From the Pastor's Desk

Jesus said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.” (MT 11:4-6)

     Some Christian Communities have named the woman at the well, “St. Photine” and others call her, “St. Svetlana.” Both names mean, “Bearer of Light.” Another story claims that she was martyred under the Emperor Nero. She supposedly spat in his face when he subjected her to torture and demanded that she sacrifice to idols. While there is no historical evidence to validate any of these stories, they do highlight the fact that she was one of Christ’s first evangelists.
     Although the Gospel text does not say this, scholars believe that she spent much of her life enslaved as a concubine. The strictness of the ancients codes of marriage make it unlikely that she was married five times. A concubine was freed from her slavery when her master stopped providing food, clothing and marital rights. Much of what is said of the Samaritan woman fits this image. At this point in her life, it seems that she has won her freedom.

     The glorious image of the Transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor always reminds me of the Epiphany. The Magi navigate their way through the darkness of the world and some very dangerous people and find themselves in the presence of Jesus. After sometime in His Light, they return home and live in a new way.
     The Transfiguration of Jesus shows us that God can be as close to us as our own skin. On Mount Tabor, what is revealed to us is Who Jesus is on the inside. On the outside, He may resemble a man, but on the inside, He is the glorious Son of God.
All of the facts about Jesus life reveal to us how much our God loves us. At His birth, his name told us that “God is with us” and His role would be to “save us from our sins.”

      This week, the winter period of Ordinary Time ends. The Scripture Lessons we have heard since Christmas have been inviting us to recognize how intimately our lives are connected with Christ. We have been reminded, that the Kingdom of God is near. Jesus calls us into the extra-ordinary relationship that he shared with the twelve Apostles. Jesus taught that we are “blessed” because God loves us. For that reason, we can endure being “poor in spirit” and other experiences because we have inherited the Kingdom of God. We are blessed indeed! Just like salt and light, Christians bring out the true flavor of life. Since we are blessed, we have the opportunity to respond differently to the challenges of life. Ultimately, these lessons teach us that we live our lives “in Christ Jesus.” That also means that we are co-laborers in His work of salvation.

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