year-old Johnny looked me straight in the eye with his baby blues. With a mischievous smile, he dropped one toy after another out of the basket. He knew exactly what he was doing. Little Lila smiled from ear to ear, tilting her head in a most affectionate way, all the while pinching her baby sister. Lila knew in her heart she was not being kind.
The blog on this page presents reflections on the Sunday readings through the lens of a parent/grandparent, aiding leaders of the domestic church in their vital task as “first heralds” or “first preachers” of the Good News in the home.