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Give away that Light Epiphany 2021

Give away that Light

Epiphany 2021

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January 3, 2021

Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72; Ephesians 3:2-6; Matthew 2:1-12



For Christians, our celebration on the feasts of the Incarnation lead up to the Epiphany, and even beyond, while for much of the world Christmas happened on December 25th. I had phone conversations with a number of people recently who were very sad on Christmas Day because this year’s celebration was not like past years, and then I talked with other people who found something magical this year because they were able to focus upon the mystery that is Christmas. People of faith are able to hold onto mystery, which makes a big difference.


A mystery is a revealed truth about God that can be affirmed in faith, but can never be adequately or completely explained rationally. We hold that mystery in our hearts, and the mystery revealed in today’s feast is that we are one and that we belong to each other. God desires to unite all humanity in Christ whether they believe in him or not. In the first Epiphany, God revealed that the Gentiles are co-heirs with the Jews, co-partners in the promise of salvation offered through Christ. 


Epiphany gives us our mission because we have to bring the light of Christ to people whose hearts are darkened. We have to bring light to those people who are sad because this Christmas was unlike others; we have to bring light to the Ebenezer Scrooges of our world; we have to bring light to people of goodwill who have parts of their heart darkened by hurt and suffering; we have to bring light to the dark portions of the Herods in our lives, for if someone had loved Herod and assured him that his position in the world was safe, that love would have saved the slaughter of many innocent boys. The power of the light and love into the darkened areas of hearts undoubtedly will erase hatred and violence and to replace it with hope and goodwill.


Each of us, though we are people of goodwill, have darkened places caused by insecurity, lack of insight or understanding, betrayal, or failure, and we try hard to keep those places hidden from everyone, even from ourselves, with memories too painful to recall that we obscure them from our consciousness. It is only when we bring those painful memories and areas of suffering to light that we begin to heal and to gain new insights that give us wisdom. The more light we shine on those areas, the greater the light becomes, and our suffering can be useful in bringing about a greater good for the sake of others who are struggling.


A mystery of God’s light is that it can be shared without diminishing it. The more light we bring to others, the brighter the world becomes. Even when we divide a light, it is never dimmed. This feast proclaims that God’s light is revealed to all nations, and we hope and pray that they accept the light that is Christ. That light in the star of Bethlehem brought the Magi to Christ; Christ beckons us to come and to receive his light. He gives us a light, a fire, that kindles other fires. May our prayer be that Christ’s light touches the dark places of a person’s heart so that they can see the goodwill and joy that is intended for them. 


Scripture for Daily Mass


First Reading:

Monday: (1 John 3) We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us, while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us. This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.


Tuesday: (1 John 4) Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us.


Wednesday: (1 John 4) Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God.
Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.


Thursday: (1 John 4) If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 


Friday (1 John 5) Who is the victor of this world? The one who believes in Jesus, who came through water and Blood, and the Spirit testifies to him.   


Saturday (1 John 5) We have confidence that if we ask anything according to his will, God hears us.



Monday: (Matthew 4) He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people.


Tuesday: (Mark 6) When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already very late.


Wednesday (Mark 6) After the five thousand had eaten and were satisfied, Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And when he had taken leave of them, he went off to the mountain to pray. 


Thursday (Luke 4) Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region. He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.


Friday (Luke 5) It happened that there was a man full of leprosy in one of the towns where Jesus was; and when he saw Jesus, he fell prostrate, pleaded with him, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” 


Saturday (John 3) Jesus and his disciples went into the region of Judea, where he spent some time with them baptizing. John was also baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was an abundance of water there, and people came to be baptized, for John had not yet been imprisoned.


Saints of the Week


January 3: The Name of Jesus was given to the infant as the angel foretold. In the Mediterranean world, the naming of person stood for the whole person. Humans were given the power to name during the Genesis creation accounts. If one honors the name of the person, they honor the person. The name Jesus means “Yahweh saves.”


January 4: Elizabeth Ann Seton, religious (1774-1821), was born into an Episcopalian household where she married and had five children. When her husband died, she became a Catholic and founded a girls’ school in Baltimore. She then founded the Sisters of Charity and began the foundation for the parochial school system in the U.S. She is the first native-born American to be canonized.


January 5: John Neumann, bishop (1811-1860), emigrated from Bohemia to New York and joined the Redemptorists in Pittsburgh before being named bishop of Philadelphia. He built many churches in the diocese and placed great emphasis on education as the foundation of faith.


January 6: Andre Bessette, religious (1845-1937), was born in Quebec, Canada. He joined the Congregation of the Holy Cross and taught for 40 years at the College of Notre Dame. He cared for the sick and was known as a intercessor for miracles. He built St. Joseph’s Oratory, a popular pilgrimage site in Canada.


January 7: Raymond of Penyafort, priest (1175-1275), was trained in philosophy and law and was ordained in 1222 to preach to the Moors and Christians. Though he was appointed bishop of Tarragon, he declined the position. Instead he organized papal decrees into the first form of canon law. He was later elected Master of the Dominican Order. 


This Week in Jesuit History


  • Jan. 3, 1816: Fr. General Brzozowski and 25 members of the Society, guarded by soldiers, left St. Petersburg, Russia, having been banished by the civil government. 
  • Jan. 4, 1619: The English mission is raised to the status of a province. 
  • Jan. 5, 1548: Francis Suarez, one of the greatest theologians of the church, was born at Granada. 
  • Jan. 6, 1829: Publication of Pope Leo XII's rescript, declaring the Society to be canonically restored in England. 
  • Jan. 7, 1566: Cardinal Ghislieri was elected pope as Pius V. He was a great friend of the Francis Borgia and appointed Salmeron and Toletus as apostolic preachers at the Vatican. He desired to impose the office of choir on the Society and even ordered it. He was canonized as St. Pius V. 
  • Jan. 8, 1601: Balthasar Gracian was born. A Spanish Jesuit, he wrote on courtly matters. He is the author of "The Compleat Gentleman" and "The Art of Worldly Wisdom." 
  • Jan. 9, 1574: Fr. Jasper Haywood died at Naples. He was superior of the English mission. As a boy he was one of the pages of honor to the Princess Elizabeth. After a brilliant career at Oxford, he renounced his fellowship and entered the Society in Rome in 1570. An able Hebrew scholar and theologians, he was for two years professor in the Roman College.


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