The Epiphany of the Lord

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Jerome,

Happy Epiphany! Pax Christi semper vobiscum!

We have come to another important commemoration during the Christmas Season. It is the Epiphany of the Lord! The story says that three Wise Men from the East went in search of the King and found the Infant with Mary. There was so much excitement and tremendous joy! I wonder where Joseph was during their arrival? Perhaps he was out getting food and other needs? I wonder what the conversation was like with Mary when these Wise Men arrived a week or so after Jesus’ birth? I just imagine how hard it was for the family to stay in the cave so long if we were to take the story literally. Did we not say that Joseph have relatives in Bethlehem if he was from there? Did they also go to the manger? It was disadvantageous that they did not have Facebook in those days or Instagram. Could people be so careless that this family was sleeping among animals with a newborn child? The baby could get infected by animal disease, since they were packed in so closely. What about the smell of the cows and horses and sheep dung that were all over the area? Again, it is quite easy to romanticize this event of the birth of Jesus as depicted in songs and paintings and plays. I said that in my previous letter. That is why it is important to use our imagination thoughtfully to enter into the reality of the Incarnation and not simply consider the story as a romanticized history of an event that happened two thousand years ago. Rather, we should perceive the story as an event in which we ourselves can participate in the here and now of our daily lives.

The point of the Wise Men’s visit is to emphasize God’s fulfillment of His promise. The King of Kings was born clandestinely and entered into the history of the human race. He entered into the world when everyone was asleep, when no one seemed able to notice (the great warrior against sin; the Savior of the world) except for the poor shepherds in the field that were tending their flock at night, waiting for the birth of the Lamb of Sacrifice. God’s entry into human history was secretive so that the enemy of light may conquer the darkness that enveloped the humanity for a long period of time, since the Fall of Adam and Eve. The Incarnation and fulfillment of God’s promise gave birth to the new Adam so that the entire creation could be reconfigured to the love of the One who created all.

When Jesus was born, salvation was assured for all who would believe in Him. His birth redefined our dignity that was to be ratified during the Paschal Mystery as unfolded at Calvary. An analogy may be drawn wherein the cave of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem was parallel to His anticipated burial in the newly hewn tomb in the cave of Jerusalem.  Jesus’ birth brought for us an anticipated re-birth in baptism that claimed us as God’s children after His Passion, Death and Resurrection. God’s creative entry into our human history became our assimilation through grace to His divinity. God’s infinite love was given and extended to us through the birth of Jesus. He also touched our hearts with freedom so we could decide whether we would offer our hearts back to Him.

The commemoration of the Epiphany encompasses all the factual verification whether this truly happened in history. This Gospel story makes a strong affirmation that God will forever be present to His people of all nations. Our consciousness is a key to make this statement evident. It is a question of spiritual awareness that will bring us the meaning of God’s manifestation. Our internal disposition provides the platform where God may secretly reveal Himself in our daily interactions with others. As the Wise Men walked for thousands of miles in search of the King of Kings who embodies the meaning of life and offers us eternal salvation, let it be our goal also as we continue our pilgrimage each day. May this New Year bring us a more profound significance of our purpose in life.  Discovering God along the way of our journey, He will surely bring us a new life perspective, a new purpose, a new goal that would lead us to walk also in a different path, the path of Jesus Who says: I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Finally, join me in welcoming the Madonna Mission to our parish. Their ministry is a good addition to our parish life. Please get to know them–Lynn, Julie and Peggy. They recently signed a lease for the three classrooms on the first floor of the school building. They help refugees and immigrants, children and parents, to transition and integrate into their new home by teaching them English as a second language among other works of mercy on their behalf. I hope that our parishioners who are also in the process of cultural transition may benefit from the Madonna Mission program as well.

I thank you all for your constant support to our parish ministries. God knows and rewards your generous heart!

Sincerely in Christ and Mary,