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Posts Tagged ‘Epiphany’


Monday, January 6, 2020

Matthew 9:35-38: The Compassion of Jesus

sheep-with-shepherd[1]A year ago we looked at these verses and today they pop up again. When familiar scripture returns we have the opportunity to look a bit deeper – and today is no exception.  A year ago we looked at the meaning of Epiphany, the state of being surprised by something we already know but have not yet acknowledged.  Today we fast forward to watch Jesus at work among the crowds who throng to him now that the word has spread about his healing goodness.  When we look more closely at these few short verses, where is the epiphany for us?  Where is the surprise?

What is it that moves Jesus to grow into one who heals the blind, deaf, mute and diseased? At the sight of the crowds . . .

When is it that we see Jesus in our own lives?  When is he beside us on the bus or train? When does he ride in the back seat of the car?  When does he work in the cubicle down the row?  When does he stand in the grocery line with us?   At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them . . .

Why is it that Jesus continually forgives, consistently shows mercy and always delivers justice?  Why do we shrink from his offer of relationship when we are rejected by others?  Why do we turn away from the source of all goodness when we are distressed? At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned . . .

How is it that God walks among us healing constantly, consoling always and touching our lives with many small miracles and we do not see?  At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. 

Jesus comes to us to mend and console.  This is not surprising when we read his story.  This is no Epiphany.

God gives us the choice to follow or reject Christ.  This is not surprising when we consider how much God loves us.  Neither is this is an Epiphany.

The Spirit accompanies and protects us at all times.  This is not surprising when we remember the promise of the cross.  Not even this is an Epiphany when we know the Gospel story.

At the sight of the crowds . . . We are only one in a crowd of billions and yet God knows our smallest needs and greatest hopes.  Perhaps this is our Epiphany.  God so loves us that he sends his only child into the world to retrieve and shepherd us.  Christ so loves us that he is willing to redeem us.  Christ’s compassion knows no bounds . . . so let us then respond to God’s call with our own Epiphany.  Let us surprise ourselves . . . and follow willingly.


A re-post from January 6, 2013.

To read an interesting blog post on what it means to be Sheep, click on the image above or go to: http://tndickersondiaries.blogspot.com/2011/02/and-we-think-were-so-smart.html

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Philippians 3:7-11Righteousness in Christ

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Written on January 7, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite . . .

When the cup is empty it is full.  When it is dark it is light.  When we are weak we are strong.  Christ is inversion.

We must empty ourselves of self in order to make room for Christ.  If we do not let him in, how can we belong to him?  How can we act in and for him?  Christ is constantly calling us to the openness and the selflessness that he knows we can achieve.

The reflection before Mass in MAGNIFICAT this morning is important for us to hear: Once Jesus Christ is manifested in the world in the Epiphany, once the revelation is made that the “Kingdom of heaven is at hand”, everything changes.  And the sign of it is this: we can keep Christ’s commandments.  By doing so, we remain in him, and he in us.  There is One in us who is greater than the one who is the world.  In short, we belong to God.  That belonging changes everything.

The Kingdom of God is at hand.  It is not floating in some distant future time.  It is now.  And we have work to do in this kingdom.

We belong to God.  And as God’s loving and beloved creatures, we seek to both console and be consoled.  We search for this perfect intimacy with God . . . but it has already been given to us as gift.

That belonging changes everything.  And so we must change everything.  When the cup is empty it is full. When it is dark it is light.  When we are weak we are strong.  Christ is inversion.  We must live and act in him.


IA re-post from

Images from: http://rosemaryl.blogspot.com/2010/09/light-in-darkness-blog-carnival-round-2.html and http://www.okcure.org/links__resources

Cameron, Peter John.  MAGNIFICAT. 8.1 (2008): 102. Print.  

A re-post from January 12, 2012. 

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Matthew 2:1-12: Do Not Fear – Part XIV

Sunday, January 8, 2017

tissot-the-magi-in-the-house-of-herod-719x596x721

James Tissot: The Magi in the House of Herod

Matthew describes divergent reactions to the news that a new king has come to Judea. Scholars from the east spend time and finances looking for this new leader. King Herod and the city of Jerusalem show us a different response. What is our own reaction to this news?

Magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”

When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

In the Day by Day meditation presented in today’s MAGNIFICAT, Fr. Alfred Delp has more words for us about the magi. They are the men with clear eyes that probe things to their very depths. They have a real hunger and thirst for knowledge. And we might ask . . . what is our own hunger? After what do we thirst?

