The Epiphany of the Lord
The Season of Christmas comes to a climax today in the celebration of the Epiphany. Today’s feast, literally translated as “manifestation,” celebrates the recognition of the Savior by the world. The journey of the Magi to honor the newborn King of Kings represents all we do to honor Jesus in our lives. In many countries, today is the traditional day of giving and exchanging gifts because of the gifts the Magi brought to Jesus. In some respects, the Epiphany is the more important feast, for it is only in our openness and our response to the presence of Jesus in our lives that his birth has any effect at all.
“Rise up in splendor… your light has come, and the glory of the Lord shines upon you” (Isaiah 60:1). These words of Isaiah at the beginning of today’s first reading express the excitement that comes over us when we are really aware of what God is doing in our lives. As we begin this new year— always a year of the Lord’s grace and favor— I invite you to pay attention to the gifts of God at work in your own life and to respond accordingly. It is often difficult in the midst of the challenges and struggles of daily life to recognize that something sacred is also present. Fix your gaze on Jesus in the Mass, and allow your vision to remain focused on him in the other ways he is present to you. Listen to his Word in your daily prayer and reflection, and respond to that Word in your daily acts of kindness, love, and service.
As our new season of programming gets underway again, I encourage you in your new year’s resolutions to make a commitment to do something for your faith and your relationship with God. At Christmas, we presented to everyone a card with information about FORMED, a website and a mobile app filled with resources (in English and Spanish) to help you grow in your faith. From films and podcasts to ebooks and small group resources, FORMED provides plenty of opportunities for people of all ages to learn and deepen their faith. St. Joseph has committed funds to make this resource available to all parishioners as a way to support our ongoing learning and spiritual growth. I hope many will take advantage of this gift.
This week I begin once again to serve in an adjunct faculty position at St. Mary’s Seminary, assisting with the formation of seminarians in teaching sacramental and liturgical theology. This semester I am teaching two courses: The Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism and Confirmation) and the Liturgical Practicum (the final course training seminarians to celebrate the Mass and other sacraments). It is a privilege for me to be able to serve in this way, and I am grateful for the support of our staff which allows me the time to do so.