Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Epiphany of the Lord

BEADS OF JOY 01-05-14
“The Epiphany of the Lord”
©2014 James Dacey, Jr. OFS
Today’s Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12 (The Epiphany of the Lord) “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, "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." When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet: `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.'" Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared; 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." 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. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; 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. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
My Friends,
Even after our baptism and all our sins have been forgiven; and we have been reborn of the Spirit, nothing remains to stop us from going to Heaven, Except… I want you to take a look at this in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. "Yet certain temporal consequences of sin remain in the baptized, such as suffering, illness, death, and such frailties inherent in life as weaknesses of character, and so on, as well as an inclination to sin that Tradition calls concupiscence, or metaphorically, "the tinder for sin"; since concupiscence "is left for us to wrestle with, it cannot harm those who do not consent but manfully resist it by the grace of Jesus Christ." Indeed, "an athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules." CCC#1264. The serious challenge I see here is that we are left to wrestle with concupiscence, this is the stinger right there. By God's grace we must prove who we are in this struggle, concupiscence at its sharpest point gives us the natural tendencies to sin. We can resist with God's grace, but in so many of the teachings I have read, we cannot absolutely, completely, day in and day out, without any doubt; never sin at all.

The reality of our salvation is that in the end, it is at our own hands. It is only through God's grace that we will be able to resist temptation to sin. To those who reject God's call unfortunately will be the cause of their own demise. Let us also not fall into the trap that so many do; by manipulation to ultimate forgiveness that God gives to all of us. In other words one might say to themselves, "I can sin today and tomorrow, and on Saturday when I go to confession God will forgive me." Because of the unfortunate tendency there are some who try to manipulate God's kindness. "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?" Romans 6:1. We must not allow the sins and temptations of this world to mislead us, rather we should help one another in defeating sin, "remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins." James 5:20.

We must also remember that before we can embrace the joy that can be ours, we must suffer and die to ourselves and our own selfish sins. To reject this will result in a bad outcome, "But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger." Romans 2:8, rather we need to be humble before God, "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up." James 4:10, and, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time." 1 Peter 5:6. Our lives must not be self-fulfilling and all about us; we were not created to be self-serving, rather we were bought with a price and with that price we must love and adore our Lord. "For he who was called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord's freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ's slave. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. Brethren, each one is to remain with God in that condition in which he was called." 1 Corinthians 7:22-24. We must remember these things as we walk in the light with Jesus.

This is no free ride; we are always accountable for what choices we make. Our lives must be lived with God's love inside us, and with that love inside of us, we need to be open in helping others cope with their challenges as best we can. "And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing." 1 Corinthians 13:3. Let us live a life that gives to others, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29. We are all God's children and in being children of the same Lord we are sisters and brothers who should be looking out for one another doing all we can to help one another receive the reward of eternity with our Father. Nothing in this world is going to matter in the end, all that will matter will be the last thing we are told by God in His judgment. "All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law." Romans 2:12
God is merciful, let us be humble before Him. Every single soul matters to God, He sincerely wants every single one of us to be with Him in Heaven for all eternity.

Come PRAY THE ROSARY with us every evening Monday through Friday 9pm EST with our
"Our Lady's Rosary Text Vigil Group"

Invitations posted daily… and throughout the evening…
Your brother in Christ Jesus
And His Most Blessed Mother,
Jim (The Rosary Man) Dacey Jr OFS
Revised from: Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I also invite you to follow me on Twitter and Pinterest: