Monday, January 23, 2006


On that first Christmas night, the angels sang out: “JOY TO THE WORLD!” Saint Paul in his letter to the Colossians read on the Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, exhorts us to have this joy and peace constantly. He invites the “Elect of God” to live holy and virtuous lives. If we are to be followers of Jesus, Paul tells us, we must live as Jesus taught us to live. Christian conduct must radiate “humility, modesty, patience: bearing with one another and forgiving one another.” Jesus, the Son of God, shows us the way.

The Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord commemorates the fact that Jesus Christ has made Himself known to mankind. The word epiphany comes from the Greek word meaning a manifestation of divinity. Through the Church’s liturgy, the Holy Spirit gives us assurances us that the Child, born of the Virgin, is indeed the promised Messiah!

The Gospel on the Feast of the Epiphany relates the story of the Three Magi who came to adore Him. This is an EPIPHANY, a manifestation, that the Christ Child is the Son of God; He is a Divine Savior. It is the first of three historical events recorded in the Gospels to illustrate this fact. In the First Reading Isaiah tells us: "Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come . . . See, darkness covers the earth . . . but upon you the Lord shines."

Jesus Christ is "the Light of the World" who illumines a world filled with the darkness of sin. Our savior drives out the wickedness and evil of the world just as He dispelled the demons in the Gospels. As His followers, we must allow His grace to fill our hearts so that wickedness is driven out of our lives.

The second major epiphany, manifestation invoked by the liturgy is the Baptism of the Lord. As Jesus emerges from the baptismal waters, God the Father identifies Him. He also gives the corresponding obligation of accepting this revelation. "This is my beloved Son! Hear Him!" At every Mass, the Priest lifts high the Host and repeats the words of John the Baptist: "Ecce Angus Dei qui tollit peccata mundi - - - Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world."

Our Lord's mission was the Redemption! This is why He came into the world. He did not come as a political, social or economic reformer. Indeed, if men would follow His Gospel, none of our social evils would exist. Yet, the Messiah’s essential mission was to save us from the dominion of Satan, slavery to sin and the punishment of death, eternal death. Jesus Christ, the Messiah is the Son of God. He is a Divine Person, true God and true Man. He is Emmanuel, God with us!

The third major epiphany, manifestation telling us that Jesus Christ is the Divine Savior who has come into the world is the wonderful story of the Wedding Feast of Cana. At Cana, the God/Man turns water into wine, a clear epiphany, manifestation of His divine power. By an act of His will, a blush comes over the water and it turns into the rich red of the choicest wines. So too, he will change our hearts from sin to virtue, if only we would let His grace radiate into our hearts. Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior! He is our God! As the Centurion who plunged the spear into His side on Calvary said: “Truly this man is the Son of God!”

Father Richard J. Rego, S.T.L.


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