The Epiphany of the Lord January 6, 2019

The Epiphany of the Lord

Reading 1 IS 60:1-6

Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem!  Your light has come,
the glory of the Lord shines upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth,
and thick clouds cover the peoples;
but upon you the LORD shines,
and over you appears his glory.
Nations shall walk by your light,
and kings by your shining radiance.
Raise your eyes and look about;
they all gather and come to you:
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.

Then you shall be radiant at what you see,
your heart shall throb and overflow,
for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you,
the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.
Caravans of camels shall fill you,
dromedaries from Midian and Ephah;
all from Sheba shall come
bearing gold and frankincense,
and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm PS 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13.
R. (cf. 11)  Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
The kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts;
the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute.
All kings shall pay him homage,
all nations shall serve him.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Reading 2 EPH 3:2-3A, 5-6

Brothers and sisters:
You have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace
that was given to me for your benefit,
namely, that the mystery was made known to me by revelation.
It was not made known to people in other generations
as it has now been revealed
to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit:
that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body,
and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
 

AlleluiaMT 2:2

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 2:1-12

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod,
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.”
When King Herod heard this,
he was greatly troubled,
and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people,
He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea,
for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler,
who is to shepherd my people Israel.”

Then Herod called the magi secretly
and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said,
“Go and search diligently for the child.
When you have found him, bring me word,
that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way

Solemnity of Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God
[January 1, 2019] Luke 2:16-21

mary and jesus - javaneseSome of us may wonder why the Church places the celebration of the solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God on January 1, or on the New Year. One may guess that the Church wants us to attend mass on the first day of the year, so as to start the year right. For those who wish to have a long holiday, it might be pretty a killjoy, but for some of us who wish to be blessed for the entire year, it is a nice thought. Yet, surely there is something deeper than that.

One reason is that the Church invites us all to reflect on the past year with gratitude as we count our blessings, and thus, we are able to look forward with faith and hope. In the Gospel, Mary is depicted as someone who always keeping things in heart and reflecting them (see Luk 2:19). Like Mary, we are asked to pause for a while on the momentous day of the year and ponder God’s works in our lives.

Another reason that I think more fundamental is that it is proper to conclude the Christmas octave with the Solemnity of Mother of God. “Octave” simply means eight, and in the Church’s liturgy, it means eight days prolonged celebration of particular grand events in the Church like Easter and Christmas. Like Christmas octave cover December 25 till January 1. If at Christmas day, we are celebrating the birth of Jesus, at the end of the Octave, we are celebrating the woman who gave birth to Jesus. Without a mother who receives the baby in her womb, carries the baby for nine months, and gambles her life in the process of delivery, a baby will not be born. In short, without Mary, there will be no Jesus.

To become a mother is a natural part of being a woman, and yet despite being natural, it remains a very difficult process for a woman. I am not a woman, but I can tell that it is a life of sacrifice because to take care of Br. Ruseno can cause a lot of high blood pressure! It is true that not all mother is perfect. Some have their own share of weakness and mistake, but the mere fact a mother has decided to give birth to her child, she has put her life on the line.

Now if to become the mother of any human being is super tough, how about to become the mother of God? We learn from Mary herself. She was pregnant out of wedlock, and this may lead people to stone her to death. She gave birth to Jesus in a dirty stable without professional help. This may cause her life. She raised the child Jesus who was often beyond her comprehension. Ultimately, she would witness with her own eyes how her only son was humiliated, tortured, and crucified. What a painful experience to bury one’s, own child! Simeon’s prophecy that a sword shall pierce Mary’s soul turned to be a reality (see Luk 2:35).

Indeed, Mary is most blessed among women, in fact among all human beings, but her blessedness does not mean an easy life. In fact, it is the opposite! St. Teresa of Avila once asked God, why He gives so many sufferings to His saints. God answered that it was the way He treated His friends. Then, St. Teresa replied, “That is why you do not have many friends!”

To become a mother is a blessing, but God’s blessing does not mean an easy life. God’s blessing means the opportunity and ability to love. To love despite challenges and trials of life, to give even when it hurts, and to sacrifice when it counts. At this New Year, we are celebrating the motherhood of Mary, indeed the motherhood of every woman. It is a Mothers’ Day in the Church. We pray for every mother that they may be blessed with the gift of love, and we also are given the same blessing in this year.

