Monday (January 6): From darkness and death to light and life

Daily Reading & Meditation

Monday (January 6): From darkness and death to light and life

Scripture: Matthew 4:12-17,23-25  (for the Feast of Epiphany see Matthew 2:1-12)

12 Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee; 13 and leaving Nazareth he went and dwelt in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: 15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, toward the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles — 16 the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death  light has dawned.” 17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
23 And he went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every  infirmity among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. 25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan.

Meditation: Do you know the joy and freedom of the good news (Gospel) of the kingdom of God? John the Baptist’s enemies had sought to silence him, but the good news of God’s kingdom of salvation cannot be silenced. As soon as John had finished his testimony Jesus began his in Galilee. Galilee was at the crossroads of the world and much traffic passed through this little region. It had been assigned to the tribes of Asher, Naptali and Zebulum when the Israelites first came into the land (see Joshua 9). For a long time it had been under Gentile occupation (non-Jewish nations).

Jesus brings the light and truth of salvation to the world
The prophet Isaiah foretold that the good news of salvation would reach Jews and Gentiles in the “land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations” (Isaiah 9:1). Jesus begins the proclamation of the Gospel here to fulfill the word of God. The Old Testament prophets spoke of God’s promise to send a Redeemer who would establish God’s rule. That time is now fulfilled in Jesus who brings the light and truth of the Gospel to the world.

The “good news” brings peace, hope, truth, promise, immortality, and salvation
Jesus takes up John’s message of repentance and calls his hearers to believe in the good news he has come to deliver. What is the good news which Jesus brings? It is the good news of peace – the Lord comes to reconcile and restore us to friendship with God. The good news of  hope – the Lord comes to dwell with us and to give us a home with him in his heavenly kingdom. The good news of  truth – the Lord Jesus sets us free from the lies and deception of Satan and opens our mind to understand the truth and revelation of God’s word (John 8:32). The good news of promise – Jesus fulfills the promise of God to reward those who seek him with the treasure of heaven. The good news of immortality – Jesus overcomes sin and death for us in order to raise our lowly bodies to be like his glorious body which will never die again. And the good news of salvation – the Lord Jesus delivers us from every fear, every sin, and every obstacle that would keep us from entering his everlasting kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy.

The Gospel is the power and the wisdom of God – both power to change and transform our lives and wisdom to show us how to live as sons and daughters of our Father in heaven. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit the Lord makes it possible for us to receive his word with faith and to act upon it with trust and obedience.

The Gospel demands a response of faith and obedience to God’s gift of salvation
In announcing the good news, Jesus makes two demands: repent and believe! Repentance requires a change of course – a turning away from sin and disobedience and a turning towards the Lord with faith and submission to his word of truth and righteousness (right living according to God’s truth and moral goodness). The Holy Spirit gives us a repentant heart, a true sorrow and hatred for sin and its bad consequences (the wages of sin is death – Romans 6:23), and a firm resolution to avoid whatever would lead us into sin. The Holy Spirit gives us grace to see our sin for what it is – rebellion and a rejection of the love of God. God’s grace helps us to turn away from all that would keep us from his love.

Faith or belief is an entirely free gift which God makes to us. Believing is only possible by grace and the help of the Holy Spirit who moves the heart and converts it to God. The Holy Spirit opens the eyes of the mind and makes it possible for us to accept and to grow in our understanding of the truth. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit we can know God personally and the truth he reveals to us through his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. To believe that Jesus is Lord and Savior is to accept God’s revelation of his Son as the eternal Word of God and the Redeemer who delivers us from the tyranny of sin, Satan, and death. God the Father made the supreme sacrifice of his Son on the cross to atone for our sins and to bring us back to himself.

Do you want to grow in the knowledge of God’s love and truth? Ask the Holy Spirit to renew in you the gift of faith, the love of wisdom, and the heart of a disciple who desires to follow the Lord Jesus and his will for your life.

“Lord Jesus, your ways are life and light!  Let your word penetrate my heart and transform my mind that I may see your power and glory. Help me to choose your ways and to do what is pleasing to you.”

Psalm 2:7-8,10-11

7 I will tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have begotten you.
8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.
10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear, with trembling
12 kiss his feet, or he will be angry, and you will perish in the way; for his wrath is quickly kindled. Happy are all who take refuge in him.

