Letters from a Pastor to His People- January 5, 2020
Ah, the Epiphany. Christ's display of divinity; his manifestation to the gentiles. Jesus Christ is God indeed. He is God of all peoples. That is what we celebrate this feast today.
But there is something about us that we recognize and celebrate too. Saint Paul says that we are "coheirs" with Christ (cf. Ephesians 3:6). Because we are grafted on to Christ, when we celebrate Christ, there is also something we are called to celebrate about us. That is, we celebrate the divinity within us.
The first part of the first reading from Isaiah speaks of the beauty of Jerusalem. Remember, Isaiah is the prophet when Jerusalem is at its low point. This is well after King David (the high point). The Israelite nation has been divided and there have been terrible leaders in both the northern and southern kingdoms. The temple built by Solomon has been profaned, false gods are being worshipped in the land, and the destruction of the temple and the nation by foreign invaders, namely Babylon, is on the horizon.
In other words, things are pretty bad in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is ugly.
But that's not what Isaiah says. "Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem!" he instead speaks. "Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you."
Huh? Well, I would argue that Isaiah was not referring to the literal city of Jerusalem. He is speaking of the New Jerusalem. And the New Jerusalem is Jesus Christ with two principle extensions: the Church and us!
So, read this excerpt of Isaiah as a reference to you. "Upon you the Lord shines...over you appears his glory...they all gather and come to you, [your sons and your daughters]."
Why does the light shine on you? Why are people attracted to you and come to you? Not because of your quick wit, good looks, net worth, or connections. No. They come to you because you have Jesus Christ within you.
Christ is the Light, and lights are attractive. We like the light. Christ is burning within your soul. People can detect that flame. They want to be near that.
I think about the people in my life who I really enjoy being around; people who I want to talk to, to learn from, and just be near, even if we're not saying anything. They all have one thing in common: they are men and women of God. They are holy. They are beautiful, splendid like the Jerusalem Isaiah is describing. These people are near to God. And when I am near them, I feel that I am near God.
Most New Years' Resolutions are aimed at making ourselves more attractive (think of losing weight). The best way to make ourselves beautiful is to foster God within our souls. So, please, make 2020 a good year. Pray every day with your friend and lover, Jesus Christ. And "then you shall be radiant" (Isaiah 60:5).
School resumes Monday, January 6th. Welcome back, teachers and students. I hope you had a relaxing Christmas break. And to all of our college students who were home and will be returning, safe travels and all the best with the new semester.
Also welcome back Religious Education students and catechists. There will be a RE Confirmation meeting for parents on Wednesday, January 8th at 6:45pm in the school hall.
Yours in Christ,