Amidst our pressing concerns & activities, we may become so busy that we often lose sight of d divine in d mundane things. Look around & see Jesus in pipol, places & events and declare in faith: I have found d Messiah. Or simply allow him 2 find u

 

In an outburst of praise & thankfulness, Mary recalled & enumerated d good things d Lord has done 2 Wat’s in d name of Jesus? It means goodness, triumph over evil, sin & death. It brngs salvation & givs freedom 2 b chldren of God. That’s y d children of d world hate him. Dnt fear 2 carry his name. Fear that by it ul be condemned.her & 2 His pipol. Like Mary, count & appreciate ur blessings. Thankfulness is a secret to happiness. Be grateful. Be joyful.

Wat’s in d name of Jesus? It means goodness, triumph over evil, sin & death. It brngs salvation & givs freedom 2 b chldren of God. That’s y d children of d world hate him. Dnt fear 2 carry his name. Fear that by it ul be condemned.

Wen in crisis or difficulties, some ppol resort 2 stress eating, go into sports or other activities. Like Joseph, w/ confidence in God, we can sleep on our troubles. God is in control

Today’s readings teach us how 2 rejoice: 1st Rdg & Resp. Ps: -God is in & among u/ur midst 2nd Rdg: -by kindness & thanksgiving Gospel: -generously share wat u hav -be fair & just -dnt take advantage of pipol -be contented -be humble like John Rejoice!

John’s greatness is the greatness of being Jesus’ precursor & the greatness of courage. Introduce Jesus to others like John. Fearlessly denounce injustice, immorality & sins on any given chance.

Imagine losing some pipol u love for years. And for God, imagine losing us 4 eternity. That’s why He looks 4 us & rejoices in finding us. Help those who seem lost in life. Bring them bak 2 God.

Life cn intoxicate us w/ material or spiritual desires tht either we possess or possess us. Stay sober & moderate. Vice & sin destroy. Discipline urself b4 it’s too late

Leaving the boat & their father, the disciples are entering into a new way of living & relationship. Don’t be intimidated by anything new when Jesus is with you. He is the new “new” that calls you to a better “new” you.

Persecutions, like problems in life, may be viewed as difficulties to run away from. But they may also be taken as opportunities to grow, to shine & to be better. Never fear pain & sufferings. They are chances for us to gain the “championship ring”.

The end-time that Jesus predicted may frighten us. But there is one consolation. It’s not going to take place at once. That means we have time to prepare, to repent, to love. Let not what’s scary make you worry.

Generosity is not about wealth or poverty. It is the attitude of giving not what we have but what and who we are. You are generous for who you are, not how much you give.

Jesus knew what wud happen to Jerusalem & its pipol & the causes of d bad events to come. Stay close to Jesus. Do what he commands u to do. Sufferings & pains wud come, but obeying him makes us safe & sound.

What the wicked servant said to the king was used against him. The king condemned him for his own words. Be careful of ur action & words. They may be used against you. Say & do only what builds others up & makes a better you.

To pray persistently like the widow in the parable, wanting swift justice to be served, demands a strong faith. Whatever it is u are asking from God, just dnt giv up praying. His timing is perfect. Just wait in faith.

Pipol are always running in pursuit of many things, even in matters of faith: in haste of finding God, His presence or His answer 2 their prayers. Believe & stay calm. Live & promote the gospel values of life & love. There God is found.

Gratitude is an attitude. It does not come frm one’s nationality, religion, profession or education. It is an expression of appreciation 4 a favor or blessing received or evn anticipated. Say thank you 2day. Evriday.

Jesus wants us to watch out & be careful. He knows that committing sin is inevitable. But to cause others to sin is 4 him more woeful & terrible. Bring others to God & not to the devil.

How many lost souls hav we found & brought back 2 God? Have we exerted efforts, like a shepherd, 2 lead them back 2 Him? Is someone in ur family or circle of friends in need of guidance & direction? Dnt be indifferent. Do something.

Fr. Ramon T. Salibay, O.P.

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