"The LORD bless you and keep you! The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!" Nm 6:26
Kindness is a wonderful virtue, especially when we are the recipient of it! Often, when I have traveled long distances, especially to developing nations, I have been met with enormous kindness. Knowing I was tired and a little anxious, friends and friars offered me a cool drink, a room to rest in and an assurance that I would not be alone as I explored a new culture, language and environment.
Today, as we begin a new year, the scriptures are both kind and challenging. While they offer us a wonderful blessing from the book of Numbers, and invite us to call God, Abba, Dad, Poppa, they also remind us that it was to shepherds that the birth of Jesus was announced, something that would have unnerved and shocked people in the ancient world. Shepherds were from the underclass of the society and were often looked at as unclean since they regularly had to graze their flocks on the lands of others. That God would choose to announce the birth of his Son to them would have startled their contemporaries, and caused some to reject or ridicule their message simply because of who they were.
It is no different today. Though we try to listen to and accept the opinion of all our neighbors, it is tempting to listen more closely to the educated and wealthy, not because they have more insight, but because we assume they know more. Today's scriptures, however, remind us that God is not subject to our narrow ethnic, cultural, religious or social lenses. This is a gift we ought to treasure and imitate.
This year, submit yourself and all your resolutions to God and give God permission to show you the path to light and life