Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This past Thursday we celebrated the Octave of Christmas, the Holy Day dedicated to Mary, The Holy Mother of God. We are still celebrating Christmas and how good it is that the civil new year is wrapped-up between Our Lord’s Birthday AND His Revelation or Epiphany to all the nations. Perhaps this was another “shock” for the people of Israel, who though called to evangelize the world regarding the one and only God, forgot to share and spread that Faith with others.
The presence of the Magi is a direct message from the Father that His Son came to save all people, of all races, of all ethnicities, of all time. They, in a sense, were the original evangelizers as they brought the good news of Jesus’ birth to their own people. They read and understood the signs: the Star; the humility of Bethlehem; the need for a universal charity; the mystery of God’s suffering in order to save His creatures. This message is ever ancient and ever new. We who have been infused with heavenly wisdom realize that not all are getting the message.
Our present and past popes have reminded us that this is the time for the New Evangelization! And where does that begin? Right in every Catholic family. Strong families will have strong Faith because parents have centered their lives and that of their children on Jesus first. If He is not the source and center of every Christian home, then who or what is? It is not difficult or complicated to figure out why families are hurting and individuals drifting from the Faith — Jesus was not first and foremost.
How often is He the primary topic of discussion around the table? How often do we bring our struggles to Him; how often are family members humble before each other, honest about weakness and asking those closest to pray for each other that God’s will be done? Too often God is spoken of as remote, to not be mentioned because to do so would be impolite. If we have learned anything from Christmas, it is that He is here! As we begin this new civil year let us humbly beseech the Lord that we, indeed, may be His worthy instruments in this New Evangelization rising above our own anxieties and limitations; finding strength in His presence in our family life. And like the wise men bring this ever ancient, ever new good news to the world.
My sincere thanks to all who have once again employed their talents and gifts in making this a joyous Christmas season. My gratefulness to all who sent such beautiful and uplifting cards and gifts – most especially, to those who ever-so quietly came with donations for those in our own community who are struggling to make ends meet. God’s blessing upon all of you with good health and happiness in the New Year.