The Epiphany of the Lord
January 5, 2020
Pope Francis frequently voices his concern over the Church’s declining influence in the world. Most recently, on December 21, 2019, during his annual Christmas address to the Roman Curia, he said: Today we are no longer the only ones that produce culture, no longer the first nor the most listened to. The faith in Europe and in much of the West is no longer an obvious presumption but is often denied, derided, marginalized, and ridiculed.
If we consider the health and vitality of our parishes, we quickly see that the Holy Father’s concerns are not exaggerated. For that matter, the state of the spiritual lives of many of our families speaks to the waning influence of our Church. King Herod is alive, healthy, and as determined today as he was so many centuries ago to eliminate Christ. But he will fail. Herod will always fail so long as there are wise and faith-filled people who are attentive to that which God is calling us.
Herod will fail because the Star will not. The Light of Christ will continue to guide those with the wisdom and courage to follow where it leads. And for their efforts, the Source of all life and love will be revealed to them.
Herod will fail because those who have encountered Christ and paid Him homage, like the Three Magi, will return to their homes to share what they have experienced. And others will come to Christ because of their witness.
Herod will fail because he is always motived by fear, and courageous faith is far more powerful than fear.
Herod will fail because love always triumphs over hate.
This Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord is the perfect time to ponder the challenges we face as The Body of Christ as we enter this new decade of Salvation history. And although we should be aware of those forces that oppose the Gospel, we should never let them overwhelm us.
Pope Francis offered Church leaders an accurate assessment of the challenges we face as we begin this new decade. However, The Holy Father also offered a course of action that is very much in step with what we celebrate today.
Through the Incarnation, God came into the world. Now we must go out into the world and encounter God wherever God has arranged for us to meet. Like the Three Magi, we must follow the star from out of the Church and into the streets…to our homes and families, our places of work, our schools. Like the Three Magi, we are called to take The Good News into the world.
We are relevant!
We are influential!
We are strong!
We must be courageous!