Daily Quote from the early church fathersThe true light of revelation to the Gentiles, by Chromatius (died 406 AD)

“The Evangelist commemorated in this passage the prophet’s words: ‘Beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light’ (Matthew 4:15-16) In what darkness? Certainly in the profound error of ignorance. What great light did they see? The light concerning which it is written: ‘He was the true light that illumines everyone who comes into this world’ (John 1:9) This was the light about which the just man Simeon in the Gospel declared, ‘A light of revelation to the Gentiles and a glory for your people Israel’ (Luke 2:32). That light had arisen according to what David had announced, saying, ‘A light has arisen in the darkness to the upright of heart’ (Psalm 112:4).

“Also, Isaiah demonstrated that light about to come for the enlightenment of the church when he said, ‘Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you’ (Isaiah 60:1). Concerning that light also Daniel noted, ‘It reveals the profound and hidden things, knowing those things which are in darkness and the light is with it’ (Daniel 2:22), that is, the Son with the Father, for even as the Father is light, so too is the Son light. And David also speaks in the psalm: ‘In your light shall we see light’ (Psalm 36:9), for the Father is seen in the Son, as the Lord tells us in the Gospel: ‘Who sees me, sees the Father’ (John 14:9) From the true light, indeed, the true light proceeded, and from the invisible the visible. “He is the image of the invisible God,” as the apostle notes (Colossians 1:15).” (excerpt from TRACTATE ON MATTHEW 15.1)

[Note: Chromatius was an early Christian scholar and bishop of Aquileia, Italy. He was a close friend of John Chrysostom and Jerome. He died in 406 AD. Jerome described him as a “most learned and most holy man.”]

Meditations may be freely reprinted for non-commercial use – please cite: copyright (c) 2020 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

 

Daily Reflection

As we still bask in the glow of the Epiphany, let us call to mind a single moment in our life that knocked us off our seat, propelled us forward, or set our inner flame burning in such a way that we could no longer sit still—a revelation, a realization, a disclosure, an illuminating discovery that revealed meaning or purpose.  The Gospel said that when Jesus heard what happened to John the Baptist, he made his move, he began his ministry, he went about preaching, teaching, and healing.  When we are called and we are woken up from our spiritual slumber, this is how we can know the Spirit of God: even if we are afraid, we know what we must do because the call of God can only be heard by those who belong to him.  It is so because we are Children of God.

The first reading cautions us not to trust every spirit and to test the spirits that confront us to see if they belong to God.  In the Gospel, Jesus knew that the Spirit that prompted him to begin his ministry was the voice of God, but how about us? How can we know for sure when the prompt is of God?  How do I know if the prompt is not false or my ego or my fear or my pride?  How can we test?  I often take my time to think about every decision I make even the smallest one—except of course the decision on whether to have a piece of chocolate or not—that thought process doesn’t take very long, but when it comes to deeper more spiritual things or life decisions, I spend time hoping I would hear a voice loud and clear telling me what to do, and that I would know right away that it was God giving me the go-ahead.  Despite my uncertainty, I usually know when the time is right to get up and start afresh, or let go, or go ahead, mainly because I believe that I truly am a Child of God, and God will not let me down—God will lift me up—God will lift us up.  As the first reading tells us, we belong to God and we have already conquered the spirit of the antichrist because the Spirit of God resides in us and the Spirit of God is much greater than the spirit of the worldly.  So, when that single moment happens in our life, that moment that knocks us off our seat of false comfort, let us not be afraid to go forth into the unknown and trust that God will provide for us exactly what we need to succeed, make a difference, and fulfill our sacred purpose.

January 6

MORNING

Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us and establish thou the work of our hands. Psa. 90:17

Thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord GOD. Ezek. 16:14

We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. II Cor. 3:18

The Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you. I Pet. 4:14

Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Psa. 128:12

Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established. Prov. 16:3

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Phil. 2:1213

Our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work. II Thes 2:1617

EVENING

The apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things they had done. Mark 6:30

There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Prov. 18:24

The LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. Ex. 33:11

Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. John 15:1415

When ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants. Luke 17:10

Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Rom 8:15

In every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Phil. 4:6

The prayer of the upright is his delight. Prov. 15:8

Nothing is impossible

“Amen I say to you that whosoever shall say to this mountain, Be thou removed and be cast into the sea, and shall not stagger in his heart, but be believe that whatsoever he saith shall be done; it shall be done unto him.” Mark 11: 23

Jesus said “in truth I tell you”. Isn’t it a fact that Jesus (God) is saying only the truth and always the truth? It is! So why he said “in truth”? To stress importance of this statement! To draw your attention and say: behold what I’m saying! To tell you that you must believe in what He says right now.

Another question – why did He use a mountain as an example? To lay emphasis that nothing is impossible! Completely nothing! Even things which are naturally impossible (moving a mountain would be definitely one of them) are possible for God!

Jesus is saying to you that there are no limits in what you can receive from God when you believe Him in your heart; when you believe without a doubt. Everything is possible. Anything you desire. So get rid of your doubts ones and for all; start believing God today.

Whatever is your need, you can have it all. Whatever is your problem it can be removed out of your way, forever. All is possible. All possible by a single act of faith with no doubt attached to it! Remember faith with no doubt!

God is not holding things from you; He is keeping them for you so you can have them when you will need them. Do not hesitate, believe and receive! Believe and receive are very important words. If you believe that you have received when you pray, you will get it. If you have doubts when you pray (will God give it to me?), you will get nothing. And remember Jesus told us to pray that way. You have only one choice today – to be obedient and trust Him with no doubts.

LITURGIA DELLA PAROLA

Prima Lettura  Is 60,1-6
La gloria del Signore brilla sopra di te.

Dal libro del profeta Isaia
Àlzati, rivestiti di luce, perché viene la tua luce,
la gloria del Signore brilla sopra di te.
Poiché, ecco, la tenebra ricopre la terra,
nebbia fitta avvolge i popoli;
ma su di te risplende il Signore,
la sua gloria appare su di te.
Cammineranno le genti alla tua luce,
i re allo splendore del tuo sorgere.
Alza gli occhi intorno e guarda:
tutti costoro si sono radunati, vengono a te.
I tuoi figli vengono da lontano,
le tue figlie sono portate in braccio.
Allora guarderai e sarai raggiante,
palpiterà e si dilaterà il tuo cuore,
perché l’abbondanza del mare si riverserà su di te,
verrà a te la ricchezza delle genti.
Uno stuolo di cammelli ti invaderà,
dromedari di Màdian e di Efa,
tutti verranno da Saba, portando oro e incenso
e proclamando le glorie del Signore.

Salmo Responsoriale  Dal Salmo 71
Ti adoreranno, Signore, tutti i popoli della terra.

O Dio, affida al re il tuo diritto,
al figlio di re la tua giustizia;
egli giudichi il tuo popolo secondo giustizia
e i tuoi poveri secondo il diritto.

Nei suoi giorni fiorisca il giusto
e abbondi la pace,
finché non si spenga la luna.
E dòmini da mare a mare,
dal fiume sino ai confini della terra.

I re di Tarsis e delle isole portino tributi,
i re di Saba e di Seba offrano doni.
Tutti i re si prostrino a lui,
lo servano tutte le genti.

Perché egli libererà il misero che invoca
e il povero che non trova aiuto.
Abbia pietà del debole e del misero
e salvi la vita dei miseri.


Seconda Lettura  Ef 3,2-3a.5-6
Ora è stato rivelato che tutte le genti sono chiamate, in Cristo Gesù, a condividere la stessa eredità.

Dalla lettera di san Paolo apostolo agli Efesini
Fratelli, penso che abbiate sentito parlare del ministero della grazia di Dio, a me affidato a vostro favore: per rivelazione mi è stato fatto conoscere il mistero.
Esso non è stato manifestato agli uomini delle precedenti generazioni come ora è stato rivelato ai suoi santi apostoli e profeti per mezzo dello Spirito: che le genti sono chiamate, in Cristo Gesù, a condividere la stessa eredità, a formare lo stesso corpo e ad essere partecipi della stessa promessa per mezzo del Vangelo.

Canto al Vangelo  Cf Mt 2,2
Alleluia, alleluia.

Abbiamo visto la tua stella in oriente
e siamo venuti per adorare il Signore

Alleluia.

  
Vangelo
  Mt 2,1-12
Siamo venuti dall’oriente per adorare il re.

Dal vangelo secondo Matteo

Nato Gesù a Betlemme di Giudea, al tempo del re Erode, ecco, alcuni Magi vennero da oriente a Gerusalemme e dicevano: «Dov’è colui che è nato, il re dei Giudei? Abbiamo visto spuntare la sua stella e siamo venuti ad adorarlo». All’udire questo, il re Erode restò turbato e con lui tutta Gerusalemme. Riuniti tutti i capi dei sacerdoti e gli scribi del popolo, si informava da loro sul luogo in cui doveva nascere il Cristo. Gli risposero: «A Betlemme di Giudea, perché così è scritto per mezzo del profeta: “E tu, Betlemme, terra di Giuda, non sei davvero l’ultima delle città principali di Giuda: da te infatti uscirà un capo che sarà il pastore del mio popolo, Israele”».
Allora Erode, chiamati segretamente i Magi, si fece dire da loro con esattezza il tempo in cui era apparsa la stella e li inviò a Betlemme dicendo: «Andate e informatevi accuratamente sul bambino e, quando l’avrete trovato, fatemelo sapere, perché anch’io venga ad adorarlo».
Udito il re, essi partirono. Ed ecco, la stella, che avevano visto spuntare, li precedeva, finché giunse e si fermò sopra il luogo dove si trovava il bambino. Al vedere la stella, provarono una gioia grandissima. Entrati nella casa, videro il bambino con Maria sua madre, si prostrarono e lo adorarono. Poi aprirono i loro scrigni e gli offrirono in dono oro, incenso e mirra. Avvertiti in sogno di non tornare da Erode, per un’altra strada fecero ritorno al loro paese.

