Deacon Steven Johnson’s Reflection 12-30-21

Deacon Steven Johnson’s Reflection
Reflection for the 6th Day Within The Octave of The Nativity of the Lord, Thursday, 12-30-21, Year C
Readings: 1 John 2:12-17, Psalm 96:7-8a, 8b-9, 10, Gospel Lk 2:36-40
Theme: Focus on the Lord

When we focus our energy, talent, and time on a particular task or activity, that task or activity gets done with efficiency. When we are distracted and scattered and lack focus, things do not get done or activities drag out, wasting time and energy. Think about a time when you had a plan to do something but never really focused your efforts to complete it. Without that focus you find yourself doing other things that satisfied your more immediate needs such as watching TV, sleeping in or going shopping instead of cleaning the garage, fixing the sink or planting that garden. We get distracted with more pleasurable things and the tougher chores get ignored.

For St. John it was a matter of focusing on the Lord and not the desires and pleasures or even the law that can distract us. St. John points out that Christ died for our sins and showed us a path to heaven as an existing fact and not some future hope. Christ had accomplished his task of our salvation with focus and commitment. St. John’s message to us is that we must focus on Christ and His message of charity to others and not our own earthly desires and selfish emotional needs of self-worth and pride.

The prophetess, Anna, in Luke’s Gospel is a prime example of one who is focused on God and is not distracted by an earthly life. God rewards her devotion by allowing her to see the Savior of the world with her own eyes, up close and personal. Her devotion and charity to others through her devout prayer life in the temple prepared her for meeting Christ.

We, too, must focus on what God wants for each one of us and complete that task or activity He is asking us to do. If we focus on Him and do not allow ourselves to be distracted by earthly pleasures and self-affirming actions that puff up our ego and pride, or satisfy a trifle pleasure, we come to understand Anna and St. John’s message of focus and completion.

Think of the things Christ is asking you to do and then realize those other things that distract you from completing them. Note those distractions and find ways to rid yourself of them so you can focus on what the Lord wants you to do. When you do, you will find contentment in a job well done and know that you have prepared yourself to see the Lord as your reward.

May you have a blessed and safe New Year’s Day this weekend, and may all the joys of your completed tasks in the Lord bring you joy and happiness!

Published by St. James, Belvidere

Saint James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL