The Epiphany of the Lord

Here at St. Matthew we have very beautiful liturgies. We have seven weekend Masses, all with the same readings and prayers, most with the same music, yet each with a different flavor[1].

The various Masses we have, along with the various styles of the priests and deacons, lead many in our parish to prefer one Mass over another. That’s fine. What is not OK is when people judge a Mass according to these strange criteria: whether they “get anything out it.” I’m sure you hear this quite often. “I get a lot out of this Mass, or when that person is preaching.” or “I really don’t get anything out of it when this person is preaching or at that particular Mass.”

There is a problem with this. We shouldn’t be coming to Mass for what we can get out of it. We should be concerned with what we bring to it. The magi did not travel to find the King of Kings so they could get something out of it. They wanted the King of Kings so they could do Him homage and bring Him gifts.

They had it right. As in every other aspect of life, when we are looking to “get”, we receive little. When we are looking to “give” we receive more than we ever expected.

Like the magi, we come before the Lord with gifts, the gifts of ourselves. We come to do Him homage, to reverence His presence. We come to present Him with our emptiness and humbly ask Him to fill us.

The magi completed a journey that ended in Bethlehem. The only thing we know about them after they visited the Holy Family is that they returned to their native land by a different way, so they would not have to encounter the jealous King Herod. Still, I think it is fair to assume that they returned to their homelands full of the Love of God.

We also journey. We journey throughout our lives seeking meaning, and fulfillment and love. We seek the One who is the Reason for our Being. We come before Him in His Church, or among His People, including those who need us the most. We journey for new ways to give our God reverence and homage and love. Our gifts are minute: an hour and a half of our day, a portion of our income. We have so little to offer the Lord. He gives us so much more in return.

We should not be concerned with what we are going to receive. We should only be concerned with seeking the Lord, encountering His presence, doing Him homage, and giving ourselves to Him.

If we follow the magi in this way, then we will be wise women and wise men ■

[1] Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. Readings: Nm 6:22-27, Ps 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8, Gal 4:4-7, Lk 2:16-21
Ilustration: Marbles on the Facade of the Cathedral at Orvieto, Umbria, Italy.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris