5th Week in Ordinary Time, Saturday, Year I

Today’s First Reading reminds us how horrible it is to lose a home, and how much more horrible it is when it is our fault. The Lord sets an angel to guard against Adam and Eve eating of the tree of life after they’re expelled from Eden due to their sins. Their life has taken a turn for the worse, and there’s no going back without help. They’re cast out, but the Lord doesn’t cease to care for them completely; he makes real clothes for them, and the earth still provides for their needs. It’s just going to be much harder than before, much like the hardship of a family that takes an economic fall and can no longer enjoy the lifestyle it had.

If Adam and Eve ate of the other tree in that moment they would have lived forever, but in misery. They would remain estranged from the Lord and never be able to turn back, much like a person who dies in mortal sin, separated from God forever. This passage of Genesis is also called the “proto-Gospel” because even as the Lord is condemning the serpent for what he’d done, he also foretells that the offspring of the woman would crush him. That offspring would be Our Lord, who would make the life of mankind worth living again.

We live in a post-Fall world, but Our Lord has already come to make it something better. Let’s ask him to help us see how we can make it a preparation for our future Eden: Heaven.

Readings: Genesis 3:9–24; Psalm 90:2–4c, 5–6, 12–13; Mark 8:1–10. See also 1st Week of Advent, Wednesday and 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B.

Christmas Octave, 5th Day

Today’s Gospel reminds us that the Holy Spirit didn’t just come onto the scene at Pentecost. The Spirit has been intimately involved in the work of salvation from the beginning. Simeon, at the prompting of the Spirit, is about to meet someone for whom he’s been waiting his whole life. He didn’t know when, he didn’t know how, but when the moment came the Holy Spirit led him to the baby Jesus in the Temple and revealed Jesus to be the Christ. Simeon didn’t just rejoice for his own sake at finally meeting the Messiah, but for all of Israel that had been waiting for him.

Everyone talks about meeting that special someone, but actually, beyond a spouse, we all have a special someone we need to meet and love: Our Lord. We’ve already met him sacramentally through baptism and while we live a life of grace he is always with us. The Spirit also dwells within and will lead us by the hand if we allow it to experience Our Lord in our hearts and know him better in order to love him completely, just as he loves us. It’s an awareness of being loved that spurs us to love in return and rejoice at being loved.

Simeon had to wait his whole life, but we don’t. Ask the Spirit to help you experience Our Lord more deeply as that special someone who will change your life for the better.

Readings: 1 John 2:3–11; Psalm 96:1–3, 5b–6; Luke 2:22–35.