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Sunday, 6 January 2019

The Epiphany of the Lord 2019

The Epiphany of the Lord 2019

The readings for the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord 2019, note there are:

First Reading Isaiah 60:1-6 
Responsorial Psalm Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13 Response Psalm 98:3c
Second Reading Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6 
Gospel Matthew 2:1-12

While preparing the readings this week there were three specific thoughts that really jumped out at me. The second was a continuation of the Gospel reading. They are the themes of:

Blessings
Conversion
Loss of Innocence 

So please bear with me as my thoughts flow from today’s specific readings and Herod’s slaughter of the children. First, I want to look at blessing. There are many passages around the theme of blessing and even specific blessings. There is the general blessings on the people of Israel, and the blessing we all receive in the sacraments. There are the blessings of firstborn or the blessing of inheritance. And there is the blessing of the beatitudes. Matthew 5:6 states:

“Blessed is he who does hunger and thirst for righteousness for he shall be filled.”

And John 10:10 is:

“For the thief comes but to steal, to kill, and to destroy, but I am come that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”

Both verses were instrumental in my return to the Christian faith. And have had a continual impact on my life over the last 30 years. And both tie to the them of blessing. To really be blessed by God, in my opinion, is not a big house, a new car, a bigger TV. It is not things. It is the people in our lives, people who invest in us and build us up, and the people we invest in and we sacrifice for. But I also believe that we need to be pursuing God. We need to hunger and thirst for him and his ways. We need to always be striving.

The second in some ways is a result of the first and a consequence of the first. Conversion! I once heard in a talk given to university students, that our whole live should be the conversion of working out our salvation. It is the process of becoming. To quote again the prayer of Consecration to merciful love:

“Finally, I believe, my God, that you can and will make me into a saint, even if I won’t see it, even if I have to struggle all my life against vice and sin, even if I have to wait until the very end. This blind hope in your mercy, O Lord, is my only treasure.”

Taken from Father Michael E. Gaitley’s book 33 Day’s To Merciful Love. I am not there yet, but I try each day. But finally I want to turn to the death of the innocent. I cannot help but when I read the gospel passage, I always think about what comes next. When Herod realises that he has been tricked he orders the death of all the boys of a certain age. I know that our passage ends with the gifts to the Holy Family. But I know what comes next. I can see it in my minds eye, I can year it. And my heart aches. Just as it aches for the aborted babies today, for those euthanized by their choice, and as some cases from Europe have come to light at times against their wishes. Even here in Canada there have been news stories of late, about a new practice of removing feeding tubes and choosing to allow patience to die. Or of those in hospital that insurance has offered pay for euthanasia drugs but will not cover treatment. We are in a time of great hurt. A time when many souls are tortured and tormented. And we all need to see God’s blessing and our own conversion.


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