January 6, 2017 – Friday before Epiphany

Saint for the day: Andre Bessette (1845 – 1937)

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

1 John 5:5-13    –    Psalm 147    –    Mark 1:7-11

“The heavens were opened and the voice of the Father thundered: ‘This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.’” (Luke 9:35)

 There’s an old ‘adage’ that says, “Once you’ve opened a can of worms the only way you can close it is by getting a larger can!” Well, you might ask ,why am I starting today’s “reflection” with such a mundane quote? Even as I begin putting today’s reflection together I found it difficult to know exactly what feast or celebration we should be doing. Why is there such confusion as we get to the end of the Christmas celebrations?

Part of the answer to that question goes back to the desire of the Church to make some of the main celebrations more available to the general population. However, since so many of these celebrations were originally calculated using an almost ‘old testament’ method based on easily remembered days or years – such as 40 days of Lent; 50 days to Ascension; and twelve days to Epiphany, these feasts or celebration often fell on weekdays and were not easily available to the general, working population.

So, the Church made the decision to move these principle feasts and celebrations to a Sunday so that more people would be able to attend. That move, of course, took away the familiar calculations causing some to want to go back to “the way it was.”

Which brings me to the point of today’s reflection: we are always “on the way” and we can’t put our hands to the plow and then look back. Sure, we can have fond memories of past blessings and good times, but we can’t just go back in the sense of wanting to undo what we are about in the “be here now” sense of following Jesus. As I’ve said before, we can’t just hang around the quiet cave at Bethlehem. We have to “go out” – maybe like Mary, Joseph and Jesus – to an uncertain future in some, maybe foreign land – but always knowing that we have been commissioned to go out and bring the good news to all we meet. Let’s not waste our time tying to figure out dates or times or calendars. Remember, “One day with the Lord is as a thousand elsewhere.” (2 Peter 3:8) Jesus calls, “Follow me!” And we know what that means: we’ll ultimately end being with Him on Calvary. “Happy Epiphany” or “First Friday” or land on the familiar words … “this is the day the Lord has made. Let us be glad and rejoice in it.” (Psalm 118:24) Amen!

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