Sunday, January 3, 2021

A homily for the Epiphany

 Probably everybody here made a New Year Resolution.  Even if you resolved not to, well, that's still a resolution.

The Feast of the Epiphany was traditionally celebrated on the 6th of January; 12th Night, Kings Day, Little Christmas and the 1st day of Carnival.  King Cakes; a very big deal down here in these parts.  

This year I thought that I would focus on the New Year aspect of things so I turned to our very own patroness, St. Jane de Chantal who has great words of wisdom for a New Year.  Face it; all of us are thrilled to see 2020 go and while 2021 will still have challenges, even challenges related to Covid19, at least a New Year hints at hope.

So let's see what good and holy St. Jane has to say to us on this 3rd day of the New Year and this 10th day of Christmas.  She tells us:" it is easy to begin a New Year, it is not so easy to see it to completion.  It is not so easy to put our hands to the work that God expects of us during every day of the approaching year.  Time passes, the years come and go, and we must make a strong and absolute resolution that, if our Lord wills that we might enjoy this coming year, we will make better use of this New Year than the many that have preceded it."

St. Jane further exhort us:" let us walk with a new and lively spring in our step in the service to God and one another."

Seems that the the encouragement coming from beloved St. Jane is this: let's renew our efforts to observe the double commandment of loving God and loving our neighbor; to dedicate ourselves anew to the basics of the Christian life, and to do so with a new and lively enthusiasm, a joyful and determined zeal.  St. Jane is asking us to do our ordinary, everyday things with great love!

Married?  Attend to the love of the other, your spouse.  Never take married love for granted.  At all times empty yourself for the good of your spouse.  Love always for the benefit of the other, your spouse!

Parent?  See in the faith formation and the human formation of your children what is God's will for you and your family.  And never forget, as we hear in every Baptism, we remind parents that we are to be the first of teachers and the best of teachers in all things faith.  Be the best teacher!

Friend?  Reach out to your friend, new and old alike; connect, reconnect, help, encourage, and love.  Do so in the small and simple ways, especially during these times.  This pandemic can be challenging; many are concerned, lonely and are experiencing pain.  Be a great friend!

Parishioner?  Love your parish.  This is holy ground, right here and right now, given to us by God to offer Him praise and worship and to help us on our journey of holiness.  This is where we seek hope and renewal, a beautiful place to grow ever closer to God.  Here, Jesus waits for you everyday, here in the Tabernacle; really and truly present for us.  This is the place where we strive to Live Jesus, the very motto of dear St. Jane herself; Live Jesus!  Don't forget too, support your parish, with prayers and your gift of time but also your treasure; like many of us. St. Jane Parish needs financial support during this pandemic.

St. Jane also tells us:" let us embrace our stage and state of life as fully as we can.  Let us employ the time that God gives us with great care.  While we ultimately must depend and rely on God's mercy, let us at the same time remember to do as much good as we can in the time that God gives us now."

St. Jane of course would be very familiar with this Gospel we heard for the Epiphany.  There is one line in the Gospel that speaks to me and sounds like St. Jane embraced: they returned by a different way.  The encounter with Jesus and the dream of the angel compelled the wise men to return a new way.  Inspired by the words of St. Jane, we too can ever have that special personal encounter with Jesus and go back the same way; no we take a new way where Christ is first and foremost in our heart and our soul.  We return to Him by a new and better route.

So may our New Year resolution be this simple: in each present moment, however how ordinary or routine, let us be who we are and be that perfectly well!

Ot maybe our New Year resolution can be stated as simply and beautifully as St. Jane did: Live Jesus!

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