Could you be the “Epiphany” to the lonely near or far?January 8th, 2014
Let us act so that our brothers and sisters never feel alone! Our presence in solidarity is expressed not only through our words but also through the eloquence of our deeds that God is close to everyone.” This is part of the challenging Christmas message from Pope Francis, who still expresses his faith by bringing God’s “Good News” to the prisoners and lonely in the slums of Rome and Rio as he formally did in Argentina. It’s clear that the Holy Father is constantly empowered by Jesus’ words from Jesus’ “Last Judgment” in Matthew 25:31-46, “For I was in prison and you visited me…..Whatever you did for the least of my sisters and brothers, you did for me.”
And as we ponder the feasts of Christmas and Epiphany we see shepherds and the maji who were over joyed meeting the Christ-child, Mary and Joseph. With the power of the Holy Spirit, they returned to their local or far away destinations sharing their new hope in a compassionate God who wants to be close to us. The Gospel writers included those accounts to urge us to do the same!
During a recent mission conference of 4,000 mostly Latino lay missionaries in Maracaibo, Venezuela, we gathered to celebrate the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives to be God’s messengers of solidarity locally and globally. We recognized that it is that same Spirit of Epiphany that calls to us to reach out to the forgotten, oppressed, the bed-ridden, the aged, the imprisoned. While we could have sat in the conference hall listening to more speeches, on one of those days of our conference we broke up into various groups. With the help of local parishes, we visited local homes of lower income neighborhood. We asked if we could meet and pray with any one in their homes. Where we surprised how very grateful the local Venezuelans were that we came to visit, listen and pray with them. It gave even more credibility to our missionary conference! (see attached photo)
So considering the example of the shepherds, the maji and Pope Francis, let’s consider a resolution for 2014 where we and our parishes will allow the Holy Spirit help us become more effective missioners of God’s compassion and solidarity, locally or globally. For more information about missionary possibilities, parish twinning, or supporting the work of our mission churches, contact Dr. Mike Gable, Mission Office, Archdiocese of Cincinnati at: email@example.com or phone (513) 421-3131, ext. 2630.