Monday, January 1, 2018

Feast of the Epiphany - Jan. 7, 2018

The Feast of the Epiphany  Year B

Reading I:  Isaiah 60:1-6

Psalm:  72

Reading II:  Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6

Matthew:  2:1-12

In the Mass readings for today’s Feast, we see three major themes: light, gifts, and inclusiveness. The ideas are introduced to us way back by the prophet Isaiah as he encourages the Jews: “Rise up Jerusalem! Your light  has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you.” Then, he says: “The wealth of the nations shall be brought to you.” Finally, he predicts that “Nations shall walk by your light.”
(Isaiah 60)

An unusual star beckons magi (astronomers from the East) to search for the Infant who would be the King of the Jews. Starting with the lighting of the candles on the Advent wreath, we pray that we might carry the light of Christ in our hearts to brighten the lives of all those living in darkness. Even our secular world revels in light as we see lighted Christmas trees and buildings providing a cheerful atmosphere in our world.

The idea of gifts brought to the Christ Child expands from material wealth to the gift of faith in the magi and in our hearts as we trust that this little seemingly helpless Infant is the promised Savior of our world. Gifts also speak of love.  Even in our commercialized environment, we see much giving, not only to family and friends, but also to those who are needy in our world. The giving can be in the form of expression of gratitude to those who make our lives better, to reaching out to the lonely and neglected in our world. We all have something to give — in memory of the Lord who gave his all.

Finally, our awesome God who first revealed himself to the Jews, extends his graces to those of all Nations...inclusiveness. He is to be the King of Kings. We are all his children, each unique and loved by Him. We give Him our faith and He gives us hope and love. We give him our hearts and he gives us Himself. He is God with us...“Emmanuel.”

St. Patrick, a missionary to  Ireland, revels in this gift in his famous prayer, sometimes called “The Breastplate of St. Patrick.”

Christ be beside me, Christ be before me,
Christ be behind me, King of my heart;
Christ be within me, Christ be below me,
Christ be above me, never to part.
Christ on my right hand, Christ on my left hand,
Christ all around me, shield in the strife;
Christ in my sleeping, Christ in my sitting,
Christ in my rising, light of my life.

Have a blessed Little Christmas Season!

 Reflection Question:   How can I shine light into the darkness of someone’s life during the Christmas season?

Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...

Feast of the Epiphany

En las lecturas de la Misa de la Fiesta de hoy, vemos tres temas principales: luz, regalos e inclusión. Las ideas nos son presentadas hace mucho tiempo por el profeta Isaías mientras él anima a los judíos: “¡Levántate, Jerusalén! Tu luz ha venido, la gloria del Señor brilla sobre ti.” Entonces, él dice: “Las riquezas de las naciones te serán presentadas”. Finalmente, él predice que “las naciones caminarán a tu luz”. (Isaías 60). 

Una estrella inusual llama a los magos (astrónomos del este) a buscar al Infante que sería el Rey de los Judíos. Comenzando con la iluminación de las velas en la corona de Adviento, oramos para que podamos llevar la luz de Cristo en nuestros corazones para iluminar las vidas de todos aquellos que viven en la oscuridad. Incluso nuestro mundo secular disfruta de la luz al ver árboles de Navidad iluminados y edificios que proporcionan una atmósfera alegre en nuestro mundo.

La idea de obsequios traídos al Niño Jesús se expande de la riqueza material al obsequio de la fe en los magos y en nuestros corazones mientras confiamos en que este pequeño Infante aparentemente indefenso es el Salvador prometido de nuestro mundo. Los regalos también hablan de amor. Incluso en nuestro entorno comercializado, vemos mucho dando, no solo a familiares y amigos, sino también a aquellos que están necesitados en nuestro mundo. El obsequio puede ser en forma de expresión de gratitud a aquellos que mejoran nuestras vidas, para llegar a los solitarios y descuidados en nuestro mundo. Todos tenemos algo que dar, en memoria del Señor que dio todo.

Finalmente, nuestro Dios asombroso que primero se reveló a los judíos, extiende sus gracias a aquellos de todas las Naciones ... inclusividad. Él debe ser el Rey de Reyes. Todos somos sus hijos, cada uno único y amado por él. Le damos nuestra fe y Él nos da esperanza y amor. Le damos nuestros corazones y él nos da a sí mismo. Él es Dios con nosotros ... “Emmanuel”.

San Patricio, un misionero en Irlanda, se deleita con este regalo en su famosa oración, a veces llamada “The Breastplate of St. Patrick”.

