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Season of Christmas

 

Epiphany of the Lord
January 3, 2021

There are so many wonderful details in the Epiphany story: the call of the Magi, their enthusiastic response, the significance of the star they seek, the gifts they bring, their dramatic interaction with Herod, and their ultimate rejection of Herod in favour of Christ.  We can observe how they journey in stages from the light of a star to the bright and glorious Light of Jesus Christ.  In addition to the traditional concepts that characterize the journey of the Magi – there is another underlying story within the story, that of travelling in faith toward God. 

From conception, to maturity, to old age – life is a continuous journey.  Some journeys are cut short by sickness or tragedy; some life journeys last more than 100 years.  Ours is a spiritual journey of the heart, working its way home to God. 

The Magi are an example to us.  They were lost, blocked at every turn, more or less travelling in the dark, and yet, they were on the move, searching, looking for the light; the light came to them as a gift. They saw the light and made a journey of faith to search for the newborn King, to discover him and to worship him.  When they left their gifts, they took with them a treasure that far surpassed anything they brought. They took away the gift of knowing Jesus.  They left for their country by another road, guided no longer by the light of a star but by the light of faith.

They are a summary of all those who journey in faith.  Like the Magi we too journey in faith – it may be a long or short journey, we do not know.  The important thing is to be open to our God and continue on the journey of faith.  We are all companions on the journey.

Bishop Wayne Joseph Kirkpatrick

 

Holy Family
December 27, 2020

Today’s feast reminds us that Jesus, Mary and Joseph led a true family life.  It is easy to idealize about the Holy Family.  We speculate about Joseph’s humility, Mary’s quiet attentiveness and Jesus’ humble obedience.  These virtues may have been a part of family life in Nazareth; and yet as we read the gospels carefully we see that the Holy Family had its share of troubles and difficulties that caused them great worry. The scriptures provide us with few details about their family life but we do know from the details we have, that their family life was not so different from what we would find today by comparison.  Their family history included a premarital pregnancy, an almost-broken engagement, a sudden uprooting of the family for political reasons and the search for a lost child. The point being, that every family has its share of problems, even the best of families.  A wise spiritual director once said that God is not found in the “ideal,” but in the “real.” God is not found in ideal families or in ideal people, but in real families and in real people.  Families are never perfect; they are all marked by joy and pain, mistakes and good choices. The Holy Family knew the pressures of family life. They experienced God’s presence even amid those difficulties. With all the challenges of daily life, we pray for the grace to recognize God’s presence in our families.

May Blessed Mary and St. Joseph bless you and your family. 

Bishop Wayne Joseph Kirkpatrick

 

 

Christmas 2020

As we celebrate Christmas this year, so many things come to mind. We think about loved ones who are not with us now. We think back to days past and we yearn for better days ahead. The reality is that we make the most of our present day as we contemplate the meaning of Christmas. Christmas validates our hope that our God-is-with-us, Emmanuel and that is why we need to celebrate Christmas.

The words of the prophet Isaiah from the midnight Mass are a poetic gem. The lovely language does not cover up the agony behind the lines; it underlines it. The prophet is appealing to the people who have, “lived in a land of deep darkness,” pressed down by “the yoke of their burden…” We have been living in a land full of gloom burdened by this pandemic, unable to gather freely to worship, unable to gather as a family in our homes and in our churches. We long for the light to dispel this darkness that surrounds us.

As we celebrate Christmas, we need to recognize and acknowledge that our God is with us always and will see us through these dark days. Let the message of Christmas speak to our hearts. Christmas is about allowing that love of God found in each to be shared. As people of faith, we are to reach out to one another in love, albeit this year with a mask and from a safe distance.

Despite any darkness, Christmas fills us with hope and reminds us of God’s enduring love and constant presence among us. May we open our hearts to the light of His presence not just on Christmas Day, but every day.

May Blessed Mary and St. Joseph bless you and your families.

Bishop Wayne Joseph Kirkpatrick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Communications Officer, Diocese of Antigonish

Comments (1)

  • Reply Susan Graham - December 24, 2020

    Thank you for that beautiful talk. I am truly grateful for your reflections and homilies.
    Merry Christmas and a healthy, joyful, holy 2021!!!

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