Dopo la lettura del Vangelo, il diacono o il sacerdote, o anche un cantore, può dare l’annunzio del giorno della Pasqua.

  
Fratelli carissimi, la gloria del Signore si è manifestata e sempre si manifesterà in mezzo a noi fino al suo ritorno.
Nei ritmi e nelle vicende del tempo ricordiamo e viviamo i misteri della salvezza.
Centro di tutto l’anno liturgico è il Triduo del Signore crocifisso, sepolto e risorto, che culminerà nella domenica di Pasqua il 12 aprile 2020.
In ogni domenica, Pasqua della settimana, la santa Chiesa rende presente questo grande evento nel quale Cristo ha vinto il peccato e la morte.

Dalla Pasqua scaturiscono tutti i giorni santi:
Le Ceneri, inizio della Quaresima, il 26 febbraio 2020.
L’Ascensione del Signore, il 24 maggio 2020.
La Pentecoste, il 31 maggio 2020.
La prima domenica di Avvento, il 29 novembre 2020.

Anche nelle feste della santa Madre di Dio, degli Apostoli, dei Santi e nella commemorazione dei fedeli defunti, la Chiesa pellegrina sulla terra proclama la Pasqua del suo Signore.

A Cristo che era, che è e che viene, Signore del tempo e della storia, lode perenne nei secoli dei secoli. Amen.

LETTURE DALL’UFFICIO DELLE LETTURE

Versetto
V. I cieli annunziano la giustizia di Dio,
R. tutti i popoli contemplano la sua gloria.

Prima Lettura
Dal libro del profeta Isaia 60, 1-22

Il Signore manifesta la sua gloria sopra Gerusalemme
Alzati, rivestiti di luce, perché viene la tua luce,
la gloria del Signore brilla sopra di te.
Poiché, ecco, le tenebre ricoprono la terra,
nebbia fitta avvolge le nazioni;
ma su di te risplende il Signore,
la sua gloria appare su di te.
Cammineranno i popoli alla tua luce,
i re allo splendore del tuo sorgere.
Alza gli occhi intorno e guarda:
tutti costoro si sono radunati, vengono a te.
I tuoi figli vengono da lontano,
le tue figlie sono portate in braccio.
A quella vista sarai raggiante,
palpiterà e si dilaterà il tuo cuore,
perché le ricchezze del mare si riverseranno su di te,
verranno a te i beni dei popoli.
Uno stuolo di cammelli ti invaderà,
dromedari di Madian e di Efa,
tutti verranno da Saba,
portando oro e incenso
e proclamando le glorie del Signore.
Tutti i greggi di Kedar si raduneranno da te,
i montoni dei Nabatei saranno a tuo servizio,
saliranno come offerta gradita sul mio altare;
renderò splendido il tempio della mia gloria.
Chi sono quelle che volano come nubi
e come colombe verso le loro colombaie?
Sono navi che si radunano per me,
le navi di Tarsis in prima fila,
per portare i tuoi figli da lontano,
con argento e oro,
per il nome del Signore tuo Dio,
per il Santo di Israele che ti onora.
Stranieri ricostruiranno le tue mura,
i loro re saranno al tuo servizio,
perché nella mia ira ti ho colpito,
ma nella mia benevolenza ho avuto pietà di te.
Le tue porte saranno sempre aperte,
non si chiuderanno né di giorno né di notte,
per lasciar introdurre da te le ricchezze dei popoli
e i loro re che faranno da guida.
Perché il popolo e il regno
che non vorranno servirti periranno
e le nazioni saranno tutte sterminate.
La gloria del Libano verrà a te,
cipressi, olmi e abeti insieme,
per abbellire il luogo del mio santuario,
per glorificare il luogo dove poggio i miei piedi.
Verranno a te in atteggiamento umile
i figli dei tuoi oppressori;
ti si getteranno proni alle piante dei piedi
quanti ti disprezzavano.
Ti chiameranno Città del Signore,
Sion del Santo di Israele.
Dopo essere stata derelitta,
odiata, senza che alcuno passasse da te,
io farò di te l’orgoglio dei secoli,
la gioia di tutte le generazioni.
Tu succhierai il latte dei popoli,
succhierai le ricchezze dei re.
Saprai che io sono il Signore tuo salvatore
e tuo redentore, io il Forte di Giacobbe.
Farò venire oro anziché bronzo,
farò venire argento anziché ferro,
bronzo anziché legno,
ferro anziché pietre.
Costituirò tuo sovrano la pace,
tuo governatore la giustizia.
Non si sentirà più parlare di prepotenza nel tuo paese,
di devastazione e di distruzione entro i tuoi confini.
Tu chiamerai salvezza le tue mura
e gloria le tue porte.
Il sole non sarà più
la tua luce di giorno,
né ti illuminerà più
il chiarore della luna.
Ma il Signore sarà per te luce eterna,
il tuo Dio sarà il tuo splendore.
Il tuo sole non tramonterà più
né la tua luna si dileguerà,
perché il Signore sarà per te luce eterna;
saranno finiti i giorni del tuo lutto.
Il tuo popolo sarà tutto di giusti,
per sempre avranno in possesso la terra,
germogli delle piantagioni del Signore,
lavoro delle sue mani per mostrare la sua gloria.
Il piccolo diventerà un migliaio,
il minimo un immenso popolo;
io sono il Signore:
a suo tempo, farò ciò speditamente.

