There is an ancient tradition that is kept in our Roman Missal of chanting today the dates for this year’s moveable feast days. I will sing this now before the homily.
Today in Epiphany we recall three moments in Christ’s life, events that show forth his divine nature in a special way as He embarks upon His public ministry. 1 – The Wise Men come to adore the Christ Child, as you see below in the nativity scene. 2 – Christ’s Baptism where the heavens are open and the Father’s voice is heard as the Spirit descends. And 3 – The First Miracle at the Wedding at Cana.
Although today ends this joyful season of the beginning of our salvation in the Savior’s birth (Monday begins Ordinary Time), the joy of this season lasts all year. Like the wine at Cana, it brims over, because as far as Christmas goes, Jesus is the real gift that keeps on giving.
The mysterious wise men (the Bible doesn’t say how many) represent all of us, seeking out the true king of our hearts, and finding Him in unexpected surroundings. God indeed is a God of good surprises, surprises of love.
Like the gold, frankincense, and myrrh, this infant child deserves a great gift from us, so let us offer what alone He truly deserves: our hearts, our lives, our dreams, our futures, our passion, our thoughts, prayers, works, joys, sufferings, even our littleness and weakness and imperfections. Let us in short, brothers and sisters, offer our entire selves this year to Him.
And the Lord, as I said, keeps on giving to us, and this is exactly what the rest of the Church year is about. We now transition to the Lord’s public ministry before we prepare with Lent for His great victory over death in the holiest days of our calendar. Today God manifests Himself as the infant king, and throughout the year we see what that means in so many varied ways.
But the gift of today is more specific, for today I wish to share with you one of my deep joys, and one of Jesus’ greatest gifts: the Communion of the Saints. Saint Faustina Kowalska recounts a tradition of her convent in Poland that I wish to make new here at our parish: “There is a custom among us of drawing by lot, on New Year’s Day, special Patrons for ourselves for the whole year.” Well, it’s not New Year’s but it is the last chance to squeeze this in as a Christmas gift. So here you go: at the end of Mass, there will be baskets at the three doors of the church with names of all our big brothers and sisters in heaven, part of our family in Christ Jesus, who want to choose you as their own close friend this year. It gives you another person to ask for help, another special day to party, and another great way to grow in your faith as you learn about them. Also it includes a special intention to pray for this year, in connection to the saint’s own mission. May they guide you to know and love Jesus in a new way throughout this year.