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Pastor's Letter 20220102 - 02 January 2022 - Jesus' Royal "Messiahship

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January 2nd, 2022

Feast of the Epiphany


A Message from Father Michael

Today’s Theme:  

Jesus’ Royal Messiahship” 

Reflections on Today’s Scripture

At times, the relationship between Yahweh and Israel sounded very much like a “weather report,” with “thick clouds and darkness,” “glorious light” and “shining radiance,” used as metaphors to describe God’s presence, His absence, His favor and disfavor, etc. Today’s First Reading (Isaiah 60:1-6,) is one of many examples, wherein the concrete phenomena of nature communicate deeper, intangible and transcendent realities.  Therein, the prophet paints a picture for his people, in a series of poems, or portraits, of what Jerusalem would and could be, once the process of reconstruction had been completed.  It would be a city “full of light,” made so by the consoling and healing presence of Yahweh--Who would manifest Himself to His people in the Good News of salvation.  What God did for Israel in the Old Covenant, He has done for all of humankind, the New Israel, in the person of Jesus.


By the time the letter to the Ephesians had been written, the sharing in the manifestation or Epiphany of God’s plan of salvation by the gentiles had become an accepted fact. Paul is thought to be the author, (writing around 63A.D.,) during his incarceration in Rome.  Today’s Second Reading reveals the understanding of the Kingdom as universal, as comprised of both Jews and Gentiles, not as strangers or enemies, but as heirs of the same gift of Good News—members of the one Body of Christ (Ephesians 3:2-6.)  In the light of Christ and by faith, all have become privileged to share in the dignity and grace of the Kingdom.  Race and nationality, darkness and thick clouds have no place there.  


Even if Matthew had never written chapters 3-28 of his Gospel, he would have earned the title “evangelist,” because chapters 1-2 of his work contain the burden of the Good News of our salvation—and the proclamation of Jesus as savior.  Today’s Gospel (Matthew 2:1-12,) presents the persons of the Magi as “astrologers from the east,” and, in so doing, embodies all the gentile communities and widens the scope of the message of salvation beyond Judaism, unto its intended, universal proportions.  Scholars regard the “gifts” they presented to Jesus as their belief in His kingliness and divinity.  Gold and frankincense were gifts usually offered to God, alone.   Myrrh is seen as an “omen” of Jesus’ passion, similar to Simeon’s prediction of the piercing sword to Mary’s Heart (Luke 2:35.)  

Parting of the Veil

One meaning of the word “epiphany,” is “revelation.”  Sometimes, on a cold, dull winter’s day, a break appears in the thick clouds, and through it, we catch a glimpse of a radiant sun.  All too soon, however, the break is again covered by the moving clouds, but that short glimpse of a brighter, warmer world can do wonders for us.  The mere memory of it can work its magic on our spirit.

Daily life is filled with little “epiphanies,” for those who have eyes to see and minds to reflect.  They slip “through the cracks” in our busy “armor,” and provide moments of peace, beauty and goodness. 

We see this Feast of the Epiphany as a mysterious “parting of the veil” that enabled the Magi to catch a glimpse of the radiance of the Child of Bethlehem.  Some people surely saw the Christ-child as just another baby.  Others, such as Herod, saw Him as a threat.  But the Magi recognized Him as their Savior.  Those people all had the same eyes, but they saw different things.  Their faith allowed the Magi to penetrate the veil and appreciate the reality beyond their human senses.  

But, for them, too, the veil closed again, the star disappeared, and they returned home.  They returned to their old lives, their occupations, and only retained a memory of their revelatory experience.  Nonetheless, in that sense, it colored their vision of life, and gave them new hope.  It had become a “shortcut” to the truth—a “flash of light” to illuminate their lives, that invested their every moment with significance.  They would have needed time to reflect on the magnitude of the event in order to understand its full meaning.  

Like the Magi, we will go back to our daily lives when we leave our Eucharistic Communion today, but perhaps we may see our lives differently too.  Possibly, in the Christ Child, we may even see our own divinity.

A Light for All People

Taken another way, the Feast of the Epiphany is revolutionary, in that Christ is revealed as the Savior, not of a select group of people, but of all people.  Jesus’ ministry weakened the great barrier that existed between Jews and Gentiles.  It could be said that all barriers of tribe, or kinship, are transcended by the His message, as the “Universal Brother.”  The Epiphany is a truly beautiful feast because it brings everyone together, but that doesn’t mean these impediments have magically disappeared.  Wherever we go today, we still can observe divisions among people, in families, communities, cities and countries.  Obstacles remain due to race and ethnicity, as well as those arising from social and religious affiliations.  These many divisions are reflections of our separation from our Judeo-Christian roots, and even from God.  

God sent Jesus into the world to reconcile people with Him and with one another.  Therefore, as people who have been reconciled with God through Jesus, we have been given the ministry of reconciliation (formerly known as the “Sacrament of Penance,” or simply “confession.)  “Talking across fences” is an important “first step” for anyone who is called to be an agent of love, which can bridge all divisions and heal all wounds.

Opening our Treasures

Everyone has a treasure to share.  The question remains as to how they can be inspired to share their treasure with others, voluntarily, not because they have been coerced.  If one is forced to make sacrifices, if they have their wealth or property taken from them, they become impoverished.  Rather, if they offer it from their own generosity, they become enriched, in turn.  People are essentially good, but this “goodness’ must sometimes be awakened, and called forth.  

Jesus is a prime example.  If He had come to earth “in wealth,” we would have been immediately been made aware of our own poverty.  He would have evoked feelings of envy in us, and done serious damage to our hearts.  But He came “in weakness,” thereby making us aware of our own riches!  To look at the poverty of the Infant King of the Universe causes us to open our hearts.  

It was Jesus’ poverty that prompted the Magi to open their treasures of gold, frankincense and myrrh, and lay them before Him.  And, instead of becoming impoverished, the Magi sere enriched.  “It is through giving that we receive,” as goes the familiar strain from the Prayer of St. Francis, because in doing so, we discover our own riches.  

Jesus no longer needs our gifts, but other people may.  He wants us to share ourselves with one another, and then, we also will become enhanced. 

  May God Richly Bless You!

"May we always remember, that in the Kingdom Jesus came to preach, there were no distinctions as to class, or race, nor can there be, in any Church that preaches Jesus as their Lord and Savior."

~~Patricia Datchuk Sanchez-Celebration Magazine~~


To view a live stream of today's Holy Mass, click here: https://youtube.com/watch?v=hXkNm1xHLYQ&feature=share

Kneeling at the Manger.docx

Edited by Father Michael
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