January 7, 2018

Today we continue unpacking the meaning of God coming among us as a human being. The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord celebrates the manifestation of Christ for all the world. The child born in a small corner of the Roman Empire in the first third of the first century is not only the salvation of Israel, but of the whole world.

In the Preface for today’s Mass we pray, “For today you have revealed the mystery of our salvation in Christ as a light for the nations…” This light of Christ is not just for a select few, but for all peoples of all times and places.

As disciples of Christ we, too, are called to announce his presence, and to manifest his presence as a light for all those who dwell in darkness. His coming prompts us to look for those places where darkness reigns - no matter where in the world - and to bring his light.

In our particular place and time, darkness reigns for many who are forced to flee their homeland for a safe place for themselves and their families. Pope Francis has invited us to share the journey with these brothers and sisters, and to shine the light of God’s welcoming embrace on them.

On the first day of each year, we celebrate the World Day of Peace, and the Holy Father shares a message, exhorting all of us to seek peace in the coming year. The theme for this year’s World Day of Peace message from the pope is “Migrants and Refugees: Men and Women in Search of Peace.”

The pope writes that “In a spirit of compassion, let us embrace all those fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation to leave their homelands.” He calls upon us to not only open our hearts to these brothers and sisters in need, but to construct “concrete networks of assistance and goodwill.”

Quoting Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis writes that “The wisdom of faith fosters a contemplative gaze that recognizes that all of us ‘belong to one family, migrants and the local populations that welcome them, and all have the same right to enjoy the goods of the earth…’”

He then turns to the passage from chapter 60 of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah which serves as our first reading today. The verses of this passage “describe the city with its gates always open to people of every nation, who marvel at it and fill it with riches. Peace is the sovereign that guides it and justice the principle that governs coexistence within it.”

This is a challenging message for people throughout the world today, especially for those of us who live in the light of freedom, peace and prosperity. The crisis of more than 250 million migrants worldwide, of whom some 22.5 million are refugees, challenges people of faith and all people of good will, to open our hearts and to shine the light of God’s love on these brothers and sisters in need.

May our celebration of the Epiphany of the Lord empower us to be Christ’s light in the world this year, especially for those who have fled their homeland in search of peace and security.

God Bless,
Fr. Gary Lazzeroni