Fr. Joe's Letter

Fr. Joe’s Letter

Jan 4, 2024

This first Sunday of the New Year finds us celebrating the Feast of the Epiphany of

Our Lord. We remember the visit by the Magi to Jesus in Bethlehem. These people came from far away to worship the newborn King of the Jews. They risked a great deal, even their own safety, just to follow the light of a new star that they observed at its rising. They searched for a long time and eventually found much more than they bargained for; they found the Lord God Himself who had become a human being in the person of Jesus Christ.

How very much our journey is like theirs? There is something deep inside every one of us, a light if you will, that urges us to seek something or someone outside of ourselves. Someone who will help us to understand the mystery of life and all the things we wonder about in this world of ours. We are searching for God!  Many may not realize they are seeking Him and so they look in all the wrong places.

We too have to be willing to risk a lot in order to find that which is true and beautiful. We have to be willing to leave some things and some people behind in order to find that which will make us what God created us to be. This can be pretty frightening sometimes, but the Light that is Jesus Christ will guide us and give the warmth and comfort we all need so much. We have to learn to trust the light of Christ and truly focus on His light and not let ourselves be led astray by the other so-called “lights” we encounter in this world. Prayer and the sacraments truly are the best means by which we can truly seek the Lord. He will be found by all who seek Him because He is available to all; He is present to all; and He loves all.

On this Feast of the Epiphany God truly reveals Himself to the entire world. He reveals Himself in the form of a small child who is truly God and man. He reveals Himself to these wise men who came from the East. They are wise because they seek the truth; they seek God Himself. Their wisdom is something we can easily share no matter who we are, all we have to do is seek God even more than we are. Seek God in order to make Him the center of your life and home.

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 say the prayers in Latin and then mark the front door of the house with the inscription “20+K+M+B+24” to remind us of the blessing and the year in honor of the three kings, Kasper, Melchior, and Balthasar.  The idea is that whenever we would leave our house, for whatever amount of time, 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.  I suppose this could easily be applied to those who we encounter in our journey.

As we did last year, the blessing prayer for the family to say can be found in today’s bulletin and the blessed chalk can be found in a basket near the manger scene.

It is a very simple and important way for us to remember that when we leave the house God is going with us and we need to invite Him very consciously to be a part of the journey by bringing the Gospel to those we will meet along the way.  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 on 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