January 3, 2016


January 3, 2016:  Epiphany of the Lord

See 14 connections with today?
Legend below

1st reading 
    Next Sunday's psalm options (sheet music, written yesterday)
    Pope Francis
    Angelus:  The readings of today, the second Sunday after Christmas [not Epiphany in Rome], include the Prologue of John:  “the Word”–the creative Word of God–“was made flesh and dwelt among us.”  That Word came to earth so that we might listen and know and touch the Father's love.  The Word of God is the Only-begotten Son, made flesh, full of love and of faithfulness, Jesus.
    John doesn't hide the Incarnation's dramatic nature, emphasizing that the gift of the love of God is matched with non-reception.  The Word is the light, but people preferred the darkness; the Word came to his own, but they didn't receive him; they closed the door in his face.  The mystery of evil insinuates itself into our lives, too; we must care and be vigilant so it doesn't prevail.  Genesis says evil “lies in wait at our door.”  If we allow it to enter, it would close our door to everyone else.  We're called to throw open the door of our heart to the Word of God, to Jesus, and become his children.
    Today's gospel invites us to welcome this Word of salvation, this mystery of light.  If we do, we'll grow in understanding and love of the Lord, and we'll learn to be merciful as he is.  Let's make sure the Gospel becomes more incarnate in our own lives.  Draw near to the Gospel, meditate on it, and give it flesh in daily life to understand Jesus and bring him to others.  To show Jesus and give him to others, we have to know him and have him within us, as Lord of our life.  The devil wants to enter, but Jesus will defend us.  Entrust yourself to Mary:  contemplate the sweet image of the mother of Jesus and our mother.
    World Day of Peace message:  Overcome indifference and win peacecontinued from yesterday
    Globalized indifference threatens peace:  Indifference towards God affects the public and social sphere as well as the individual.  Glorification of God and peace on earth are linked.  Without openness to the transcendent, we find it difficult to act justly and work for peace.  Disregard and denial of God lead us to acknowledge no norm above ourselves and have produced cruelty and violence.
    Indifference to neighbor, finding expression in disinterest and a lack of engagement, prolongs injustice and social imbalance, leading to conflicts or at least dissatisfaction that risks exploding into violence.  Each of us must work to promote the common good, especially peace, so indifference and lack of commitment is a dereliction of our duty.
    Institutional indifference to others and their dignity, rights and freedom can threaten peace; it can justify economic policies that breed injustice, division, and violence.  Economic and political projects are often to secure or maintain power and wealth, even at the cost of others' rights and needs.  People denied their basic rights are tempted to obtain them by force.
    Indifference to the environment can create new forms of poverty and situations of injustice.  Wars have been fought, and will continue, over a shortage of goods or thirst for resources. [to be continued]
    • Is 60:1-6  Arise, Jerusalem; your light has come:  darkness covers earth, but God shines on you.  Nations shall walk by your light; they'll come to you.  They'll praise the Lord and bring you gold and frankincense.
    • Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6  The mystery of God’s grace was revealed to me for your benefit.  Gentiles are coheirs and partners in Christ's promise.
    • Mt 2:1-12  Magi asked, “Where's the newborn king?  We saw his star.”  Troubled King Herod asked where and when he was to be born, then sent them to look for the child and bring him word.  They followed the star, entered, did homage, and offered gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  Warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they took another route back.
      • The triple meaning of Epiphany:  Before the feast was associated with the Magi's visit to baby Jesus, it celebrated three events that manifested God the Son:  Jesus' Incarnation, Jesus' baptism, and the wedding at Cana....
      • Creighton:  Today is the feast of the epiphany (showing, manifestation) of Jesus to the world.  God promised his relationship with his people would extend to the ends of the earth.  Today's gospel includes Magi:  seers, open-minded wisdom seekers, clearly not Jews.  We're also introduced to Herod (father of the Herod of the Passion).  The Magi found meaning in the stars.  Are we open to see new light, new messages, new calls?  The Magi follow the light; it leads them to Herod, then to Bethlehem.  We can fail to consult the tradition and learn where to find the light.  Unfortunately, the Herod they met was duplicitous and jealous; he wanted to suppress the light.  We too can be duplicitous, wanting to follow but not when afraid we'll lose something we want to hold onto.  The Magi find the Holy Family and come prepared to do the newborn homage with gifts for a king, for a God, and for someone who will suffer.  Often we don't come to see the light with gifts representing our faith and so don't proclaim with our lives that we believe Jesus is our Lord.  The Magi, told not to go back to Herod, returned by a different route. Our encounter with Jesus can also lead us by a different, new path.  When we seek, find, and honor Jesus, we're filled with joy renewed with trust that God can bring light to every darkness.
      Adoration of the Magi/ Murillo
      Lord, reveal to us the power of your mercy to heal us and allow us to be the light of your mercy for others. May our mercy reveal your presence, bring unity and peace, allow us to journey past indifference, bring us to solidarity with those on the margins, reveal your desires for your people for mercy, justice, integrity, and right relationships.  Shine on us, within us, and from us!
      • One Bread, One Body:  "High-rise":  "Rise up in splendor"; show the light of our lives in Christ and give light to all in darkness. Let your light shine; let all know the Christmas message that God became a human being, was born, lived, died, and rose to save us.  Before we rise, we must see what God has done for us and see what sin has done.  We have the responsibility and the power to rise up.  This Epiphany may we give Jesus three gifts:  repentance, seeing, and rising up.
      • Passionist:  There's so much darkness in our world:  war, hunger, homelessness, human trafficking, divorce, suicide, abuse, and so on.  Let's kneel at the nativity scene and reflect on how God became one of us so long ago to bring us light.  And let's bow before him in the stable of our hearts and acknowledge our need of a Savior, truth, goodness, and light.  He'll give us hope and courage to change the darkness. We're his hands and feet today.  We can let the light shine through us to make a difference.   Let's open our hearts to the Lord’s will for us....
      • DailyScripture.net:  "They fell down and worshiped Jesus":  If Jesus is really God's Son and our Savior, why doesn't everyone recognize him?  John says the world didn't know or receive him.  Only the lowly shepherds recognized him, then the magi whom God led them via the star.
      St. John Chrysostom on the star's significance:  "The wise men saw the star, were received by the Jews and their king, heard prophecy to explain what appeared; an angel instructed them, then they journeyed to Bethlehem by the star's guidance.  The star remained after bringing them there, so they could see the child.  There's nothing conspicuous about the place, the inn, or the mother; the star was needed to manifest and illumine the lowly place..." (Matthew Homily 7:3, paraphrased).  The magi, who willingly left home and country, were led to the source of knowledge, Jesus, God's Light and Wisdom; when they found him, they humbly worshiped him.  The Lord gives each of us the light of faith to recognize and accept him; the Spirit moves the heart and opens the mind so we may understand, accept, and believe the truth God revealed through Christ.  Do I bring Light to others through my life?
      Dress legend
      • 'Christmas lights' tie, white shirt and socks:  nations shall walk by your light (1st reading), magi followed star's light (gospel)
      • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  Raise your eyes and look about (1st reading)
      • 'Girl with heart' pin:  Your heart shall throb (1st reading)
      • Gold-colored accoutrements:  all shall come bearing gold... (1st reading)
      • 'Scales of justice' pin:  The King shall govern with justice (psalm)
      • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  Peace shall flourish (psalm)
      • 'Star' tie pin:  Magi:  "We saw his star" (gospel)
      • 'Crown' tie bar:  Endow the king...; kings shall offer gifts (psalm); King Herod (gospel)
      • '3 stick figures' tie pin:  the magi (gospel)
      • No-'L' pin:  Christmas season lasts another week

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