This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, the last Sunday in the Christmas cycle this year. Today’s Gospel passage from Matthew recounts the familiar story of the magi who followed the star to give homage to the newborn King. In their travels, they stopped in Jerusalem to inquire of Herod where they could find this king whose star they had seen at its rising. Herod really had no idea so he consulted the chief priests and scribes who knew the answer: in Bethlehem of Judea. As Herod became increasingly unsettled by the news, he began to scheme: he was up to no good. The Magi eventually become aware of this. The significance of this story in which the magi (from the east) give homage to Jesus and present him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh is that salvation is for all people, not a select few. God’s love is all-inclusive; no one is excluded from his love and his grace. As members of the Body of Christ, we, too, need to be inclusive of all, reach out to all, and minister to all. There are no exceptions. This week let us reflect upon our love for others. Is it inclusive or does it have “conditions” or “exceptions” to it?
I would like to take the opportunity this last Sunday of the Christmas Season to express my gratitude and appreciation to all who remembered me in a special way this Christmas. Thanks you for your cards, your kind notes of gratitude and affirmation, the variety of goodies you baked, the Masses offered, the donations made to the CSJs, the gift cards, monetary gifts, and all the other very thoughtful gifts I received. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your generosity and your support of me and my ministry.
Please remember to mark your calendars for Thursday, January 25 at 7:00 PM. On that date, Bishop Cistone will be present at Saint John Paul II Parish for the Holy Hour (which he celebrates throughout the diocese at a different parish each month). Prayer during the Holy Hour consists of song, time for both private prayer before the Blessed Sacrament along with communal prayer (including a litany and prayer for vocations), a Scripture Reading, a homily by the bishop, and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
Pastoral Care Workshop 101, sponsored by the Christian Service Office of the diocese, is taking place on January 31 this month at Christ the Good Shepherd Parish. I encourage all those who take Holy Communion to the Sick and Homebound to participate in this day of formation and enrichment if you are able. Please see details in today’s bulletin.
Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