Dear Parish Family:
This week end we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Epiphany of Our Lord. This is one of those ancient liturgical feast days that focus attention on the Christmas mystery of the “Word becoming flesh, and dwelling among us.” However, the emphasis is not on the birth of the Savior, but rather the “revelation” of God in the flesh to the Magi or the Three Kings. The Magi represent the nations of the world, who come in search of ultimate wisdom, who come seeking the “newborn king.” They desire to worship the true king and abandon the relative powers of this world. The wise still seek Him! The persevering qualities of the Magi need to inspire us to set out to find ultimate truth in all ways to live our lives in this passing and changeable world. During this Christmas season let us ask to be re-invigorated to respond to a deep relationship with “The Word made Flesh.”
I am looking forward to the many initiatives that will go forth this coming Season. While the world settles down in January to “recover” after the celebrations of Christmas and New Years… pastoral work of the parish gears up! The Blessed John Paul II Confirmation program had a meeting of catechists this past week. It was so energizing to hear Sister Christine, Ryan Cooley our Youth Director and Bridget Rincon assistant coordinator for the program address our Catechists. We are looking for ways to engage the hearts and minds of our young people in a culture that is increasingly apathetic to our Catholic faith. We realize that for many of our young people, belief in Christ is quaint myth that was popular in previous generations, but has no real relevance for today. It is a fact that most of our young people after Confirmation in Eighth grade, like the trend all over the nation, stop going to mass. They see no practical need to worship on Sunday. They see the need to do good works and care for others, but worship of God in a formal organized way is not needed. They are frequently supported by their peers and even, sadly their parents and extended relatives. This is a trend that we must seek to reverse. We need a new Ephiphany among our young people to see in Christ the answer to their problems and see solutions to the world conflicts by living a committed relationship with Jesus Christ. This of necessity requires the Church. As St. Cyprian once famously remarked in the third century, “No one can have God as their Father, without having the Church as their Mother.” This powerful insight is so true today. We need the fabric of the Church to keep us united to Christ, otherwise we can easily re construct a ‘religion’ to our liking, but not leading us anywhere beyond our own comfort levels.
I ask everyone to pray each day an extra Hail Mary for our young Catholics, especially as we prepare to teach them about the dignity of human life and the sanctity of marriage according to Jesus teachings. We must engage this project together with confidence and joy.
I also take the opportunity to echo Ryan Cooley’s invitation for all High School Youth to join in the gym this afternoon at 4 pm for a special presentation that I am going to make on the person of Jesus. I want the opportunity to re teach who Jesus is and why he matters! I am very excited about it and looking forward to the event and need your prayers.
Have a good and blessed week. Let us all continue to follow the guiding star of light that comes to our consciences through the revelation and love of Jesus Christ the Lord.
Christmas Peace and Joy!