The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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December 22, 2000 Issue

Going home answers summons

The first Christmas was the Holy Family's trip home to Bethlehem

Last in an Advent/Christmas series, based on the Gospel for the Christmas Midnight Mass, Lk 2:1-14.

By Chris Broslavick

Summoned to Serve

"...I think you should come home."

"...your mother is in the hospital."

"...we just thought you should know."

More often than I wish to recall I have heard these or similar words from a kind relative telling me about a concern that needed my attention. Each time I was called to attend to my mother, who now lives alone in her home.

Each time I would go home. It was inconvenient, not pleasant, not what I really wanted to do. But, she is my mother and her home continues to be home for me as well. I was called; I went.

Usually I was helpless to do much when she was in the hospital. Her illness would take me by surprise, especially when I had not visited for a period of time. Admittedly, I did not visit too often because I didn't particularly enjoy being home.

But without much conscious resolve, I visited more frequently and became more attentive to my mother's well- being. Perhaps I thought I could forestall that urgent summons to "come home." But then a strange thing began to happen. I grew to enjoy my mother's company, her spark, her "projects," and her consuming joy in finding a good bargain!

Now I look at this experience as a re-birth, a re-birth in my relationship with my mother. Oh, it is far from perfect. She wants now, I want later. She prefers different, I prefer same. She likes this color, I like that color. But it is fun; she can be fun! For me, this is a treasured gift - a new birth!

I believe that my experience is in a way like that of Joseph and Mary (Lk 2:1-14). They responded to the decree "that all the world should be registered. Joseph went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary."

They went home to Bethlehem. It was inconvenient, not a pleasant duty, not what they really wanted to do. Nonetheless, they responded to their civil obligation - and then something wonderful happened. "While they were there, the time came for Mary to deliver her child. And she gave birth." It all happened in their home town.

Re-birth, new birth can emerge from our response to a summons home, whether called to serve our family, or summoned by the needs of our civic community. A response to a summons to serve may really be an inward journey, a journey "home" to an awakening, a new birth, if you will.

To me, Summoned to Serve is about going home, going inside to allow my response to the summons transform me. And as that happens, perhaps I, as the angel herald, can bring to all "good news of great joy" and "be a sign" of peace on earth.

I will be home for Christmas ... reveling in a new birth.

Merry Christmas!

(Broslavick is an education programs consultant for the diocesan Department of Total Catholic Education. She is a member of the coordinating committee for the diocesan theme, Summoned to Serve.)

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