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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Worship and Stars (NOT worshiping stars!)

The reason we love the feast of epiphany, is because we see in this story that we are able to make an offering and give something back to God. Perhaps we get discouraged because we feel at times inadequate in our relationship with God - that have we to offer, when He had everything and gives us everything? Perhaps parents could understand this example: a little child fix of his father to give him $25 so that he can buy a gift for his father. The father, keeping of his own goods does not feel this is a sacrifice, interest to receive something from his son: an active true and sincere love.
The opportunity to offer worship to God is a gift that he gives us. God loves us so much, that he gives us things that we can offer back to him. And the act of giving it back to him in worship (in the Mass, private prayer, acts of charity, etc.) is something that brings us our deepest joy because it establishes a relationship, the most important relationship. It is a symbol of putting back together the brokenness of sin which had shattered the harmony of our souls. We need to worship. We don't feel whole if we don't have something to worship. As I've said before, we were created with a throne in our hearts, and if God is not placed there, then we, whether consciously or not, will choose something else to fill it – we simply can't live without it.
People in our world, like the wise men, are desperately searching for the right thing to worship. They are looking, they are longing, they are dreaming to discover the answer to The deep questions of their hearts. Do we make up the meaning of life? Do we choose among various solutions to what life is all about? Or is it something we have to seek, and find? The answer to those questions is not a thing or piece of information, but rather, a person. If we don't give up on the journey, if we don't let those dreams of ours die, if we keep searching until the end, our restless hearts will find that the Lord Jesus answers those questions. He reveals to us that life is worth living, that God exists, and that, as Pope Francis recently said, “when all is said and done, we are infinitely loved.” (Evangelii Guadium #4)
That star which draws the wise men to Christ is a good symbol for evangelization. We are called to be like that star in the sky, that leads people to Jesus, not like a cloud that darkens their travels, not like a king Herod who becomes an obstacle and tries to destroy it because he is so focused on himself and the power that he temporarily holds.

The Saints are said in the Book of the Prophet Daniel to be like stars in the sky: “the wise will shine like the splendor of the firmament, and those who lead the common people to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.” (Daniel 12:3) So, is there a star out there for you...leading you to the answer to your deepest longings, to the healing of your woundedness, to the joy beyond all telling that is Christ Our Lord? What saint will be guiding you this year? My saint is Margaret Mary Alacoque of France, who promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I encourage you to get a saint, a big brother or sister. Let those stars in the sky bring us to Christ, so that we can also shine that light in our world that leads others to the heart of true worship and the answer to their deepest longings and questions.

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