Peoria, Tazewell, And Woodford: Here, There & Everywhere

Solemnity of Mary, The Holy Mother of God by Ted Wolgamot, Psy.D


“The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem, and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in a manger.”


May the Force be with you!

The latest episode of the Star Wars epic entitled “The Force Awakens” tells the story of how a ruthless prince rises to power and threatens galactic peace. A hero’s journey then begins in which a runaway soldier, an uncongenial scavenger, and a hotshot pilot find their fates intertwined as they embark on a journey to find the most powerful warrior in the galaxy to defeat the ruthless prince.

This recently released movie is hugely popular, and the fastest ever to reach 1 billion dollars in revenue.

Why so popular?

Probably because it tells an inspiring story using ultra-modern show-biz technology that leaves viewers with a sense of idealism and optimism.

Essentially, however, it is the same tale that today’s gospel tells us: a story of hope and amazement, a story of the triumph of good, a story that lifts us up and renews our dreams.

It is a story summarized in the movie’s title: a force that awakens!

There is a difference, of course, in these two stories. An enormous difference.

In the first Star Wars movie, the oft-repeated opening words are these: “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away ….”

The beginning to today’s gospel reading from Luke is more modest: “The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in a manger.”

Yet in that manger lies the biggest difference of all: The Force named in the gospel has a Face!

And that Face is Jesus – the Face of a child radiant with the bright future that God has in store for all people; the Face that promises forgiveness, healing, liberation, and restoration; the Face that can remake the world.

Mary is the person who best represents each of us. She models the response to that loving Face that will bring us peace and hope. She shows us how to make that Face our own by replicating in our lives the words she spoke so powerfully in her great prayer, the Magnificat: by being a “light to those who sit in darkness,” by being people who “guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Mary brought us the Face of God. She invites us now to enter into the stable just as the shepherds did and to kneel before the Child who will show us the way to the “victory of justice,” to being a “light to the nations,” to, in the words of the prophet Isaiah, “open the eyes of the blind, bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.”

We have to remember, however, that a stable and a manger and shepherds and animals are not the place for those who seek power and great wealth and high status. Instead Mary invites us to let go of all that we’re holding on to so dearly, to become one with the surroundings, to rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way of holding the Child in our arms and in our hearts.

We are invited to come to the stable the same way Mary did: full of grace … and “awakened” by a Force that will re-commit each of us to a life of divine expressions of compassion, love, and wisdom.


A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away …

That story is so bewitching. But it’s a fantasy world, purely a fantasy.

Our world – the one that Mary invites us into – is the one that begins with words so much more modest, but ever so much more hopeful:

“The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem, and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in a manger.”

May that Force be with you – the Force with a Face, the Face of God!


Ted Wolgamot, Psy.D.






NOTE: Happy New Year to all! May it be filled with every blessing!


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This entry was posted on January 2, 2016 by in Uncategorized.
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