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Gospel Reflection for January 6, 2019, Epiphany

3 Jan

Sunday Readings: Isaiah 60.1-6, Ephesians 3.2-3, 5-6, Matthew 2.1-12

Magi from the East arrive in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We observed his star at its rising and have come to pay him homage.” – Matthew 2.1-2

Only Matthew tells the story of the wise visitors from the East. They are students of the stars, interpreters of dreams, and seekers of the new messiah. The story introduces a major theme of Matthew’s gospel: The inclusion of the Gentiles in the promises of Jesus. In the 50 years between Jesus’ death and resurrection and the Matthew writing the gospel, Gentile believers had come to outnumber Jewish Christians in the community for which he wrote. Jews and Gentiles had to tolerate and, where possible, integrate their different traditions, forms of worship, and ways of understanding Jesus. To sustain the unity of their diverse community, they had to recognize that the good news and saving grace Jesus brought was for all of them.

Life is easier with people who are like us, who think the way we think, and do things the way we do. There is no mistaking the message of the Epiphany readings: God is inclusive. Every nation on earth will adore the new child, proclaims Sunday’s responsorial psalm. Jesus is born for all of us. Peace, forgiveness, and reconciliation are our work.

Who are the people from whom you descend? What do you know about how your people first journeyed to faith in Jesus?

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All Souls Day

2 Nov


All Souls Day in a small town meant visiting the cemetery and remembering those in our family who died. Today I am too far away to visit family graves, so I light a candle at the Catholic Relief Services website——and select a prayer. I also remember Jesus’ promise, the gospel for November 2nd.

After Jesus told the crowds he was the bread of life, he made this promise. “All that the Father gives me shall come to me. I will never turn away anyone who comes to me. I have come not to do my will but to do the will of the Father who sent me. The Father does not want me to lose anything I have been given. Rather, God wants me to raise up all things on the last day.”

“I tell you the truth. This is the will of my Father: whoever looks upon the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life. I will raise them up on the last day.”  – John 6.37-40

May you find peace and comfort in these words and this day.

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