January 7, 2018


+  Pax et Bonum!     Peace and goodness to you on this Feast Day!

You can ask anyone and everyone who has ever been to any children’s Christmas program, and they will tell you, no matter how well known the Christmas story may be, when children are involved, absolutely anything can happen!  Perhaps you heard about the recent Christmas program, where everything was going pretty well, until the three kings, came in from the back of the church, and marched straight down the main aisle.  They made their way straight over to the Christ Child, and Mary and Joseph.  Upon arriving, the leader of the three kings turned to the congregation, and proclaimed in a loud voice, “We are the Magi”.   Then, seemingly to forget his line for a second, he proclaimed a second time, a little louder, “We are the Magi, and behold!  We come bearing gifts of gold, common sense, and fur!”

We know, of course, that gold, frankincense, and myrrh, were the actual gifts.  Frankincense and myrrh have fallen off many of our Christmas shopping lists, and last time I checked, Wal-Mart carries neither of them, so it’s not surprising that the child in the Christmas pageant got the gifts wrong.

Our celebration of the Feast of the Epiphany has got to get all of us thinking about what are the gifts that we have that we share with God.  You know, we’re coming to the end of our season of Christmas, and as we do so, we know that we gave gifts to a lot of different people this Christmas, but as we begin this New Year, we ask ourselves, what kind of gifts do we give to God, and not just at Christmas time, but all year round?   The Gospels seem to make it clear, that God wants us to use our gifts, our talents, and what we have, to build His Kingdom.  We are to put them to use, for God, making the Kingdom a reality.  Now these gifts don’t have to be wildly expensive or extravagant.   Just think of the boy, who gave up his lunch of a few fish and a couple small loaves of bread, so that Jesus’ feeding of the multitude could take place.  God asking all of us to be involved, doesn’t mean that all of us have to write checks for millions of dollars, or give a kidney, or chair the Spring Fling.  But our gifts, what we give to God, must come from our hearts, from the heart of who we are.  And make no mistake about it, our gifts are tailored to the uniqueness of the way that God has made each one of us.  Our gifts are as unique and individual as we are.  And they are connected to our notion of vocation, God’s plan for each one of us.  So no gift is really the same.  But like the three kings, all of us need to give our gifts, to Jesus!  And our collective gift to God of ourselves, well that’s what’s going to be enough, to build an everlasting Kingdom!

Listen to this story about a woman names Dorothy.  Dorothy was an eighty-four year old widow, who went to Mass every day, who lived a good life, and who, like a lot of people in their mid-eighties, was waiting on God to bring her home, so that she could see her husband again.  Dorothy had this strong feeling that there was more that God wanted her to do.  She talked with her priest, and she felt very called to do something to help with the homeless problem very near their church.  Dorothy started by making twenty-five sandwiches a couple times a week.  She took them to a park, where she knew the homeless gathered daily.  Very quickly, she got to know by name, even befriended, several of the homeless.  What Dorothy learned was eye-opening, even to someone who had been around for eighty-four years.  The homeless wanted to work, but most of them didn’t have a way to make or receive phone calls, or mail boxes or addresses to list on job applications.  Some of them told her that even when they were blessed enough to get a job interview, they didn’t have good clothes to wear or a place to shower.

Dorothy didn’t have a lot of money.  But what Dorothy did have was a lot of friends, especially her friends from church.   She shared her concerns with her friends, and very soon, working together, they were able to get a safe shelter for the homeless, with a phone and a stable mailing address.  They collected clothes for them to wear to job interviews.  Showers were installed at the shelter, so that the homeless could get cleaned up, when they needed to.   Eventually Dorothy’s project of taking sandwiches to the homeless, led to a place where three simple meals were served each day to those in need.  Dorothy who is now ninety-four, still goes to the shelter almost every day.  The place that she and her friends founded now helps hundreds of people every year.   And she was eighty-four when she started it!  Doesn’t that make you feel like a slug?

So, what the most valuable gift that you have to offer to Jesus?  What can you do?  What could you do with God’s help?  We all have different gifts!  Some people can make people laugh with their sense of humor.  Some can pray with others and give them hope!  Or maybe your gifts are kindness, gentleness, and patience, then think of the good that you could do for so many.  Maybe your gift is fixing cars, or computers, or painting houses.  Maybe you’ve got musical talents, or the ability to make others feel welcome?  God can use it all.  God can us US ALL!  There’s no one who’s not needed.  That’s Church!   People such as Dorothy remind all of us that each one of us has a gift from God that can be offered to Christ, every bit as much as the three kings brought Him gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

This year, as each one of us makes the conscious choice to use our gifts, to reveal God’s presence in the world today, we know that the Epiphany of the Lord continues, even two-thousand years later.  Only this time, God isn’t using a star to bring the world to Jesus, this time, He’s using us.  May God make us His light in the world today!

+ May God bless us on this Epiphany!  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…                  AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…       Pray for us!!!