Solemnity of Mary, The Holy Mother of God
Reading I Numbers 6:22-27
Reading II Galatians 4:4-7
Gospel Luke 2:16-21
You and I live a very fast paced life. With technology we go second by second. But back some time ago, in what is now the state of Alaska, way back in the time the Eskimos settled there in a place with frigid temperatures. A man went to visit them. He asked this man, “How old are you?” And the Eskimo replied, “Almost.” The man said, “Almost what?” “Almost today,” the Eskimo answered. The man doing the questioning asked, “Almost today. What does that mean?” The Eskimo could only say, “Almost.”
The gentleman went back and did some research and found out that in Alaska at that particular time, it was so frigid and the conditions so serious that they didn’t know if they were going to be around tomorrow. So they lived one day at a time. When they went to bed at night, they died. If they woke up in the morning, it was a new day. And so the gentleman was saying, “Almost,” meant, “I’ve almost finished this day. I don’t know what will be tomorrow.”
You and I constantly go by age. Everybody knows when he or she can get a driver’s license. Everybody knows when he is old enough to buy a beer. Everyone know when they are old enough to vote. Everyone knows when they will receive Social Security. And you and I live like: “Oh, I may live to be 125 years old, maybe 150 years. I don’t know.”
But there is wisdom in the Eskimos. God is saying to us, “Try taking life one day at a time. Be grateful for what takes place in that day because if you are going to worry about next week, you are living in fear. I am the only one who knows what is going to happen next week. So do you believe in me? Do you trust me? Do you let my Spirit live in you, or do you squelch that Spirit?”
Something for us to think about is how Mary pondered everything. Everything that happened to Zachariah and Elizabeth and John the Baptist, Mary and Joseph and Jesus, it was all about that moment. Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Was it really December 25th? Who really cares? He was born. And he died. We know very little about his life from the moment of his birth until he hung on the cross. Those 30 some years are just a blur. Probably if I were to ask Jesus, “How old are you?” He would just say, “Almost.”
So for you, and for myself, we have to ask ourselves, “Am I living this moment? Am I really allowing God to come into my life during this New Year.” God says, “Don’t make any of those stupid resolutions. You’re not going to keep them anyway. Just remember ‘almost.’ ” If you can get through one day keeping your faith and loving each other, that’s monumental. So as we ask the twins being baptized: “How old are you?” If they could talk they would answer: “Almost. In our world it doesn’t mean anything. All we do is pee and poop and we don’t know anything else that’s going on. It’s just almost.”
So you and I have to ask, “Are we really living in the “almost?” Or are you worrying about next year? Next year may not come, it may be filled with sorrows, it may be the best year of your life, you don’t know. But if you live in the moment, God is so awesome and filled with so many surprises for you.
He says to us, “Just remember. It’s not how long you live on earth. It’s how long you live with me.” So whether an infant dies at birth, or whether someone lives to be 105, Jesus would ask, “How old are you?” And our response should be “almost.” That’s the beauty of life. We’re missing so much because we’re worried about next year. God says, “Live in the moment. If you’ve got five dollars, go ahead and spend it, you may not need it tomorrow.” So for us to take this Christmas season and remember Jesus being born on this day — he was born to bring us peace and the only way you can live in peace is to live without fear. And we bring fears into our own life. The Eskimo never had to worry. It was just one day at a time. But you and I worry about everything. Jesus says, “That fear is going to get you nowhere. It may give you a heart attack, it may give you ulcers, it may give you diabetes, and it may give you a cough. But it doesn’t mean anything to me. The only thing that means anything to me is ‘almost.’ ”
So we’re here today. Will we be here tomorrow? Jesus says, “What difference does it make? I already have a plan.” Aren’t you grateful that you do not know the day of your death? We would all be in the psychiatric unit trying to maneuver everything. And so that’s why spiritually there is a message here that is so powerful. As Mary pondered things, you and I need to ponder things.
So today and throughout these next 365 days, they are “almost.” Think about what you are going to do “almost” today, and then you will have the Spirit of God within you.
* * *
Monsignor Michael Kuse is pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Quincy, Illinois.
(TASCAM DR 40 file Disc C 0014)