Fire and water – which along with earth and air are the four classical elements – have always been both gifts and challenges for humanity. Water is the source of life, critical to hydration and growth, cleansing for bodies, clothes and land, and beautiful to view in lakes and seas.
HOMILIES AND STATEMENTS
Identity. Adolescents have been searching for it since the 1960s and still take decades to find it. After that it’s nearly time for a mid-life identity crisis. The search goes on – until you don’t care who you are anymore…
Some of our I.D. comes from family, nation and culture. But modernity prefers self-generated identities.Much of it is said to be about what we identify with: ethnicity, sexuality, profession, politics, loyalty groups.
When Joseph hears that his young fiancée Mary is pregnant, he’s agog and aggrieved(Mt 1:18-24). Perhaps he thinks she’s been unfaithful, or been violated, or is delusional. There’s probably been gossip about Mary and even about Joseph.
Christmas tells us we are valued, we are wanted, we are loved. Each one of us is precious, irreplaceable, made for greatness. It might sound overblown, even vain. But that’s what Christmas says. You matter so much, that God would become one of us – for your sake!
Why on earth is John the Baptist sending emissaries to inquire if Jesus is the Messiah (Mt 11:2-11)? After all, he has already identified Jesus as ‘the Christ’, ‘the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world’, and ‘the Son of God’ (Mt 3:11-17; Lk 3:15-22; Jn 1:19-36).
How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.- Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, Act V, Scene I. So says Portia, the beautiful heiress of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. She speaks a great truth: good deeds – and the intentions and agents behind them – don’t just get done and then fade away.
Not a bad second best. Mattia Preti had studied the techniques of the Order of Malta’s most famous – or infamous – painter, Caravaggio, and made his own major contributions to the exuberant baroquing of Italy’s churches and civic buildings. But now he followed his Master into the Order, being admitted as a Knight of Grace, and was thereafter known as Il Cavalier Calabrese, the Calabrian Knight.
In the aftermath of the Second World War, hostility, not surprisingly, abounded. In an effort to rekindle old friendships and build new ones, French President Charles de Gaulle conceived of a series of televised games, originally played between French and German youths but quickly enlarged to twenty European nations over the following two decades.
The great Roman Stoic philosopher, Lucius Annaeus Seneca, once famously said that all time could be divided into three parts: ‘what was, what is, and what will be’.[i] The future, he pointed out, is uncertain. The present is fleeting.