Delp’s words mean more to us when we remember that he died in a Nazi concentration camp: I know what that means now. They are capable of arriving at right decisions. They subordinate their lives to the end in view and they willingly journey to the ends of the earth in quest of knowledge, following a star, a sign, obeying an inner voice that would never have made itself heard but for the hunger and the intense alertness that hunger produces. And we might ask ourselves . . . are we willing to subordinate our lives to such a quest? Are we willing to give up the familiarity of our fears to follow the star, the sign that Christ wants to move and act in us? Do we genuinely welcome the newness of the Christ child? Are we willing to accept this gift of Epiphany, this revelation, this surprise?

More from Delp: What are we looking for anyway? And where will we find genuine yearning so strong that neither fatigue, nor distance, nor fear of the unknown, nor loneliness, nor ridicule will deter us? And we might ask . . . are we willing to take on these questions each day as we rise, each Noontime as we pause, and each evening as we retire?

Herod responds to this mystery of knowledge, redemption and love with his familiar fears. He flies into a rage and lashes out at this child who represents something new. The magi, on the other hand, tell us how to take in the gift of this child who grows to be a man willing to sacrifice all in order to save us.

bhreligion-science-and-the-journey-of-the-magiThey rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way.

As we close this Christmastide, we reflect on our willingness to give our fears to the Christ who is able to turn harm into good. As we carry this season of joy into the new year, we consider our openness to the journey of life in Christ, the quest for a food that satisfies for eternity. And we consider our persistence in the pursuit of the star that will lead us to Christ and his surprising offer of eternal peace. This is an Epiphany worth celebrating.

For a homily on spirituality versus religion, and today’s feast as a journey of seeking – our quest for God, and God’s relentless quest for our hearts, click on the image of the Magi and the Holy Family. 

Cameron, Peter John. “Day by Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 8.1 (2017): 115-116. Print.  

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Psalm 56: Do Not Fear – Part XII

Friday, January 6, 2017

Jacob Wet: Adoration of the Magi

Jacob Wet: Adoration of the Magi

Today is the traditional close of the Twelve Days of Christmas, a day when many cultures celebrate the arrival of the three magi in Bethlehem. In some countries, children place hay-filled shoes outside their front doors to feed the camels of the kings as they pass by on their journey to the Messiah. In the morning, children find that the camels have eaten the hay and the kings have left presents behind in thanks.

The official name of this celebration is Epiphany, a word coming from the Greek word meaning “to reveal”. Our Merriman Webster English definitions are: a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something, an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking, an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure, a revealing scene or moment, an appearance or manifestation especially of a divine being. Today, on this traditional close of Christmas – a day when God surprises us with the revelation of Jesus’ divinity – we might put aside our fears to understand the full impact of this gift.

Sandro Botticelli: The Adoration of the Magi

Sandro Botticelli: The Adoration of the Magi

In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?

Psalm 56 is one we might keep close to hand in 2017 as our personal and public lives unfold. The psalmist speaks to God – just as we might – to tell God that foes trample and oppress him; enemies lie in wait while the mighty and proud dominate his world. The psalmist’s words are distorted; adversaries lurk; opponents plot to end his life. Wickedness, anger, tears, and wanderings. The psalmist records the offenses of a lifetime but rather than despair, he gives his worries to God. Like the psalmist we might place our own woes in our shoes beyond the door as if they were stalks of hay or straw, trusting that the king of kings will exchange them for the promise of restoration.

Your vows are binding upon me, O God; I will render thank offerings to You. For you have delivered my soul from death, indeed my feet from stumbling, so that I may walk before God in the light of the living.

Today, as we reflect on the psalmist’s words, we ask ourselves, “How do we best prepare to enter the land of the living?”

Quentin Metsys: The Adoration of the Magi

Quentin Metsys: The Adoration of the Magi

Throughout Christmastide, we have reflected on the many times and the many ways the Living God assures us that we need not be afraid. Let us keep God’s wisdom always in our hearts and minds as our refuge and rock. Let us keep the centering presence of Christ always as our beginning and our end. And let us keep the healing indwelling of the Spirit as our homing guide.

When we explore other versions of these verses, we begin to understand how we might practice placing our fears in the restorative hands of the eternal, Living God.

Definition from: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epiphany 

For more on the Feast of the Epiphany, visit:  http://catholicism.about.com/od/holydaysandholidays/p/Epiphany.htm 

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Monday, January 6, 2014

Jan de Bray: The Adoration of the Magi

Jan de Bray: The Adoration of the Magi

Matthew 2:1-12

Radiant

 Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Gold for the king of kings.  Frankincense for the priest of priests.  Myrrh for the death that is life, for the child who brings life eternal.  This is our proof of God’s love.  Knowing this truth, we live confidently now and forever.  Living this truth, we become radiant in Christ.

This is the gift of being Christmas people.

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.  (Isaiah 60:5-6)

the-magi[1]Click on Midian, Ephah and Sheba to learn more about these places.

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