Responsorio
   Is 60, 1. 3
R. Alzati, vestiti di luce, Gerusalemme, perché viene colui che t’illumina: * sopra di te brilla la gloria del Signore.
V. Alla tua luce cammineranno i popoli, i re allo splendore che ti irradia:
R. sopra di te brilla la gloria del Signore.

Seconda Lettura
Dai «Discorsi» di san Leone Magno, papa
(Disc. 3 per l’Epifania, 1-3. 5; Pl 54, 240-244)

Il Signore ha manifestato in tutto il mondo la sua salvezza
La Provvidenza misericordiosa, avendo deciso di soccorrere negli ultimi tempi il mondo che andava in rovina, stabilì che la salvezza di tutti i popoli si compisse nel Cristo.
Un tempo era stata promessa ad Abramo una innumerevole discendenza che sarebbe stata generata non secondo la carne, ma nella fecondità della fede: essa era stata paragonata alla moltitudine delle stelle perché il padre di tutte le genti si attendesse non una stirpe terrena, ma celeste.
Entri, entri dunque nella famiglia dei patriarchi la grande massa delle genti, e i figli della promessa ricevano la benedizione come stirpe di Abramo, mentre a questa rinunziano i figli del suo sangue. Tutti i popoli, rappresentati dai tre magi, adorino il Creatore dell’universo, e Dio sia conosciuto non nella Giudea soltanto, ma in tutta la terra, perché ovunque «in Israele sia grande il suo nome» (cfr. Sal 75, 2).
Figli carissimi, ammaestrati da questi misteri della grazia divina, celebriamo nella gioia dello spirito il giorno della nostra nascita e l’inizio della chiamata alla fede di tutte le genti. Ringraziamo Dio misericordioso che, come afferma l’Apostolo, «ci ha messo in grado di partecipare alla sorte dei santi nella luce. E’ lui che ci ha liberati dal potere delle tenebre e ci ha trasferiti nel regno del suo Figlio diletto» (Col 1, 12-13). L’aveva annunziato Isaia: «Il popolo dei Gentili, che sedeva nelle tenebre, vide una grande luce e su quanti abitavano nella terra tenebrosa una luce rifulse» (cfr. Is 9, 1). Di essi ancora Isaia dice al Signore: «Popoli che non ti conoscono ti invocheranno, e popoli che ti ignorano accorreranno a te» (cfr. Is 55, 5).
«Abramo vide questo giorno e gioì» (cfr. Gv 8, 56). Gioì quando conobbe che i figli della sua fede sarebbero stati benedetti nella sua discendenza, cioè nel Cristo, e quando intravide che per la sua fede sarebbe diventato padre di tutti i popoli. Diede gloria a Dio, pienamente convinto che quanto il Signore aveva promesso lo avrebbe attuato (Rm 4, 20-21). Questo giorno cantava nei salmi David dicendo: «Tutti i popoli che hai creato verranno e si prostreranno davanti a te, o Signore, per dare gloria al tuo nome» (Sal 85, 9); e ancora: «Il Signore ha manifestato la sua salvezza, agli occhi dei popoli ha rivelato la sua giustizia» (Sal 97, 2).
Tutto questo, lo sappiamo, si è realizzato quando i tre magi, chiamati dai loro lontani paesi, furono condotti da una stella a conoscere e adorare il Re del cielo e della terra. Questa stella ci esorta particolarmente a imitare il servizio che essa prestò, nel senso che dobbiamo seguire, con tutte le nostre forze, la grazia che invita tutti al Cristo. In questo impegno, miei cari, dovete tutti aiutarvi l’un l’altro. Risplendete così come figli della luce nel regno di Dio, dove conducono la retta fede e le buone opere. Per il nostro Signore Gesù Cristo che con Dio Padre e con lo Spirito Santo vive e regna per tutti i secoli dei secoli. Amen.

