The days of the Christmas season follow a sequence of manifestations of the Son of God to the world. From a (holy) family of believers who trust in God’s mercy, to the (presumably) Hebrew shepherds who both heard and understood the message of the angles and brought their own flocks to the One who would grow to become the Good Shepherd, to the pagan astrologers who continued to seek enlightenment and were able to discern who came to see that his birth was announced and celebrated in the night sky. Each manifestation commanded that one both “comes seeking” and “offers homage.”
It should come as no surprise that the word “epiphany” means enlightenment, or perhaps more accurately, “an illuminative discovery” often associated with a divine being. As we celebrate this Solemnity of the Epiphany we should be mindful that God never ceases to call His people to new and more abundant life, and that this invitation occurs every moment of every day! We could take the easy path and reduce the Christmas manifestations of the Incarnation to a holy family, a chosen group of religious insiders, and small select group of pagan outsiders, and thus exempt ourselves from the challenging and life-giving path of the Gospel. The Epiphany teaches us that there is to be no elitism in Catholic Christianity and that the Lord Jesus is the way to salvation that is intended for all that have been given life-breath from God!
As we hope and desire that all will come to Church seeking the Lord and offering homage, we also want those who gather in this sacred place to do so in safety and security. A few weeks ago we began the practice of locking the side doors of the Church when Mass begins. While this will only prevent entry into the Church, it stills allows for exiting from the building. When Mass has begun one may only enter the Church through the center doors of the narthex. This practice will enable us to make the church building more secure during Liturgical Services and to deal with any unforeseen situations. While I know this will be a bit of an inconvenience to those who might arrive late for Mass, I am sure that this safety measure will be for the greater good of all.
I would like to offer a world of thanks to all for their kindness and generosity during these days of Christmas. Your acts of kindness with the Angel Tree, the Thanksgiving and Christmas Basket of Blessings, your generous dedication to Outward Sign and the Backpack programs throughout the year, your kind remembrance of the clergy and staff of the parish, are all so greatly appreciated. Thanks you so very much!
Merry Christmas everyone! And may this New Year provide us with continued graces and blessings!