O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the Peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
"if you want to understand the Creator, seek to understand Created things."
- Columbanus, 6th Century Irish Missionary
It is wonderful to travel, but it is also wonderful to return home. Sometimes when we vacation, we find ourselves trying to pack in so much that we spend more time in transit between sites and locations that we don't have the time to just enjoy our destinations.
With dozens of visits to Ireland under my belt, I feel confident that I have seen all of the major sites. Now that Almi and my son, Seamus, is studying at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, our purpose for jetting to the Emerald Isle is no longer to engage the cultural and historical places; our last trip was simply to see him.
After arriving at the Dublin airport, we picked up our rental car. I confess that I enjoy driving on the opposite side of the road; I appreciate roundabouts;however, I don't always feel confident when the roads shrink to barely room for two vehicles! We drove in the dark hours before sunrise to Kilteely, a small village south of Limerick, where Seamus has been the lucky guest of the O'Connell family.
Their home is not too far from the main highways in and out of the city, but they are far enough to be in the rural part of the county. The view from their backyard was a beautiful vista of rolling green pastures, lush dark green hedgerows, and sunrises and sunsets that rival any.
I, of course, documented every moment with photos. Juliet, our gracious hostess, was surprised and said, "I think that when you see something every day, you forget just how beautiful it is." As Almi and I drove back from NYC across central Pennsylvania, we had the same impression: the vast valleys, the glorious clouds, the serene farmlands. We shared the same epiphany that Juliet had as she looked at her own home environs through different eyes.
This season of Epiphany asks us to look at the same stories and teachings on Christ's divinity, but maybe with new perspectives and viewpoints. We are returning to the Gospel of Matthew in this liturgical year, but let's not listen to and read him as something that we've read many times. Let's look at his landscapes and visions with a sense of renewal, as if we're hearing them for the first time. A blessing of using our common lectionary is the revisiting of passages with the expectation that they will inspire us with new challenges and insights.
Wishing you a blessed New Year and a surprising season of Epiphany.
Peace in Christ,