This week the sacred stories converge to tell a story of a holy family that extends beyond a nuclear family or even a single lineage. It begins with the family we might today call Iraqi who will become the ancestral parents of the people who will come to be called Israel, a reminder that we are one human family. The psalm calls us to preserve our ancestral heritages across generations by by telling and teaching our stories of and with God. As the generations unfold and we wait for the culmination of the great story, Romans calls us to persevere and hope for that which we do not yet see. The gospel marks the climax of the story beyond compare. The sacred story is bigger than any one individual or people. The ark of salvation bears us all. In the present it can be difficult to reconcile our shared identity as the family of God with the very serious issues that divide and fracture us. At the same time, our shared identity does not require erasure of the identities we already have in our families and lineages. The Church has always struggled to accept these realities, preferring instead to sanctify some identities, genders, ethnicities, nationalities and, ways of practicing and believing above others. This new year on the calendar of the Church offers a new beginning, another chance to live into the richness of the tapestry that is the heritage of God as the story unfolds.
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