Celebrating the Solemnity of the Epiphany grabs our attention and focuses us on the kingship and divinity of the Christ Child. The Magi from the East, who are not believers like the Israelites, come to not just “pay their respects” to a neighboring “newborn king of the Jews” but to even “do him homage.” They have more respect to offer than King Herod and the Jewish elites. They even offer gifts of not just respect for a king such as gold, but also, frankincense and myrrh to, in part, symbolize worshiping with a sacrificial offering, now that’s homage! St. John Chrysostom suggested they even worshiped Jesus as God!
The Magi, as “outsiders,” provide an incredible witness of duty, honor, respect, adoration, and worship for the sacred newborn King! This should cause us to take pause and reflect on whether we are doing at least the same for Jesus in the midst of our lives and in our sacred spaces such as our churches and most importantly, in oursanctuaries where Jesus comes to us through Sacred Liturgy and gives Himself to us in the Most Holy Eucharist and is reserved for us in our tabernacles.
For this reason and many others, Sacred Liturgy is extremely important to me, Bishop DeGrood, and the Church. It is strictly regulated by the Church and overseen by our bishop. Bishop DeGrood is calling on our clergy to review how we celebrate the Sacred Liturgy in our diocese, bring more uniformity to it, and improve upon it.
When I arrived, I took the time necessary to learn how the liturgical norms are practiced in our parishes, reviewed them, and formulated the changes necessary while trying to respect certain customs and traditions where I can. Since Altarservers are intimately involved in Sacred Liturgy, I began with training present and new Altar servers and will retrain them during Youth Faith Formation (YFF) to help them get used to the changes. I really appreciate their openness to change and their efforts to adopt them. Also, we are adding interested adults to supplement and provide for serving roles as needed, such as serving funerals when school is in session. Please contact me to volunteer.
May we make it our personal priority and commitment to give the Christ Child the homage due Him with respect, praise, adoration and worship! We need to make a firm resolution for ourselves individually and to support one another in this lofty endeavor and journey of Faith in our parishes and in our Church.
Liturgical Correction: As I announced last Sunday at Masses, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God is a Holy Day, but not a Holy Day of Obligation this year. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) specifies this on their website www.usccb.org. I made a mistake in following my planner instead of checking official sources.