Sunday, January 5, 2014

Epiphany Sunday: Today's Mass Readings - Sunday, January 5, 2014 with Reflection

1ST READING - Isaiah 60:1-6
1 Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. 2 See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the Lord shines, and over you appears his glory. 3 Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance. 4 Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you. Your sons come from afar, and your daughters in the arms of their nurses. 5 Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow, for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you. 6Caravans of camels shall fill you, dromedaries from Midian and Ephah; all from Sheba shall come bearing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the Lord.
P S A L M - Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13
R: Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
1 O God, with your judgment endow the king, and with your justice, the king’s son; 2 he shall govern your people with justice and your afflicted ones with judgment. (R) 7 Justice shall flower in his days, and profound peace, till the moon be no more. 8 May he rule from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth. (R) 10 The kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts; the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute. 11All kings shall pay him homage, all nations shall serve him. (R) 12 For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out, and the afflicted when he has no one to help him. 13He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor; the lives of the poor he shall save. (R)
2ND READING - Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6
2 Brothers and sisters: You have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for your benefit, 3namely, that the mystery was made known to me by revelation. 5 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, 6 that the Gentiles are co-heirs, members of the same body, and co-partners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.
Matthew 2:1-12
1 When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” 3 When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: 6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.’” 7 Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. 8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.” 9After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 They were overjoyed at seeing the star, 11 and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.


Since my earliest childhood days, I was “in contact” with the Magi because the majestic cathedral of my hometown Cologne houses the relics of the Wise Men. During the World Youth Day 2005, held in Cologne, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI walked with a huge crowd of young people from the banks of the River Rhine and entered the cathedral. After praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament, he walked under, in his own words, “the most exquisite reliquary of the whole Christian world” containing the relics of the Three Kings. He said, “These relics are only a poor and frail sign of what those men were and what they experienced so many centuries ago. The relics direct us toward God Himself; it is He who, by the power of His grace, grants to weak human beings the courage to bear witness to Him before the world.”

       The Magi went out to find the Messiah whom they thought to be a powerful king. Nothing could stop them on their difficult journey until they found the Infant in Bethlehem. There was only one question they needed an answer for: “Where is the newborn King of the Jews?” Eventually they found Him and the encounter must have been shocking. It changed their ideas about power, God and men — and they also began to change. They began to understand that God’s power and ways are not as we imagine or wish them to be. The Magi had to learn to give themselves, as no lesser gift would be sufficient for this King. They had to learn to lose their life and so find it. As Matthew said, “They left on another way for their home,” for one who has met Christ cannot live in the same way he came.

       It is true that today we no longer look for a king but we still have many unanswered questions: “Where do I find standards to live by? On whom can I rely? Where is the One who can satisfy my heart’s deepest desires?” The fact that we ask questions means that our journey is not over. May we not search in the wrong place but find Him who is the only answer to all our questions. An encounter with Him alone will make us continue our journey “on another way,” as the Wise Men did. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Where do you look for answers to your questions concerning life? Are you aware that only Christ can transform you and give you the right direction?
Lord, be the guiding Star in our lives. Be the Answer to all our questions. Transform us so that we may continue our journey on a different way — the Way that is You.

St. John Neumann, bishop, pray for us.

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