The Christmas lights in the neighborhood are thinning out – the world is closing out the Christmas season. Catholics, too, are winding down the Christmas season with the Feast of the Baptism of Lord coming up. It is always a bittersweet time for me as I take the ornaments off the tree. My mother used to buy my brother and me an ornament each year for 20 years. She has been gone now for 20 years and my father for 7 years and I remember them as I am putting the ornaments back in the box. The beauty and the promise of the Christmas Tree when it was put up is now turned to, as I said, reminiscence, fond memories and this is good.
We Catholics should be looking to the past as well – we need to look back to move forward. We are who we are because of those who came before us. The ‘ornaments’ of our Catholic patrimony is very important; it is how we pass the faith. We learn from the past; we ask for prayers from those who preceded us. We run the risk of trivializing faith if we view the past as a quaint story to look at. Faith such as that can become nothing more than feelings of the moment and the Truth isn’t absolute but takes on relative quality. Our faith, based on the Revelation of God, is a multi-millennial story of which every part is integral: ‘as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.’