Responsorio  
R. In questo giorno di luce è apparso il Salvatore del mondo, annunziato dai profeti, adorato dagli angeli. * I magi vedono la sua stella, e pieni di gioia portano doni.
V. Un giorno santo risplende per noi: venite, nazioni, adorate il Signore.
R. I magi vedono la sua stella, e pieni di gioia portano doni.

Sunday- Feast of Epiphany (January 5): “They fell down and worshiped Jesus”

Daily Reading & Meditation

Sunday- Feast of Epiphany (January 5): “They fell down and worshiped Jesus”
Scripture: Matthew 2:1-12  

1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, 2 “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet: 6 `And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;  for from you shall come a ruler  who will govern my people Israel.'” 7 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared; 8 and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” 9 When they had heard the king they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; 11 and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 60:1-6

1 Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. 2 For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples;  but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. 3 And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. 4 Lift up your eyes round about, and see; they all gather together, they come to you;  your sons shall come from far, and your daughters shall be carried in the arms. 5 Then you shall see and be radiant, your heart shall thrill and rejoice;  because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. 6 A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah;  all those from Sheba shall come.  They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the LORD 

Meditation: If Jesus truly is who he claims to be, the eternal Son of God and Savior of the world, then why is he not recognized by everyone who hears his word and sees his works? John the Evangelist states that when Jesus came into the world the world knew him not and his own people received him not (John 1:10-11). Jesus was born in obscurity. Only the lowly shepherds recognized him at his birth. Some wise men also found their way to Bethlehem to pay homage to the newborn King of Israel. These men were not Israelites, but foreigners. They likely had read and discussed the Messianic prophecies and were anxious to see when this Messianic King would appear. God led them by means of an extraordinary star across the desert to the little town of Bethlehem where Jesus was born.

John Chrysostom (347-407 AD), in his homily on this passage from Matthew 2, explains the significance of the star of Bethlehem:

“Note how fitting was the order of events: the wise men saw the star, were received by the Jews and their king; they heard prophecy to explain what had appeared; the angel instructed them; and then they journeyed from Jerusalem to Bethlehem by the guidance of the star. From all this we learn that this was not an ordinary star, for no other star has this capacity to guide, not merely to move but to beckon, to “go before them,” drawing and guiding them along their way. The star remained after bringing them to the place, in order that the child might also be seen. For there is nothing conspicuous about the place. The inn was ordinary. The mother was not celebrated or notable. The star was needed to manifest and illumine the lowly place, until they had reached their destination at the manger.” [The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 7:3]

In their thirst for knowledge of God, the wise men from the East willingly left everything, their home and country, in pursuit of that quest. In their diligent search they were led to the source of true knowledge – to Jesus Christ, the Light and Wisdom of God. When they found the newborn King they humbly worshiped him and gave him gifts fitting for a king.

The Lord of the universe who revealed the star of Bethlehem to the Gentiles of the East so they could come and worship Jesus, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) and King of Kings (Revelations 19:16), gives each one of us the same light of revelation to recognize and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to us. It is through the help of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and opens the eyes of the mind, that we are able to understand, accept, and believe the truth which God has revealed to us through his Son, Jesus Christ. In faith, the human will and intellect cooperate with grace. “Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the divine truth by command of the will moved by God through grace” (Thomas Aquinas).

To know and to encounter Jesus Christ is to know God personally. In the encounter of the wise men with Jesus we see the plan of God to give his only Son as King and Savior, not just for the Jewish people but for all the nations as well. The Lord Jesus came that both Jew and Gentile might find true and lasting peace with God.  Let us pray today that Jew and Gentile alike will find the Lord and Savior on their journey of life. Do you bring the light of Jesus Christ to those you meet through the witness of your life and testimony?

“Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you for bringing salvation to all the nations. May the gospel of salvation be proclaimed to every nation today and to every person on the face of the earth.  Help me to be a good witness of the joy of the gospel to all I meet.”

Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-13

1 Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the royal son!
2 May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice!
7 In his days may righteousness flourish, and peace abound, till the moon be no more!
8 May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth!
10 May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles render him tribute, may the kings of Sheba and Seba  bring gifts!
11 May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him!
12 For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper.
13 He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy.

Daily Quote from the early church fathersThe glory of Christ’s divinity is revealed, by Chromatius (died 406 AD)

“Let us now observe how glorious was the dignity that attended the King after his birth, after the magi in their journey remained obedient to the star. For immediately the magi fell to their knees and adored the one born as Lord. There in his very cradle they venerated him with offerings of gifts, though Jesus was merely a whimpering infant. They perceived one thing with the eyes of their bodies but another with the eyes of the mind. The lowliness of the body he assumed was discerned, but the glory of his divinity is now made manifest. A boy he is, but it is God who is adored. How inexpressible is the mystery of his divine honor! The invisible and eternal nature did not hesitate to take on the weaknesses of the flesh on our behalf. The Son of God, who is God of the universe, is born a human being in the flesh. He permits himself to be placed in a manger, and the heavens are within the manger. He is kept in a cradle, a cradle that the world cannot hold. He is heard in the voice of a crying infant. This is the same one for whose voice the whole world would tremble in the hour of his passion. Thus he is the One, the God of glory and the Lord of majesty, whom as a tiny infant the magi recognize. It is he who while a child was truly God and King eternal. To him Isaiah pointed, saying, ‘For a boy has been born to you; a son has been given to you, a son whose empire has been forged on his shoulders (Isaiah 9:6).'” (excerpt from TRACTATE ON MATTHEW 5:1)

[Note: Chromatius was an early Christian scholar and bishop of Aquileia, Italy. He was a close friend of John Chrysostom and Jerome. He died in 406 AD. Jerome described him as a “most learned and most holy man.”]

Meditations may be freely reprinted for non-commercial use – please cite: copyright (c) 2020 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

 

Daily Reflection

Falling Down and Being Lifted Up

In the Nativity scenes we set up in churches and homes we are familiar with the three figures that make their appearance today, joining the figures of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, shepherds and various creatures.  In many such scenes these visitors from the east, bearing their gifts, stand in awe, though perhaps one or more of them may bend a knee.  But rarely, gazing at these figures, do we feel the power of the scripture that today proclaims, “They prostrated themselves and did him homage.”

To be prostrate is to be flat on the floor, face down, disarmed, immobile, vulnerable.  Much more than a nod of the head, or a quick genuflection, this gesture expresses the heart’s conviction of being in the Presence of “One mightier than I.”  These “foreigners” express through their bodies, the inner stance of deep humility, the only true response in the presence of God in the flesh in Jesus.

St. Augustine, reflecting back on his long, tortuous journey to faith, acknowledged that the ultimate block to his final conversion came in the form of pride.  It was what he learned through grasping the truth of the Incarnation that provided the way forward:  “In this lower world, he built for himself a lowly habitation of our clay . . . so that [people] might go on no further in self-confidence but rather consent to become weak, seeing the Deity before their feet, made weak by taking on our mortality; and wearied, might cast themselves down on him, so that rising again, he might lift them up.” St. Augustine learned through the infant Jesus to surrender to the power of God and to let himself be lifted up.

Perhaps today, as we gaze at these visitors who come to the stable, we might be moved to imitate them, at least in our hearts. And gazing at them, we might ask ourselves where we need to surrender to the power of God today so that he might lift us up?

January 5

MORNING

We which have believed do enter into rest. Heb. 4:3

They weary themselves to commit iniquity. Jer. 9:5

I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 0 wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? Rom. 7:2324

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matt. 11:28

Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Rom. 5:12

He that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works. Heb. 4:10

Not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. Phil. 3:9

This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing. Isa 28:12

EVENING

Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. Psa. 141:3

If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, 0 Lord, who shall stand? Psa. 130:3

They provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips. Psa 106:33

Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Matt. 15:11

A whisperer separateth chief friends. Prov. 16:28

There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health. The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment. Prov. 12:1819

The tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. James 3:810

Put off … anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds. Col 3:89

This is the will of God, even your sanctification. I Thess. 4:3

In their mouth was found no guile. Rev. 14:5

EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION ON THE SOLEMNITY OF THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD

AR  – DE  – EN  – ES  – FR  – HR  – IT  – PL  – PT ]

EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION
ON THE SOLEMNITY OF THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD

HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS

Vatican Basilica
Monday, 6 January 2014

Video
Photo Gallery

 

Lumen requirunt lumine”. These evocative words from a liturgical hymn for the Epiphany speak of the experience of the Magi: following a light, they were searching for the Light. The star appearing in the sky kindled in their minds and in their hearts a light that moved them to seek the great Light of Christ. The Magi followed faithfully that light which filled their hearts, and they encountered the Lord.

