The Octave of the Epiphany as
a launching pad for Evangelisation
Saint Vincent Pallotti maintained that the Octave of the Epiphany was “one of the most luminous Mysteries of our Faith”(OOCC I, p.247). He was convinced that such a celebration was a reawakening of the Christian people to Faith. He did not content himself with a simple celebration, but invited all to prepare for this special event in which each person made their contribution according to their possibilities (OOCC III, pp.337-338). Furthermore, he urged people to propagate the Octave everywhere and not to limit it to determined places: “And we must celebrate it not only in the church in which the Procura of the pious Union was instituted but, if possible, in all of the communities of whatever reality” (OOCC III, 339). Just as the gentiles were invited in the persons of the Magi to adore and to offer gifts to the King of the Jews, so all must be awakened, making a holy "renewal" of spirit in order to seek Jesus Christ attentively and constantly, so that he might be known, loved and adored, and reciprocated in his infinite Love by the entire human race (OOCC III, pp.446-447).
Isaiah 60:1-6; Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6; Matthew 2:1-12
Today, St Matthew gives us the story of the visit of the magi to the newborn Savior.
Who were these magi, sometimes called kings?
I think scholars would agree that in ancient times, in what is known to us as the Middle East, the magi — from which come the words “magician” and “magic”— were astrologers. These were men who studied the skies, and found meaning in the movement of the stars and the planets. They were known as wise men, were influential in determining courses of action, and frequently would have been very wealthy, and respected in all levels of society. Their lives were full.
▪ On Christmas day Pope Francis, from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, gave His Papal Blessing “Urbi et Orbi”. Addressing the crowd of about 50,000 people at St. Peter’s Square, the Holy Father expressed his Christmas wishes and delivered His message saying “My wish for a happy Christmas is a wish for fraternity”, that means, Christmas must bring stronger bonds among people from different cultures, faith and nations, a difference to rising nationalism across the globe. He continued saying that “God is a good Father and we are all brothers and sisters” … “without that bond, even our best plans and projects risk being soulless and empty.” He emphasised fraternity among individuals of every nation and culture, fraternity among people with different ideas, yet capable of respecting and listening to one another and fraternity among persons of different religions.
1 John 3:11-21; Psalms 100:1-2, 3, 4, 5; John 1:43-51
During this second week of Christmas, having just celebrated Jesus’ birth - the incarnation of the Most Holy One - it seems a bit odd to be reflecting on the adult Jesus and how he chose his first disciples. Yet as I prayed with today’s readings, the Gospel passage seemed to me to be an allegory of our personal Christmas – remembering how God is born – and borne – by each of us as we open our hearts, our minds, our bodies to the mystery of God’s love.
1 John 3:7-10; John 1:35-42
"What are you looking for?" Jesus asks Simon Peter and Andrew.
Simon Peter and his brother Andrew were restless. They had become disciples of John the Baptist, hoping he could speak to their restlessness. They were baptized in the Jordan River by John as a sign of repentance. Yet John's baptism was not enough. They were looking for more.
1 John 2:29-3:6; Psalm 98:1,3CD-4, 5-6; John 1:29-34
Today is the 9th day of Christmas! We are still very much in the Christmas season, yet the stores have taken Christmas off the shelves and reduced the merchandise greatly – Valentine and, in some stores, even Easter decorations hang. The truth is that the commercial part of Christmas is over yet the church calendar shows that we are still waiting for those three wise men to arrive at the stable. My nativity scenes still shine brightly – we are still waiting. In the traditional Christmas carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas, nine ladies are dancing (in additional to the eight maids-a-milking and all those birds!). Indeed, it is time for continued celebration; we should be dancing and thrilled with our Christmas gift, the baby Jesus. However, we must also think about the implications of that gift – are we going to keep it but stuff it away someplace and then on rare occasions we will “take it out” to ask for favors? Are we not even going to accept the gift and, instead, just leave it under the tree? Or, are we going to fully embrace it – basking in its bright light? Will we dance and sing and revel in our good fortune?
1 John 2:22-28
Psalm 98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4
The readings today carry the theme of being “anointed/baptized,” and in our baptism we receive and are asked to be true to our faith. The readings also encourage us to be joyful and to share our faith and belief in God with others.
Rome, 1 January 2019
Once again, we meet on the edge of time: the old year goes away and a new one comes. Not everything in our lives happens at once, at the same time, immediately. We need a rhythm of events. Every year gives us this rhythm, which makes order in our life, purifies us and allows us to touch real life.
Mother of God mosaic icon in the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Philadelphia
MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE
FOR THE CELEBRATION OF THE
52nd WORLD DAY OF PEACE
1 JANUARY 2019
Good politics is at the service of peace
1. “Peace be to this house!”
In sending his disciples forth on mission, Jesus told them: “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you” (Lk 10:5-6).
Bringing peace is central to the mission of Christ’s disciples. That peace is offered to all those men and women who long for peace amid the tragedies and violence that mark human history.The “house” of which Jesus speaks is every family, community, country and continent, in all their diversity and history. It is first and foremost each individual person, without distinction or discrimination. But it is also our “common home”: the world in which God has placed us and which we are called to care for and cultivate.
So let this be my greeting at the beginning of the New Year: “Peace be to this house!”
1 John 2:18-21; John 1:1-18
1. He Came to His Own: Our God came looking for us. “It is not that we have loved God, but that he has first loved us” (Cf. 1 John 4:10). What is it that so attracts God to us? The Bible uses images of the love of a spouse or a parent to help us understand how deeply God desires to make us his own. He knows that this is where our true happiness lies. Often, he looks for man in mysterious ways, but in Jesus Christ he plainly shows himself and his desire to be with us. Do I appreciate the gift of the Incarnation? Do I understand a bit better each day how humbly and powerfully God looks for my love?