“It was not made known to people 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. Eph. 3:5-6
“The word ‘catholic’ means ‘universal,’ in the sense of ‘according to the totality’ or ‘in keeping with the whole.’ … All men [sic] are called to this catholic unity of the People of God… and to it, in different ways, belong or are ordered: the Catholic faithful, others who believe in Christ, and finally all mankind, called by God’s grace to salvation.” CCC #830
God wants everyone to be saved (See 1 Tim. 2:4)! That desire for salvation is what we celebrate on the Feast of the Epiphany. Our prayers and readings remind us that God is calling everyone to salvation.
Our first reading reveals God’s promise that not only would God’s chosen people be saved, but that all the nations would find salvation through them (Is. 60:1-6). The second reading reminds us that in Jesus, God’s promise of salvation has been opened to all people, not just his chosen people. Finally, the magi in the Gospel are the first fruits of this new offer of salvation to all. As foreigners, they are invited to salvation through Jesus, the Messiah long-promised to God’s people.
This desire of God for the salvation of all humanity is what motivates us to share our faith. Those of us who are parents start at home by doing our best to help our children to grow up as disciples of Jesus. All of us proclaim the good news of salvation by serving those in need around us and praying for the salvation of the world. We can also reach out to specific people we know who may not have heard about the mercy and love of God.
We do these things because God wants everyone to be saved and He wants us to help him make that desire a reality. As we begin this new year, let’s recommit to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with everyone we know!
The axis of mercy supporting the world turns on these hinges or poles, that through the Mother we have access to the Son and through the Son to the Father, so that being thus led we should have no fear that our reconciliation would be rejected.
“It is impossible to understand what Jesus’ rising from the dead is about if we think of it as the resuscitation of a dead man. He is not described as starting life over again. He did not mythically represent new vegetation after the rains of winter are over, or human life perpetually coming forth from the dark womb of earth. He was, for the Jews who first believed in him, the ‘first-fruits’ of a harvest of all the dead. If you had the faith of the Pharisees, his appearance would have startled you, but it would not have surprised you. You would have been stunned chiefly that he was alone. That he was risen in the body was something that ultimately you could cope with.
It seems strange, at this distance of years, to try to re-create a world we have such sparse information about. We cannot reconstruct ancient Jewish religious thought and make it ours. We can save ourselves a lot of headaches, though, if we realize how much preparedness there was in those times for the notion of being raised from the dead. … After an initial shock no less than ours, pharisaic Jews like Peter and James would think, ‘God’s reign has begun! But where are the others?’
“Even though we are baptized, what we constantly lose and betray is precisely that which we received at baptism. Therefore Easter is our return every year to our own baptism, whereas Lent is our preparation for that return — the slow and sustained effort to perform, at the end, our own ‘passage’ or ‘pascha’ into the new life in Christ…. Each year Lent and Easter are, once again, the rediscovery and the recovery by us of what we were made through our own baptismal death and resurrection.”
“It is in this darkness, when there is nothing left in us that can please or comfort our own minds, when we seem to be useless and worthy of all contempt, when we seem to have failed, when we seem to be destroyed and devoured, it is then that the deep and secret selfishness that is too close to us for us to identify is stripped away fro our souls. It is in this darkness that we find liberty. It is in this abandonment that we are made strong. This is the night which empties us and makes us pure.”
“Let the mouth also fast from disgraceful speeches and railings. For what does it profit if we abstain from fish and fowl and yet bite and devour our brothers and sisters? The evil speaker eats the flesh of his brother and bites the body of his neighbor.”