Letters from a Pastor to His People- January 6, 2019
Today is the Feast of the Epiphany. We celebrate the manifestation of Jesus as a divine person, the second Person of the Holy Trinity. There are three scenes from the life of Christ that are traditionally used for the Epiphany: the adoration of the three Magi, Jesus' baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist, and the Wedding Feast of Cana. This week we read about the Magi. Next Sunday we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord and will read about that event. In two weeks, on January 20th (the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time) we will read about the Wedding Feast at Cana.
Every moment in Christ's life was significant. There is not just a lesson to be had, but also some change in the natural order. If Christ did something, then that 'thing' is holy. For example, the fact that Jesus labored as a carpenter sanctifies work. When we work honestly to make a living, we are doing something holy, for Jesus did it.
Let's take that lesson and apply it to the three manifestations. We'll go in reverse order, starting with the Wedding Feast of Cana.
Celebrating marriages and, in general, socializing with family and friends can be a holy endeavor. Remember, if Christ and the Blessed Mother did it, it can't be unholy. Also, mothers directing their sons to do something good and sons being obedient to that direction is likewise a blessed activity. Mary was the one who instructed Jesus to perform this miracle. So, when a parent tells their child to write a thank-you note or to do some chore around the house, that is spiritual!
In the Baptism in the Jordan, our Lord sanctified the waters of baptism. Jesus did not need to be baptized. He had no sin! But he allowed himself to undergo baptism so that water could be made holy. Now, whenever we are baptized with water, we are made blessed.
And, finally, the adoration of the Magi. What exactly is sanctified in this sublime moment? Well, a few things, in my opinion. First is gift-giving. The three Magi give gifts to the Holy Family: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. There is something very profound in this. When we give a true gift, we do not expect anything in return. We give the gift merely to celebrate and honor the recipient. We are grateful this person exists and we merely want to celebrate that existence by giving something away to lift up the person. Remember this the next time you give or receive a gift.
Second is the adoration of Christ. When we adore someone, similar to genuine gift-giving, we are not focused on ourselves. Adoration isn't about us, but about the one adored. We are giving the person the gift of our loving attention. We do not need to say anything or really do anything concretely. We just need to be in the person's presence and allow our attention to be completely focused on the person. It seems easier than physical gift-giving (there is no financial cost), but it is actually harder. We struggle to sit still and not be self-absorbed. But when we can adore Christ (Eucharistic Adoration) we are doing something very holy!
Now, the beauty with Christ is that when we give him gifts and adore him, we actually are the main beneficiaries. That's how good and generous God is. Happy Feast of the Epiphany!
School resumes tomorrow, Monday, January 7th. School board will meet that evening at 7pm. Mark your calendars for Catholic Schools Week, which begins Sunday, January 27th. Finally, the parents of the CCD 7th graders will have a Confirmation meeting this Wednesday at 7pm in the school hall.
Yours in Christ,