READINGS for 2008-01-06
Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
DANgER iN DARkNESS
See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; But upon you the Lord shines, and over you appears his glory. – Isaiah 60:2
Karla, my friend, has a habit of waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. She got used to keeping the lights off as she walked down the stairs to the toilet.
One night, she did what she normally does — got out of bed and walked down the stairs without turning on the lights. But this time, she didn’t reach the rest room. Instead, she woke up in a hospital bed with a terrible headache. She fell and needed 10 stitches on her forehead. Since then, she has kept the lights on all night.
We all experience darkness. It’s only when we are led into the light that we are able to take sure steps. But there are times when we become too familiar with darkness that we take the light for granted. Sometimes, we crawl our way through the night and we turn on the light only when we stumble and have a bad fall.
We need to constantly remind ourselves that light is ever present — the light of salvation which only God can provide. We must turn this light on all the time to bring a whole change to the gloomy spots in our lives. Jane Gonzales
Are there things that prevent God’s light from shining brightly in our lives?
Dear Lord, rid our hearts of every dark blot so we may bask in the brightness of Your glaring light. Amen.
Isaiah 60: 1-6
Today we celebrate the further revelation of the newborn Babe’s identity to the world. In this reading from Isaiah, we are invited to reflect upon this light that goes out to reveal the person and nature of Jesus’ ministry to the world. We are all called to be a part of this epiphany or revelation by the way we live our lives.
1 Rise up in splendor! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. 2 See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the LORD shines, and over you appears his glory. 3 Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance. 4 Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you. Your sons come from afar, and your daughters in the arms of their nurses. 5 Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow, for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you. 6 Caravans of camels shall fill you, dromedaries from Midian and Ephah; all from Sheba shall come bearing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.
P S A L M
Psalm 72: 1-2 , 7-8, 10-11, 12-13
R: Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
1 O God, with your judgment endow the king, and with your justice, the king’s son; 2 he shall govern your people with justice and your afflicted ones with judgment. (R) 7 Justice shall flower in his days, and profound peace, till the moon be no more. 8 May he rule from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth. (R) 10 The kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts; the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute. 11 All kings shall pay him homage, all nations shall serve him. (R) 12 For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out, and the afflicted when he has no one to help him. 13 He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor; the lives of the poor he shall save. (R)
Ephesians 3: 2-3a, 5-6
The universal scope of the gift of salvation is the greatest change that we experience in our understanding of the will of God as we move from the revelation of the Jews to that of Christianity. Revelation is no longer confined to a small minority of the world’s people. We discover that Jesus has come to save all people of all nations of all time.
2 You have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for your benefit, 3 namely, that the mystery was made known to me by revelation. 5 It was not made known to human beings in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit, 6 that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
G O S P E L
Matthew 2: 1-12
There must have been an incredibly interesting or mysterious nature to the star that hovered over Bethlehem for it to be able to draw the wise men to the place of Jesus’ birth. Be that as it may, the important thing is that they came and in so doing demonstrated to all that the Gospel that Jesus would proclaim was not just for the Jews but for Gentiles as well. This is a revolutionary thought that caused difficulty for many. Let us pray for the grace to share the Gospel with all whom we meet.
1 When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” 3 When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: 6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.’” 7 Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.” 9 After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 They were overjoyed at seeing the star, 11 and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.
think: Are our lives an epiphany or revelation of Christ’s light within us?
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they returned on another Way
During the 20th World Youth Day 2005 in Cologne, Pope Benedict XVI walked with a huge crowd of young people from the shore of the River Rhine and entered the majestic cathedral. There he prayed in front of the Blessed Sacrament and then walked under, as he said, the “most exquisite reliquary of the whole Christian world” containing the relics of the “Three Kings.”
The Pope said, “These relics are only a poor and frail sign of what those men were and what they experienced so many centuries ago. The relics direct us toward God Himself: it is He who, by the power of His grace, grants to weak human beings the courage to bear witness to Him before the world.” The wise men went out to find the Messiah whom they thought to be a powerful king. Nothing could stop them on their adventurous journey until they found the infant in Bethlehem. They were able to withstand hardships and sacrifices, they never yielded to discouragement or the temptation to give up and go home. When they found him, the encounter changed their ideas about power, about God, about men and, in so doing, they had also to change themselves.
They were able to see that God’s power is unlike that of the powerful of this world. God does not compete with earthly powers. They had to learn to give themselves – no lesser gift would be sufficient for this King. They realized that their lives must be conformed to God’s own way of being. They must become men of truth, of justice, goodness, forgiveness and mercy. They must learn to lose their life and this way to find it.
Matthew’s mention that “they left on another way for their home” is highly symbolic. One who has encountered Christ cannot leave and live in the same way he came. Fr. Rudy Horst
Where do I look for answers to my many questions concerning life? Am I aware that only Christ can transform me and give me the right direction?
Lord, like the wise men, we are on a dangerous journey through this world. Without Your guidance we are in danger to miss our goal. Be the Star that guides us. Be the Answer to all our questions. Transform us in our encounter with You that we, too, continue our journey on a different way, on the Way that is You.
Blessed Andre Bessette, religious, pray for us.
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