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Back The Epiphany of the Lord
Sunday, January 5, 2020
From the Desk of Fr. Ron…….
Around most Christmas decorations within Christian homes, appears a manger scene. This devotion to the characters of the infancy narrative was made popular by St. Francis of Assisi. Among the figures of the sheep, shepherds, angels, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus oftentimes are images of camels, with three visitors coming to offer mysterious gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Our miniature creche scenes have all the figures of one happy family, but the Gospel narrative of Matthew differs from that of Luke and each have the figures play an important and specialized part.
This whole Liturgical Year, we will be learning of the Gospel of Jesus through the lens of St. Matthew who was writing his narrative to his fellow Jews. On this celebration of Epiphany; a word that means “manifestation” in the story of the three astrologers from the East, Matthew the Evangelist makes a few very important points. First, he has Gentiles who observe other ways of recognizing God’s plan by observing the brightest star shining in the East. According to their tradition, it would indicate the birth of someone special; perhaps a new king. The three travelers come from three different cultures and parts of the known world searching for meaning of this celestial sign. This is a sure sign that through his Gospel that was written to Jews, Matthew will make the point that Gentiles also will come to search out, discover and adore the Jewish Messiah.
They first stop at the royal palace in Jerusalem looking for the new born king of the Jews. Herod has to call in the religious experts, who may have some clue as to where this event was prophesized to take place and it is determined that Bethlehem should be the town. King Herod appears threatened by this announcement of a new King and thus begins to undertake a plot to eliminate his rival. After agreeing with the astrologers to return and give him the location of the child, the visitors step forward on their journey.
Though, many joke that if there were three queens making the journey the gifts would be, baby formula, diapers, and wet ones, the gifts the men bring are very symbolic: gold for a king, incense for worship of a god, and myrrh spice for burial. These gifts and their bearers are prophetic symbols utilized by St. Matthew to show that even though many of the Jews will reject Jesus and the Messiah, the Gentiles will come to accept and adore Him as well.
All of us are called to make continual visits to Bethlehem to search for and discover the person of Jesus in some of the least likely places. Blessed are we who discover Him again and again. May the treasures we pour out before Him be in the nature of open hears to hear Him speak, an open mind to His creative newness, an open heart to welcome Him in and willing feet to walk in His ways.
May the blessings of “Little Christmas” be upon all of us Gentiles who have uniquely been grafted onto the House and lineage of David from whom comes the King of Kings and Lord of Lords…. Blessings!
THANK YOU COMMITTED MEMBERS OF NATIVITY who seasonally step up to help create our beautiful worship environment. Thank You committed members who function as our usher and hospitality ministers, Eucharistic Ministers, Lectors, Altar Servers, Deacons and assisting clergy. Thank you to our Music Ministry and choir teams for enhancing and lifting up our hearts to our Lord. Thank you to all of our dedicated and loyal parish staff, who go over and above expectations in order to keep all running smoothly at Nativity. Finally, thank you members of the Body of Christ here at Nativity, our parish family, for your dedication to the faith and loyal support of our ministry here at Nativity. We appreciate you all. God’s Blessing to you.
A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO AMY VOSSEN VUKELIC who has completed her ministry experience with us at Nativity. As she said, she was hired by Msgr. Leising and remained for my first year as Pastor. We determined that because of the fact that all three of our parish priests were serving three different communities each week, Nativity needed an image of stability to assure our congregation of our parish’s commitment to the fulfillment of our own unique needs. It was determined that a full time Pastoral Associate may fill the need. Amy graciously applied and we couldn’t have been happier with her response. Through the three years of our three parish experience, she became the “face of Nativity” each and every Sunday. We all know that she loves us all, but loving and following God’s call sometimes means we need to change gears and move in other directions. We thank Amy for her dedicated service to our parish community and pray that she remain strong to continue to answer God’s call over and over again…..Thank You Amy.
SPECIAL THANKS TO CONNIE PERNA of Perna, Dengler, Roberts Funeral Home who stepped up to the plate and provided New Year Calendars for our parish this year. We thank you for your support of our ministries here at Nativity.