Message from Father William Bartoul
My dear Brother Knights,
If you’re reading this, it means that you survived the arrival of the new year. I realize that our New Year’s celebrations can get a little hung-up and hung-over! Hello and welcome to 2021.
Okay, I have some good news and some bad news. First the bad news: your holiday celebrations are not over yet. Yes, you read me right. But, the good news is that now you’re celebrating the Season of Epiphany. Some cultures call this “Little Christmas.”
“Epiphany” comes from a Greek word that means manifestation or appearance of something divine or holy. Ancient Greeks believed that lightning was an epiphany of Zeus’ anger. To use the words “manifestation” and “appearance” implies that someone is witnessing it. For many Christians, Epiphany refers to the public manifestation of Jesus’ divine nature. The word also means that those who witness the appearance are enlightened by the experience. Like someone saying: “Oh, now I get it!” It’s like a sudden flash of understanding or insight.
The public manifestations of Jesus’ divine nature are highlighted by 3 specific events:
1. The arrival of the 3 Wisemen coming to pay homage to the infant King of kings. The Wisemen represent the gentile world proclaiming that Jesus is the Son of God. They didn’t merely arrive and congratulate Mary and Joseph on their new child who is a future king. They paid homage which means offering someone reverence and submission. (European Catholics accent this event.)
2. The wedding at Cana of Galilee is when Jesus performed His first public miracle by changing the water into wine. This event started His 3 years of public ministry. (Middle Eastern Catholics accent this event.)
3. The baptism of Jesus in the Jordan is when the heavens broke-open and it was proclaimed that Jesus is the Son of God. John the Baptist told the people about how he saw the Holy Spirit come down upon Jesus and of hearing the voice of God the Father; it was a public proclamation of Jesus’ divine nature.
Now you’re invited to celebrate this joyous proclamation with the wise of heaven and earth.
With gifts having been given, hearts hallowed, and good tidings spread, the gift of the Magi is ours yet to give. Just as they gave tokens which were the finest in their lands, we can give the finest that we have: a strong conscience, an understanding mind and a willing spirit.
Giving God our finest gifts is not easy. Just think of the times when you compromise your Christian priorities, entertain unchristian thoughts, or withhold compassion. The Magi presented their gifts and went home. We give our gifts and keep giving every day.
Remember: “A gift well-given is a gift well-received.”