The Sacred Scriptures recount that the Messiah was seen first by His mother Mary, her husband Joseph, and then by the shepherds. Since the covenant made by God was made with the people of Israel, it was fitting that those to witness with their eyes the fulfillment of that covenant should be of that people, that is, Jewish. But God’s plan was for the salvation of all mankind, Jews and gentiles alike. The Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord commemorates the manifestation of the Son of God to the gentile world, represented by the wise men from the east. Though the Gospel does not identify them by name or number, tradition fixes their number at three (to match the number of the gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh) and has given them the names of Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. We have prepared blessed incense and chalk, along with the prayer and a brief history of the tradition of blessing the home for the new year, so that you may bless your homes on this feast of the Epiphany. You will find these packets in a basket near the crèche in the back of church.
The mission of the Church is to continue what was initiated at the Epiphany. We are to spread the good news of the Gospel to the entire world. Typically, we think it is the work of missionaries to fulfill that mission. And Catholics in the United States traditionally have been generous in supporting the work of missionaries. But it is becoming increasingly evident that we need to make manifest the message of Christ here. Do you often feel uncomfortable about living or sharing your faith with others? Do you allow the pressure of the secular culture to intimidate you into remaining silent in matters in which your faith applies? Maybe one of your “New Year’s Resolutions” should be to more vigorously live your faith so that your family and others can see that you believe. An additional way is to listen to Catholic radio and encourage others to do so. Relevant Radio can be heard locally at 93.9 FM, on Android or Apple apps, and at www.relevantradio.com on the internet.
On behalf of Deacon Jerry Ruesch and all the staff, I want to thank you for the many cards and gifts we received at Christmas. Be assured of our prayers for a continued Blessed Christmas Season and a Holy New Year!
May God bless you!