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75008 Paris

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Epiphany of Our Lord 7Jan2018

Reflection by Aidan Troy [Aodhán O Troighthigh] Please note: the view of the above alone.


At Christmas and New Year, I received lovely presents. Many thanks for such beautiful gifts. Also, at Christmas and New Year, I was overwhelmed with the presence of huge numbers of people - at the Carol Service and Pageant, Mass, Confessions, at the Crib and meeting at the church door (mulled wine as well) - all left me feeling truly blessed   and enriched by peoples’ presence.

It was my privilege to eat in family homes and attend a New Year’s Eve party! The pain of the loneliness of some people at Christmas and New Year, makes me very sad. Reaching out to a person who is lonely may not change THE world, but it will change A world for that person who feels alone.

The gift of presence, given and received, comes from the Real Presence of the One born at Christmas. Born at, but not confined to, Christmas. The presence of Jesus is day and night and all year long. His present to us is nothing less than the divine presence in our lives. The poet John Betjeman (1906-1984), speaks movingly of the gift of Christ’s presence among us:

        A present that cannot be priced

        Given two thousand years ago.

        Yet if God had not given so

        He still would be a distant stranger

       And not the babe in the manger.

Just like the wise people from the East who brought gifts to the Infant King, Jesus showers us with His gifts – being our Light, our Saviour, our King and our Joy. Whatever our possessions may be, we are truly rich to have these gifts from God and His presence as well.

Each day, at this time of year, there is a slight increase in the time of daylight. Maybe only a few minutes, but it all adds up. I love this increase in light. The way God works is that He does not shine a light in our eyes or even on our path for us to see the way. He does something beautifully captured in the opening prayer of the Vigil Mass today:

“May the splendour of your  majesty, O Lord, we pray, shed its light upon our hearts, that we may pass through the shadows of this world and reach the brightness of our eternal home.” {Feast of Epiphany Vigil Mass}

The light of Christ starts in the human heart, where evil also starts. With the light of Christ in our hearts, the presence of Christ is picked up by others. In a way, we begin to be like ‘stars’ – not as in ‘show business’, but like the Shepherds, the Wise Ones from the East who followed a star. The star that Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar (Wise Men) followed is still, most likely, shining. Let us follow it.

God makes us ‘stars’ for each other. I see the face of God in the eyes of a child filled with love. The shining light in the eyes of parents watching their child take part in the pageant, shows me the glow of God’s “pride” in us as His beloved children. The patience of sick people at a time like Christmas, shows me Jesus still carrying the Cross. The only place where God is not to be seen, is when I turn away from Him or you by selfishness and sin.

May the Lord shed His light upon your hearts this Epiphany day.

StJoeParis

Saint Joseph's Catholic Church
50 Avenue Hoche
75008 Paris, France
33(0)1 42 27 28 56
stjosephparis@wanadoo.fr

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