Cristo esté a mi lado, Cristo esté delante de mí,
Cristo esté detrás de mí, Rey de mi corazón;
Cristo esté dentro de mí, Cristo esté debajo de mí,
Cristo esté por encima de mí, nunca se separe.
Cristo en mi mano derecha, Cristo en mi mano izquierda,
Cristo a mi alrededor, escudo en la lucha;
Cristo en mi sueño, Cristo sentado,
Cristo en mi levantamiento, luz de mi vida.

¡Ten una bendita temporada de Navidad!

 Pregunta de reflexión:   ¿Cómo puedo iluminar la oscuridad de la vida de alguien durante la temporada de Navidad?


  1. Dear Sister Annette,
    I really like how you developed the three major themes of light, gifts, and inclusiveness. I have a few thoughts on this Feast of the Epiphany which may not be as cohesive as your presentation, but I’ll give it my best attempt. The three Wise Men (whom my five year old granddaughter refers to as the 3 wise guys) made an intentional decision to embark on what was an arduous journey – leaving behind what was comfortable and familiar to them – in search of the holy child of God. Tales tell of long travels, ominous dangers, and guidance provided by the light of a star. We celebrate their joy of discovery of the child which ends their long wandering in search for Truth. They presented exquisite gifts to the child and we can only believe that the graces and blessings they received from their homage of the Infant King were far more valuable than the gold, frankincense, and myrrh they laid at the feet of the baby. Having experienced Christ, their lives would never be the same, symbolized by traveling an alternate route home. Their eyes were opened to recognize the deceitful “Herodian consciousness,” (a John Kavanaugh phrase). These “Wise Men” gazed into the eyes of God and gleaned a spiritual wisdom born from experiencing His eternal love. Their time spent in the Presence of God shifted their focus from the external world to the internal. I wish there was a follow-up segment telling of how these men lived the balance of their lives. My mind visualizes that they became like missionaries in their own nations, promoting justice, tolerance, and easing the plight of the poor.
    The Feast of the Epiphany serves as a faith model for us today. We, too, seek truth, yearn to experience the Presence of God, desire enlightenment, and implore the Lord’s blessings.
    The Epiphany reminds us that we are on a journey and there are many roads from which to choose. I often chose routes of self-interest which took me off course of where my heart wanted to be. Some of us get lost along the way and have to travel a very long distance to discover Christ. For certain, if we are lost, we need to release the familiar and change direction. However, once we do encounter Christ and develop a relationship with Him our life will be forever transformed. Like the Magi, our eyes will be opened as will our heart. Love of God will be our guiding light.
    Before us lies a new year, a new opportunity to reflect on where we are in relation to where we would like to be on our spiritual path. The journey to Christ is one of inward reflection. Our eyes must be open to seeing the world in a new way and we must also look deeply inward, to see what God sees in us. Do we see our self as a child of God, loved beyond measure? If not, we need to spend more quiet time with the Lord.
    Love is the reason that He came to us. Love is what we are and love is what we need to extend to our world. When others look us in the eyes they ought to see Christ – the One whose star we follow. At the same time, we should seek to see Him reflected in their eyes. To me, that is the essence of Epiphany.
    Pat C., ASBS

  2. Sr. Therese M. Warner, SBSJanuary 2, 2018 at 11:28 AM

    As we consider the marvels connected with the Epiphany, especially the brilliant star, we are reminded of Our Lord's promise: "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life." St. Patrick's famous breastplate prayer certainly is appropriate and inspiring.

    The following excerpts are from a homily by Father Rene Butler:

    "All of us Christians are disciples of Christ. Even those of us who were cradle Catholics at some point "became" disciples in a personal way. Something led us to that moment. That was our star of Bethlehem; or, to compare our experience to that of St. Paul, that was our road to Damascus. Can you remember what that was -
    a person, a place, a thing, or an event?"

    "The Magi found Him and rejoiced and laid their gifts before Him. Paul rejoiced and gave his life to Christ. What gifts did we bring then? What gifts do we bring now?"

    "The Magi came to do Him homage. (The word "homage" occurs three times in this Gospel). Paying homage to the Lord was their desire, but also their need. So, too, for us. At some point we made that same act of humility, of recognition of the Lord's place in our life. That was our homage. Do you remember when that was? What form did it take then? What form does it take now?"

    "It is a good thing to review these things from time to time,
    to renew our discipleship
    to deepen our homage
    to make a fuller gift of ourselves
    to continue to discover Him wherever He encounters us
    with the help of whatever star He sends us."

    Father Rene J. Butler MS
    Director of La Salette Shrine
    Enfield, NH