Monday Message, January 8, 2024

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Happy New Year. We hope you and your families had a wonderful time celebrating the birth of our Lord and enjoyed some well-deserved rest.

Looking ahead, our next Parish Leader Check-In is tomorrow. Please find the link here.

Jenna Cooper begins her tenure as the new Associate Director of the Institute this morning. Her primary focus (initially) will be to finish the norms, work on standard operating procedures, and more! Pray for Jenna.

Please also pray for Carmela’s dad, who is ill and hospitalized.

Regional conversations continue this week. See the full listing here.

The first email for the Personal Consecration will go out today. Details here. Today’s email will feature a video welcome from the bishop. Tomorrow, the journey begins.

Finally, I have a request and I hope I can be diplomatic about this. If you have an angry parent, please do all you can to handle things locally. First, by engaging the parent about the issue and then, if necessary, have the parent meet with the pastor. Please do not suggest to the parent that they call the bishop’s office. The bishop seldom overrules pastors on local issues and everything that can be handled locally should be handled locally.

Parents who have issues with confirmation dates, fee structures, program length, etc. are all issues that you can deal with locally. I know it can be frustrating to have parents who are upset or angry, but do all you can to accompany them and, if necessary, allow me to assist you.

Speaking of confirmation, if you have someone who cannot attend your local confirmation, call or email me or Carmela. We will give you the dates of other celebrations near the date of yours. Then you can communicate with the family to let them know alternatives. Then we will be the ones to contact the parish. Do not have parents call other parishes asking that their children be included.


Believers are first and foremost recipients of the light who are challenged to penetrate darkness. Sunday’s readings understand community members as the bearers of gifts to others. To share one’s gift is to overcome the darkness and usher in the light.

During the gloomy days after the exile, the prophet we call Third Isaiah sought to energize his Judean community. In this world of despair the one point of light is Jerusalem because God’s presence illuminates it. The intensity of this light attracts foreign nations. They not only see God’s glory but become Yahweh’s missionaries carrying the message to distant peoples, opening up the treasures of Israel’s faith to others.

The author of Ephesians speaks of Paul as a steward who was entrusted with God’s great plan for all of humanity. The Gentiles have received the Spirit and are partners with Israel in the covenant responses. As a steward, Paul is compelled to share this divine insight with others.

Matthew writes at a critical moment in the life of the community. Many Gentiles were entering the community, but many Jews were leaving (see Matthew 21:42-43). Matthew tells the story of the astrologers in order to show that the admission of the Gentiles is part of God’s plan. The pagan astrologers are the first to come and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews. The Jewish leadership rejects this king. The story eases community tensions.

The celebration of Epiphany demands that the Christian raise the question: Who experiences darkness and needs light? Instead of formulating a grandiose scheme to evangelize the atheists, the modern believer is well advised to search closer to home. If there are members of the family who suffer economic hardship, light takes the form of financial and emotional support. If there are people at work who suffer from chemical dependency, light takes the shape of encouragement to seek professional help. If there are persons in our faith community who have doubts, light takes the appearance of sharing their pain and attempting to aid them through the crisis. In these and similar situations the message of Epiphany is clear: Share the light.