The destiny of every person is symbolized in this journey of the Magi of the East: our life is a journey, illuminated by the lights which brighten our way, to find the fullness of truth and love which we Christians recognize in Jesus, the Light of the World. Like the Magi, every person has two great “books” which provide the signs to guide this pilgrimage: the book of creation and the book of sacred Scripture. What is important is that we be attentive, alert, and listen to God who speaks to us, who always speaks to us. As the Psalm says in referring to the Law of the Lord: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps 119:105). Listening to the Gospel, reading it, meditating on it and making it our spiritual nourishment especially allows us to encounter the living Jesus, to experience him and his love.

The first reading echoes, in the words of the prophet Isaiah, the call of God to Jerusalem: “Arise, shine!” (Is 60:1). Jerusalem is called to be the city of light which reflects God’s light to the world and helps humanity to walk in his ways. This is the vocation and the mission of the People of God in the world. But Jerusalem can fail to respond to this call of the Lord. The Gospel tells us that the Magi, when they arrived in Jerusalem, lost sight of the star for a time. They no longer saw it. Its light was particularly absent from the palace of King Herod: his dwelling was gloomy, filled with darkness, suspicion, fear, envy. Herod, in fact, proved himself distrustful and preoccupied with the birth of a frail Child whom he thought of as a rival. In realty Jesus came not to overthrow him, a wretched puppet, but to overthrow the Prince of this world! Nonetheless, the king and his counsellors sensed that the foundations of their power were crumbling. They feared that the rules of the game were being turned upside down, that appearances were being unmasked. A whole world built on power, on success, possessions and corruption was being thrown into crisis by a child! Herod went so far as to kill the children. As Saint Quodvultdeus writes, “You destroy those who are tiny in body because fear is destroying your heart” (Sermo 2 de Symbolo: PL 40, 655). This was in fact the case: Herod was fearful and on account of this fear, he became insane.

The Magi were able to overcome that dangerous moment of darkness before Herod, because they believed the Scriptures, the words of the prophets which indicated that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. And so they fled the darkness and dreariness of the night of the world. They resumed their journey towards Bethlehem and there they once more saw the star, and the gospel tells us that they experienced “a great joy” (Mt 2:10). The very star which could not be seen in that dark, worldly palace.

One aspect of the light which guides us on the journey of faith is holy “cunning”. This holy “cunning” is also a virtue. It consists of a spiritual shrewdness which enables us to recognize danger and avoid it. The Magi used this light of “cunning” when, on the way back, they decided not to pass by the gloomy palace of Herod, but to take another route. These wise men from the East teach us how not to fall into the snares of darkness and how to defend ourselves from the shadows which seek to envelop our life. By this holy “cunning”, the Magi guarded the faith. We too need to guard the faith, guard it from darkness. Many times, however, it is a darkness under the guise of light. This is because the devil, as saint Paul, says, disguises himself at times as an angel of light. And this is where a holy “cunning” is necessary in order to protect the faith, guarding it from those alarmist voices that exclaim: “Listen, today we must do this, or that…”. Faith though, is a grace, it is a gift. We are entrusted with the task of guarding it, by means of this holy “cunning” and by prayer, love, charity. We need to welcome the light of God into our hearts and, at the same time, to cultivate that spiritual cunning which is able to combine simplicity with astuteness, as Jesus told his disciples: “Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Mt 10:16).

On the feast of the Epiphany, as we recall Jesus’ manifestation to humanity in the face of a Child, may we sense the Magi at our side, as wise companions on the way. Their example helps us to lift our gaze towards the star and to follow the great desires of our heart. They teach us not to be content with a life of mediocrity, of “playing it safe”, but to let ourselves be attracted always by what is good, true and beautiful… by God, who is all of this, and so much more! And they teach us not to be deceived by appearances, by what the world considers great, wise and powerful. We must not stop at that. It is necessary to guard the faith. Today this is of vital importance: to keep the faith. We must press on further, beyond the darkness, beyond the voices that raise alarm, beyond worldliness, beyond so many forms of modernity that exist today. We must press on towards Bethlehem, where, in the simplicity of a dwelling on the outskirts, beside a mother and father full of love and of faith, there shines forth the Sun from on high, the King of the universe. By the example of the Magi, with our little lights, may we seek the Light and keep the faith. May it be so.