January 4, 2019
(St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious)
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. He first found his own brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah,” which is translated Christ. Then he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas,” which is translated Peter. Jn_1:35-42
There’s something about names and especially nicknames that creates a feeling of belonging and a feeling of appreciation. And it’s not only people, we give names to our cars and our dogs and even those things and people we are not really fond of.
We see this character of naming all the way back to Adam, where God gave Adam the privilege of naming the animals. We also see it in God’s nicknaming of Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah, Jacob to Israel, and even in His naming of the prophet Hosea’s children as lo-ruhama, meaning “Not Pitied” and lo-ammi – “Not My People.”
So it’s no surprise that today we hear Jesus giving Simon the nickname Peter. And there must have been something immediately evident about Simon that made Jesus want to call him “the Rock.” Something solid, something enduring.
And so it is, that in this first week of the New Year, we see newness. New Names, a new Teacher, new Disciples and a feeling of belonging, because just as Simon now belonged to Jesus as Peter the Rock, so we belong to 2019 as its means of being a good year or not – for the Lord and for us.
Today we commemorate the life of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. It was a life that began in the comfort of affluence, progressed through struggle, and we might say, climaxed in the tragic death of her husband through tuberculosis.
And yet it was in that climax that Elizabeth was converted from a strong Episcopalian background to becoming a Catholic. And in her new Catholic life of service, Elizabeth dauntlessly shared her faith by establishing teaching facilities for the poor and young girls in the first U.S. religious order, the Sisters of Charity. In essence, through her short life of 46-years, Elizabeth began, what has become, the Catholic School System in the U.S.
You see, beloved, regardless of what our lives may have been for 46, or 65, or 96 years – 2019 is new. Today let us claim it as ours. And together we can, with the help of Jesus, through death or life, through high water or sunshine, together, we can make 2019 be something absolutely wonderful, because every day and every breath we take is NEW in our love for God.
_________________end of post