A Living GospelJanuary 11th, 2013
Several years ago, when my eldest daugther was an infant, I purchased the revised edition of Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers for my family (which I now highly recommend for everyone). As I perused through the plethora of ritual blessings, thematic scripture readings, and prayers for every occasion, I noticed a ritual blessing for members of a household, traditionally set on the Epiphany. So, on the feast day, I gathered my wife and 11 week old baby girl around the Christmas tree to pray this blessing and begin a new family tradition.
As I began to read the scripture, I could not help but notice that my daughter appeared to be in rapt attention. Neither fussing nor sleeping (which at the time she did about 23 hours of a typical day), or even staring at the Christmas tree lights (which she always did when close to them), she sat on my wife’s lap and stared into my eyes the entire time, as if I were teaching her the most important thing she was ever going to learn in her life. But then I realized something as I watched her continue to stare as if absorbing every word: that is exactly what I was doing.
I have an awesome gift in my faith, and my responsibility to pass that along to my daughters is more important than teaching them to count, name colors, or even speak. And this responsibility to pass along the faith does not stop with family. It also extends to everyone we encounter in life. How often do we consider our interactions with others as primarily an opportunity to be the living gospel? How often do we see every situation we are in as an opportunity to show others what Jesus would do in this situation? I am reminded of the words of the gospel: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15); as well as those of Paul VI: “Thus every layman, in virtue of the very gifts bestowed upon him, is at the same time a witness and a living instrument of the mission of the Church itself” (Lumen Gentium, 32). While we all already know this, it never hurts to be reminded of how important it is, even if that reminder comes from the least among us.
Photo credit: Bob and his eldest daughter at her baptism. Used with permission.