Happy New Year!
Reviewing the past year, we made some strides of returning to pre-covid life, although as I write, COVID-19 infection is on the rise. All of us have had to make sacrifices to slow the spread of COVID. There are countless stories of people reaching out to the lift the spirits of others.
On the dark side of COVID, families have become divided. Friendships have been severed. The wearing of a mask and or being vaccinated has become a political issue rather than one about health. In the gospels, there is the image of Jesus crying over Jerusalem on his way to the cross. I wonder if Jesus cries today, as he sees what is happening in the world? I pray that 2022 may be a healing and mending of relationships.
Today’s feast of the Epiphany brings heightened attention to the universal or global dimension of the Incarnation. The story of the Magi coming from the East signals God’s intent to include all peoples, not just the Jews, in the plan of salvation. St. Paul notes, “It was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”
Matthew’s gospel and the writing of St. Paul, brings a critical change in the early church’s understanding of itself, moving from a Jewish sect to a worldwide church, even though “worldwide” then basically meant the lands around the Mediterranean Sea. In other words, this annual celebration of Epiphany, Is a reminder of God’s intent to save all peoples and of our kinship as brothers and sisters in Christ.
The world seems much smaller today, as news comes to us quickly via the internet and social media. This past year once again saw people’s lives being disrupted by natural disasters, war and terrorism, lack of food and clean water, and the pandemic. The problems of the world today are global problems and solving them requires a global perspective. While most of us cannot solve the problems of the world, we can contribute to the building the kingdom in our home, workplace, and neighborhood. Epiphany means “manifestation.” The challenge of the feast today is for us to examine whether we are manifesting Christ to the world. Have a faith filled week! Fr. Ron