There is terror everywhere we turn. It is almost as if we are not able to make a move without hearing of tragedies that ultimately could have been avoided. We live in a world that is becoming increasingly full of resentment, hate, and consumed with acts of violence. This is NOT the message that Christ wanted for us. But make no mistake this is the work of Satan and we must find strength to resist it. Now we hear of terror all year long, and most of the time the Catholic Church is swift to come to the aid of those affected, as this is what our faith is founded upon—CHARITY! But when the terror and act of violence comes around the Holiest of Days to the Christian faithful, we must see it for what it is. It is nothing more than the Satan’s attack on the Christian Faithful.
Creating fear and destruction is Satan’s way at getting to us. It is a way to distract us from the message of God, brought to us through Christ our Lord. We must find ways to center ourselves towards the message of the Gospel. We can do this through unity. The Unity with our Brothers and Sisters in Christ. The best way to find this unity is to share in the celebration of the Eucharist. By attending the celebration, and through participation in the most Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist, we develop a strong sense of faith. Through this growth in faith we are able to build up defenses that enable us to guard off and conquer the attacks that Satan sends forth. It is through this personal development that our witness to Christ becomes seen in the community around us. It is from that that we evangelize and bring others to the moving and powerful message of God.
Terror will always exist. It existed in the days of the Early Christians, ending with extreme violence—something that we see echoed even today. However, we cannot let the terror win. We must build our defenses through prayer, meditation, and spiritual growth/development. Only then can we begin to walk the path of defeating the evil and wicked attacks of Satan upon the world.
Please join with me in prayer for those affected by terror and attacks on the Catholic Christian faithful, and Christians all around the world:
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.
So, what is Epiphany (also called Three Kings Day, or the Twelfth Night)? In its simplistic form, Epiphany is the immigration of individuals to see a native place. Around about the 4th century, the celebration of Epiphany was the association of three visiting Magi (what we call the Three Kings) traveling to visit the newborn Jesus in the manger nestled in Bethlehem. With them, as we all know, they bring gifts; gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. [The gifts have meanings Gold=Royal Standing; Frankincense=Divine Birth; Myrrh=Mortality.] But even better is the fact that the word EPIPHANY itself is Greek [not Hebrew] meaning “manifestation’. Already full of irony– the word is not native, but rather a term that was in a sense “immigrated in.”
So where does this lead us to? Well the fact that as the region of Bethlehem was becoming a “sanctuary” for the Magi and even Jesus, the nation itself was in the middle of welcoming refugee and others into their lands. United by their belief that the King of Kings had been born; we see in Christianity’s first moments, the beginnings of what has become Human Days of Dignity–where one group (or one nation) was called upon to welcome others from the outside who bear gifts and have a great gift to bring to this new “nation” united by Christ.
It is fitting that today in the Archdiocese of Louisville we celebrated a Migration Day of Prayer—presided over by Archbishop Joseph Kurtz; and the fact that we also begin to usher in the celebration of Epiphany. As part of those 5 days of Human Dignity (which are scattered thorough this liturgical season) we are called to become more inclusive, to welcome those who come seeking a place of sanctuary as an opportunity to potentially have an encounter with Christ; for it is known through Catholic teaching that we should meet everyone as if they were Christ himself, for we never know if it might be him coming to visit us.
So what should we do? We should welcome all of those into our “nation” that wish to enter. We should find ourselves full of love and embrace for those seeking nothing more than what you or I have. We should realize that it was Mary and Joseph (along with Jesus) that opened up and accepted visitors from all over to live united under the Messiah. We should not be greedy, but instead should offer to share what has been so generously given to us by God, through his one and only Son-born of the Virgin Mary. It is through the acceptance of those who wish to come into the house of the Lord (into our communities) that we may find ourselves close to walking hand-in-hand with Jesus.
So in the end, Epiphany is nothing more than (not minimizing the significance of the event) a remembrance of our call to accept all those that have been called to the feast table by God; and to treat others as we would want to be treated!
So not only Happy Epiphany but HAPPY IMMIGRATION DAY!
Lawrence V. McCrobie