Our choir director/organist, Nelda Chapman organized a choir pilgrimage to Italy. They departed a week ago and today's celebration of the Solemnity of the Epiphany with Pope Francis at St. Peter's Basilica is the culminating Liturgy for them. They return to Macon tomorrow, Thursday.
Fr. Vernon Knight, our parochial vicar, accompanied them.
A blessed Christmastide to everyone! Why or why couldn't this last
Sunday in the USA have been the Mass of the Most Holy Name of Jesus and
today, January 6, have been the Solemnity of the Epiphany? Why or why, I
This Traditional Mass in the untraditional new order, is in Latin for the most part. I don't think Pope Francis has an integrated philosophy for the use of Latin as Pope Benedict did. Why today, but not for the opening of the Holy Door at St. Peter's, is Latin used? It is baffling to say the least. Pope Francis celebrates Mass in Latin but often in Italian at papal Masses at the Vatican even when multiple language pilgrims are there. Pope Benedict also celebrated the Canon of the Mass in Latin even if other parts were in the vernacular:
Pope Francis' homily for Epiphany:
words of the Prophet Isaiah – addressed to the Holy City of Jerusalem –
are also meant for us. They call us to go forth, to leave behind all
that keeps us self-enclosed, to go out from ourselves and to recognize
the splendour of the light which illumines our lives: “Arise, shine; for
your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you”
(60:1). That “light” is the glory of the Lord.
The Church cannot
delude herself into thinking that she shines with her own light. Saint
Ambrose expresses this nicely by presenting the moon as a metaphor for
the Church: “The moon is in fact the Church… [she] shines not with her
own light, but with the light of Christ. She draws her brightness from
the Sun of Justice, and so she can say: ‘It is no longer I who live, but
Christ who lives in me’” (Hexaemeron, IV, 8, 32). Christ is the true
light shining in the darkness. To the extent that the Church remains
anchored in him, to the extent that she lets herself be illumined by
him, she is able to bring light into the lives of individuals and
peoples. For this reason the Fathers of the Church saw in her the
We need this light from on high if we are to respond
in a way worthy of the vocation we have received. To proclaim the
Gospel of Christ is not simply one option among many, nor is it a
profession. For the Church, to be missionary does not mean to
proselytize: for the Church to be missionary means to give expression to
her very nature, which is to receive God’s light and then to reflect
it. There is no other way. Mission is her vocation. How many people
look to us for this missionary commitment, because they need Christ.
They need to know the face of the Father.
The Magi mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew are a
living witness to the fact that the seeds of truth are present
everywhere, for they are the gift of the Creator, who calls all people
to acknowledge him as good and faithful Father. The Magi represent the
men and woman throughout the world who are welcomed into the house of
God. Before Jesus, all divisions of race, language and culture
disappear: in that Child, all humanity discovers its unity. The Church
has the task of seeing and showing ever more clearly the desire for God
which is present in the heart of every man and woman. Like the Magi,
countless people, in our own day, have a “restless heart” which
continues to seek without finding sure answers. They too are looking
for a star to show them the path to Bethlehem.
How many stars there are in the sky! And yet the
Magi followed a new and different star, which for them shone all the
more brightly. They had long peered into the great book of the heavens,
seeking an answer to their questions, and at long last the light
appeared. That star changed them. It made them leave their daily
concerns behind and set out immediately on a journey. They listened to a
voice deep within, which led them to follow that light. The star
guided them, until they found the King of the Jews in a humble dwelling
All this has something to say to us today. We do
well to repeat the question asked by the Magi: “Where is the child who
has been born the King of the Jews? For we observed his star at its
rising, and have come to pay him homage” (Mt 2:2). We are impelled,
especially in an age like our own, to seek the signs which God offers
us, realizing that great effort is needed to interpret them and thus to
understand his will. We are challenged to go to Bethlehem, to find the
Child and his Mother.
Let us follow the light which God offers us!
The light which streams from the face of Christ, full of mercy and
fidelity. And once we have found him, let us worship him with all our
heart, and present him with our gifts: our freedom, our understanding
and our love. Let us recognize that true wisdom lies concealed in the
face of this Child. It is here, in the simplicity of Bethlehem, that
the life of the Church is summed up. For here is the wellspring of that
light which draws to itself every individual and guides the journey of
the peoples along the path of peace.