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Monday, January 9, 2017

Epiphany! Despite the Confusion of Our Times, He Will Rule With Justice and Truth!

Sermon by Rev. John Paul Shea
The Epiphany of the Lord, Jan 8, 2017
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Tucson, AZ
Today the Church celebrates the awesome celebration of the Epiphany. 

In Ancient Greek, the word for Epiphany is theophany, meaning "vision of God." This was the word used to describe Moses' experience
on Mount Sinai when God gave him the Ten Commandments. There was a fiery flame, reaching to the sky with loud notes of a trumpet! The whole mountain -- wrapped in smoke -- trembled violently! People at the bottom of the mountain trembled in fear.

In today’s Gospel (Matt 2: 1-12), we hear of  epiphany in a different way. It is in the form of a mysterious star. 

The Magi, who were astrologers or what we would call “wise men,” had their eyes fixed in
the heavens looking for the signs of God, which they recognised through a star. 

Even though the Magi were pagans, this star led them to Jesus Christ Light of the World and True King to come.  The Magi opened their hearts to honor the One True God by offering Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Today we celebrate the manifestation of God in our world. Jesus Christ is the True Light and True King who will rule of all the Nations in justice and truth.

Therefore, today’s celebration calls us to rejoice! Today’s first reading (Is 60:1-6) says, “Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come… Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance… 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!”

Let us hear these words of Isaiah! Let us rise
up in spender! Let us proclaim the praises of the Lord! For our Light has come! 

Today’s story reveals another side to the story. There is another individual who wants to be led to Our Lord Jesus Christ. This is King Herod. 

Although the Magi could see the star of our Lord, King Herod could not. Herod could not see past his own desire for power and control. For, the same child, Jesus, that the Magi honoured is the same child that Herod sought to  kill for political gain.

Therefore, Herod, in a sense, represents the dark obstacles that even today seek to prevent the kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Herod can be seen as a player in the battle between good and evil.

This is a cosmic battle. As Saint Paul says in his letter to the Ephesians, “Our struggle is not with flesh and blood, but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.” (Ephesians 6:10-12)
Fr. John Paul Shea
My brothers and sister,  there are all sorts of things that will blind us from recognizing the presence of Our Lord --  materialism,  pornography,  pride,  the desire for money. When we get caught up in the things of the world, then we become blind to the ways in which God is leading us. We become blind to His Star of Truth.

In fact, the guiding star for us is our Church  and her teachings. Let us read the Catechism. Let us know the truth! 

God has also has given us our Blessed Mother. She also is our guiding star. If we devote ourselves to Mary, She always leads
us to Her Son. She always points us in the right direction.

In fact, in our time today, as we await the second coming of Our Lord in all His glory, we need to call upon the protection of our Blessed Mother more than ever! She calls us to repentance and conversion, and to pray the Rosary  because so many souls are being lost.

We have now have begun a new year. It is a very critical time. Do not underestimate our Blessed Mother’s call. We live in a time  of  confusion. Even in our Church, the consequences of sin are denied. 

The final battle between light and darkness is
Exodus, another theophany 
already upon us. 

As we celebrate the Epiphany, let us focus our hearts on the Light. Let us be led by His star. “For darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon [us] the LORD shines, and over [us] appears his glory.” 

Hold firm to our faith so that we may have the protection of obedience and be guided by the Light of Christ at all times. Amen!
Transfiguration, another theophany

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