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A sign of unity The Epiphany of the Lord 2021

                                                                A sign of unity

The Epiphany of the Lord 2021

January 2, 2022

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


The feast of Epiphany signifies that God’s plan of salvation is announced and available to the entire world, to the Jew and Gentile alike. Each individual, not a group of people or a class, has to look for the signs that salvation is accessible to each person, and the sign that we look for – the person of Jesus, given to us an infant, and who is the one who will lead all of humankind out of darkness into the light of God’s love. 


While salvation, from the very start, was offered to all individuals across the whole world, our Church, as it developed throughout the centuries, began to restrict its notion of who could be saved. Through the deliberations of the Second Vatican Council, the Church righted itself and began in earnest its ecumenical dialogue. 


The Catholic Church veered from its ecumenical stance during the Catholic Reformation in the Council of Trent. For nearly five hundred years, the Catholic Church defined itself in opposition to the Protestant churches, excommunicated its members, mostly forbid intermarriage, and would not allow Catholics to associate with a person of a different faith or to step inside a Protestant church. The Decree on Ecumenism at the Council sought to restore unity among the churches, including Eastern Churches and our siblings within the Protestant churches. It also sought greater respect and appreciation with the Jewish and Muslim faiths, and increased dialogue with other traditions. Sincere and genuine dialogue is necessary for increased understanding and acceptance. 


Christian unity stands as one of the most important concerns of the Second Vatican Council, and acknowledges that division hurts that unity. Unity has always been one of the prime concerns of the church. Through the Holy Spirit, Catholics and separated siblings can still enjoy communion because we are united by Christ who redeemed the whole world. We have common beliefs and similar roots. It is also a call for humble dialogue and understanding with other faith traditions so that we honor the work of the Spirit in the lives of others as they experience religious liberty. What does our church call us to? Holiness. Other faith traditions call their members to holiness as well, and we have to see ourselves as siblings to one another. 


Epiphany reveals the holiness of life to the world. The three sages, who wer not Jews, see the sign, the infant in the manger, and they realized that he was God’s sign of love for the world. The experience called them to deeper holiness, just as our Christmas celebrations call us to holiness. Christ is the sign of the bond that exists between God and humanity, and each person seeking God will find salvation because of the bonds of holiness we share in common. That is the reason we sing: Glory to God and peace to all people of goodwill. 


Scripture for Daily Mass


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 2: Basil the Great and Gregory Nanzianzen, bishops and doctors (fourth century), are two of the four great doctors of the Eastern Church. They are known for their preaching especially against the Arian heretics. Basil began as a hermit before he was named archbishop of Caesarea. He influenced Gregory who eventually became archbishop of Constantinople. Their teachings influenced both the Roman and Eastern Churches.


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


  • January 2, 1619: At Rome, John Berchmans and Bartholomew Penneman, his companion scholastic from Belgium, entered the Roman College. 
  • January 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. 
  • January 4, 1619: The English mission is raised to the status of a province. 
  • January 5, 1548: Francis Suarez, one of the greatest theologians of the church, was born at Granada. 
  • January 6, 1829: Publication of Pope Leo XII's rescript, declaring the Society to be canonically restored in England. 
  • January 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. 
  • January 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." 


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