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Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
January 8, 2006
The Manifestation of Light for All to See

    The feast we celebrate this week is the feast of the Epiphany.  Not too many years ago the feast was celebrated on January 6th but since that time the church decided that it was more important to situate the feast on a Sunday, regardless of the date.  The 6th of January is the reason for the song “the 12 days of Christmas”.  According to the church calendar, Christmas Day is the beginning of the Christmas season, (not the end), and at one time, it came to an end on January 6.
     The feast of the Epiphany had it origins in the Eastern Church.  The celebration centered on the Baptism of Jesus.  Years later the Roman Church adopted the feast but focused on the theme of Jesus’ manifestation to the Gentiles.  Thus, the three kings or the Magi that we are all so familiar with.  What exactly is the point of the feast?  Surely we cannot limit ourselves to the fact that three wise men took a journey as they followed a star.  Over the centuries there have been many discussions about these men.  Were they kings? Were they wise?  Were they astronomers who were simply curious about a heavenly body shedding more light than usual?  No one really knows and perhaps we should not waste more energy than need be on these points. 
   
    The Gospel of Matthew is the only gospel to have the account of the Wise Men.  Matthew no doubt had a reason for including this story.  The fact that the visitors were made to come from other locations, not necessary from the orient, tells us that God invited all peoples to his coming, not only the Jews living in Palestine. This is indeed an important part of the feast.  By the visit of the strangers from foreign lands, God is manifesting His arrival for all peoples.  Through Matthew’s account we learn that we were included in God’s plan from the very beginning.  This is a very important fact.

    Facts are always good but the application of the feast is probably more important.  How can this feast make a difference in our lives?  Columba Marmion, a Belgium monk who lived at the turn of the 20th century, sees this feast as a beautiful inspiration for us as pilgrim believers.  Rather than look at the Magi as rich kings bringing gifts to a baby, Marmion sees them as men who were being faithful to the inspiration of grace in their lives.  They did not succumb to doubt nor to the indifference or skepticism that may have surrounded them.  They did not give up when the light of the star disappeared.  They kept on treading despite the difficulties and dangers that may have assailed them. 

    This is what the feast of the Epiphany is about for us.  We are reminded that God has come to us and continues to come on a daily basis if we let him in.  If we listen and are attentive to his voice, we will hear Him call and inspire us to follow the light.  There will be days of doubt and darkness, even temptation to follow the indifferent crowd. Like the Magi, we must continue in spite of everything.  This is our calling.  This is the life we have committed ourselves to as followers of Christ. 

    Have we seen the light?  Do we want to follow it to see where it will lead us?  Do we dare or do we want to ignore it?  It is our choice.  Are we wise enough to make the right decision?
                                Lorette P. Nault