As a child, our Christmas decorations at home included the usual Christmas Tree; real at the start and artificial later in my years. Along with the other decorations, always present was the Crèche or Nativity Scene of characters all set up within the wooden crafted stable that my older brother made in woodshop. All the characters of the scene looked the same except for the one “king” who was tall and dark skinned. No one ever spoke about why he was so different. If nativity scene characters were crafted a bit more true to form, the tall dark skinned king wouldn’t have been the only one so different. Many of the characters would look different and not as European as first crafted as this tradition begun by St. Francis took shape. The Epiphany event celebrated this weekend is a celebration that transcends race and culture. The Jews at the time of Jesus didn’t really need much more self-affirmation. They already perceived themselves as the “chosen people” and their stories of God Almighty saving them through the ages were preserved and retold faithfully. Even the prophecies affirmed their role on the world stage. “For the riches of the sea shall be poured out before you, the wealth of nations shall come to you” Isaiah 60:5. This feast day appears to affirm that very prophecy but the true “secret” lies in the eye opening ministry of this soon to grow up Messiah. St. Paul proclaims this well: “When you read this you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to human beings in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit, that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” Ephesians 3:4-6. This revelation is unheard of and difficult for any Jew to accept. “Coheirs” to the promise of the chosen people; how can this be? The revelation of the Messiah of God was much larger in scope than anyone ever imagined. The three astrologers that come from the East “recognize” that this child is not only the Jewish Messiah but one that will enable them to be called “Chosen” as well. Today we rejoice in the wideness of God’s mercy. We who are not part of the original “Chosen People” are made “Chosen” by God in and through Jesus the Messiah, the Christ. Welcome to the family of God.
BREAK TIME ……Now that the “Upon This Rock” initiative’s public phase is completed at all three of our parishes, and the Holy Days are complete, Fr. Ron will be taking some time off from January 15th to the 22nd. Fr. Daniel and the Pastoral Team at each parish will be handling the ministry and business of the parishes.