Fr. Joe's Letter

Fr. Joe’s Letter

Jan 4, 2023

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany as we remember that the Magi came from the east to find and worship the newborn King of the Jews.  They came seeking God Himself even if they did not fully realize the scope of their search and journey.

We are very much like the Magi because we too seek God; all of us, everyone who has ever lived seeks God.  God has set Himself like a seal on our hearts.  He has made us in His own image and likeness, so it is very natural for us to seek Him and to want a relationship with Him.  The challenge for all of us is how do we establish this relationship and how do we grow in it.  God has given us the means and power to do all this and more.  He Himself became one of us in the Incarnation.  We are celebrating the Birth of Jesus in these days of Christmas and in doing so we proclaim that God is with us.  Jesus, who is the Word of God made flesh has come to dwell among His people, He has come to save us from our sins, and He gives us new and eternal life.  So, in His coming as man Jesus gives us the gift of Himself and He continues to give us this gift in the Church and the Sacraments.  The Church and the Sacraments are the gifts through which Jesus continues to reveal Himself to us and shows us how much He loves us.  He is always with us no matter what we do and no matter how far we may wander away from Him.

From the Magi we can learn how important our search for God is and how vital the journey is to find Him in our lives.  The Magi were led and guided by the light of a star and so we are led and guided by the light of faith.  God sent the Star of Bethlehem to the Magi as a way of showing them that He wanted them to turn to Him and know His love for them.  God may not act in such a dramatic way in our lives, but He does make Himself known to us in all kinds of ways in our everyday lives.  He may reveal Himself in times of prayer, in thoughtful moments when we are performing acts of charity, in moments of trial or doubt, in moments of sorrow, in moments of simple joys of everyday life, in the words of a friend or a stranger, in close calls when terrible or tragic events are nearly avoided, and He most definitely reveals Himself in His Word and Sacraments especially the Most Holy Eucharist.

In many countries throughout the world and Christendom itself there has been a longstanding tradition of blessing houses on the Feast of the Epiphany or the Feast of the Three Kings.  When I was growing up in Barberton the parish priest would often come to our house to bless it around the Feast of the Epiphany.  He would pretty much say the prayers in Latin and then mark the front door of the house with the inscription “20+K+M+B+23” to mind us of the blessing and the year in honor of the three kings.  The idea was that whenever we would leave our house, for whatever amount time, that God would go with us to guide us as He guided the Three Kings on their journey to Bethlehem and also guided them safely home. 

The blessing and the guidance not only referred the journey itself, but also reminded us that God goes with us no matter where we go, and we are in turn called to take with us the message of the Gospel no matter where we go or who we see along the way.  We are to act and speak with the love of God.  So, we mark or chalk the door of the house.  Mainly the front door but any door we frequently use, e.g., the door that goes into the garage might be one that we mark as well.

Again, Fr. Pat and I wish to thank everyone who made our celebration of Christmas such a joyful and prayerful time for all of us.  Everything was very beautiful from the Masses, the music, decorations in the church, to the smiles and joy in the faces of all who came to worship, especially the children.  May God bless everyone in the New Year with an abundance of grace and mercy.

Fr. Joe Labak