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Pastor's Letter 20240107 - 07 January 2024 - The Feast of the Epiphany

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January 7th, 2024

Feast of the Epiphany


A Message from Father Michael

Today’s Theme:

“Jesus’ Royal Messiahship”

Reflections on Today’s Scripture

(Isaiah 60:1-6)  Writing ca. 580 B.C., Isaiah cheered the exiles who returned from Babylon with a vision of a restored city.  When the radiance of salvation and peace began to dispel the darkness of sin, the saving Light came to them, not from a faraway star, or from the distant horizon.  The prophecy is fulfilled in Christ, and in the New Israel—the Church.  


(Ephesians 3:2-6)  God invites Jew and Gentile alike to share an equal footing in the salvation brought by our Blessed Lord, Jesus.  Now revealed, the splendor of His saving Word does not cease to speak the Good News of love and forgiveness to everyone.


(Matthew 2:1-12)  Matthew tells the story of three Gentile “Wise Men,” that came to pay homage to the Christ-Child, while the Jewish leaders rejected Him.  In the Word, made incarnate, and from within the heart of a hopeful humankind, the Light began to warm, enliven and transform.


Learning from the Magi

Many people believe the Magi came to Bethlehem because they saw a bright star in the eastern sky.  As astrologers, they would not have had the Scriptures to guide them, and so, in their way, relied on such “natural” occurrences to guide them.  

Reading the Gospel account, carefully, we find that they saw the star “as it rose.”  (It says nothing about being guided by it, anywhere!)  Similar to ancient accounts, (such as, at the birth of Moses, Abraham, and, even later, Nero,) descriptions of “stars” being sighted fill the literature—signaling that someone “special” had been born.  

The next time the star is mentioned, they were on the road to Bethlehem, nearing the end of their journey.  We read, “There, in front of them, was the star they had seen at its rising.”  From this, we may conclude they traveled in darkness, asking, seeking and inquiring, along the way.  

Theirs would not have been a simple, or easy sojourn.  No doubt, they would have encountered strangers, difficulties, doubts…and dangers.  Yet, in spite of it all, they persevered in their quest, being rewarded at the end, finally finding the Christ-Child.  

We revere this story, because we also are on a excursion.  When we begin some path—toward a vocation, or profession, for instance—we are attracted by something “bright” about our intended goal.  Our ideal, vision or hope, our initial “star,” doesn’t remain forever “in our sky.”  It also grows “dim,” along the way, and many times we are deprived of its light—our sought-after goal.  

We also must expect to encounter difficulties and doubts on our life’s journey.  Some people think they are losing their faith when this occurs, but we must not be surprised when it happens.  We must imitate the Magi, and not be too proud to ask for guidance.  We must believe the darkness will pass, and once again, we will see our “star” beckoning to us.

The Magi also can serve as models for us on our faith journey.  As wealthy representatives of their society, they surely were accustomed to having people of lower standing offer them deference—labor, taxes, etc.  They turned this around in their homage to the poor Christ-Child.  They were sincere, humble and “single-minded,” as we must be when we focus on any worthy goal.  They refused to be “put-off” by challenges and hardships.  When they found Christ, we are told they offered Him gold, frankincense and myrrh—symbols for royalty, priesthood and death.  Upon finding Christ, their hearts were awakened and burst into life!  

When we find Christ and offer our love to Him, He will help us also to open up treasures of goodness, lying buried inside ourselves.  Having been so enlightened, we can be similarly moved to offer our own “gifts” to our brothers and sisters—especially those who are poor, as Christ was.

Today’s Gospel passage also suggests the Magi returned to their country “by a different route.”  Rather than having been the suggested differing “geographical course,” upon receiving a warning in a dream, this may also be seen as their becoming enlightened.  Rather than becoming impoverished, they were enriched.  When we “meet” Christ, and hear His Gospel, we also travel through life via a “different route,” with a changed focus for our journey.  We develop different attitudes, values and goals.  It is impossible to encounter Christ without the way we live our lives being affected.

Jesus’ poverty is a challenge for us.  Rather than being “off-putting,” it gives us an opportunity to open our hearts, and begin to live.  Of course, Jesus no longer needs our “gifts.”  But other people, surely may.  He wants us to share ourselves with one another, and we will find ourselves enriched, thereby.  

May God Richly Bless You!


Proclaim the Glory of the Lord.docx

View a recording of todays Holy Mass, here:


Edited by Father Michael
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