My dear friends in Christ, as our Christmas celebration comes to a close tomorrow, you and I, having celebrated for these last few weeks, the coming of the light into the darkness. Born in the poverty and silence of Bethlehem, the Church asks us to reflect on who this light truly is, so that we might be the messengers of glad tidings in a world that awaits His coming.
And so we celebrate the Mystery of the Epiphany.
Epiphany, in Greek my friends, means to “come to the light”. And so the Church asks us to sit before the light and reflect on who He really is. And there are three Epiphanies. Today we celebrate the first. With the coming of the Magi, the three great mystical Kings of the East who came following their right reason, but came to Bethlehem as a symbol that
all the nations of the earth are destined to kneel before this little child.
For the light came into the world to give hope to every human heart of every race, language, and nation. He came to give hope to saints and sinners. He came so that the day would come when all creation is healed, that every king, queen, president, nation, organization, institution, every country, continent, and land will kneel and acknowledge who He
And you and I come to kneel on this day in imitation of the three kings before the light of the world, to offer not gold, frankincense, and myrrh, the signs of His kingship, priesthood, and the fact that He would lay down His life. But to offer our lives to Him, that we might be faithful to Him and proclaim who He is: the hope of the world.
But He is more than that. For tomorrow, my friends, the Church will end the Christmas season celebrating the baptism of the Lord. For this child who came is God made man. He is the eternal Son who took on flesh so that you and I might become sons and daughters in His Father. For He came not just to give hope, not just to give a way of life, but to give
eternal life; to break the back of sin and death forever.
For that is what our hearts truly long for. We long for the fullness of joy and love and peace, which this world cannot fully give us.
And so in the moment of baptism, this is my beloved Son in which I am well pleased blessing the waters of the world so that they would be the sacrament (eventually) of baptism. You and I have the hope of eternal life in the light born in Bethlehem.
And lastly my dear friends, the third of the Epiphanies will be next Sunday. You and I will be here together again and will we hear the beautiful account of Jesus at Cana performing the first of his seven Great Miracles in the Gospel of John. In a banquet, in a wedding, reminding us of the Wedding Feast of Heaven – where what does He do? He takes water and miraculously makes it become wine so that, on the night before He died, He might take wine and miraculously make it His sacred body, blood, soul and divinity. So that the promise of eternal life may not be a distant promise but the light comes to dwell in your soul and mine, and feeds your spirit and mind so that you and I, each day, may have the strength to walk to eternal life in Him, the Mystery of the Epiphany.
Who is it that was born in Bethlehem, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, the Son of God, Eternal Savior and Redeemer who has come as food to feed us unto eternal life?
Tuesday we begin ordinary life, ordinary time. So allow me to offer you something to reflect on this week. My friends, in your ordinary life and mine, do we have the courage to preach, to teach, and to witness in our actions who this little boy really is. Are we afraid to Proclaim Him as the King of Kings and the One to whom everyone owes their allegiance? Do you and I hesitate to proclaim to the world and in our actions that we believe that He is God? Not a prophet, not a guru, not a humanitarian, not a teacher of philosophy – He is God made man.
And when we come each Sunday, and each time we come to the altar, do we believe in our heart of hearts? And are we willing to proclaim out in that world that when we come here, in the mystery of grace, we meet Him – this King, this Lord, this Son in His body, blood, soul, and divinity so we might be the friends of the ones He came to befriend. The poor, sick, the lonely, those who are alone, those whom the world has discarded, those who live in the shadows.
My dear friends, the spirit of Christmas does not endure for only a few weeks of the year. The spirit of Christmas is to live in our hearts, always. And we know that to be true to the extent that you and I are willing to proclaim out there that the light has come: the King, Son and the Savior of us all.
Bishop’s Sunday Mass: Bishop Frank J. Caggiano has begun celebrating Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral on Sundays at 8:30 am, and the faithful throughout the diocese are welcome to join him. For those who plan to attend in person, St. Augustine Cathedral is located at 399 Washington Avenue in Bridgeport. The live-stream will be available Sundays at 8:30 am on the St. Augustine Cathedral website (www.thecathedralparish.org), while the replay will be available on the Diocese YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/c/BridgeportDiocese/streams) once Mass concludes.