From the homily of Pope Francis on this day, 2020
As I arrived at my office this morning, a palm tree was being brought down. So many palms suffered tremendously from our “Ash Wednesday” freeze, here in San Antonio. I suppose many of the most hardy have survived. I know this tree, surrounded by the asphalt of our office parking lot, must be quite old. Most likely, it was planted when the Motherhouse was built in 1900, or shortly thereafter. I know nothing about palm trees .. their life expectancy in unpredictable climates, what can sabotage them, to what diseases are they susceptible … so my thoughts this morning are really about life and death, and the mystery of both.
This resource has been provided to help us celebrate the most sacred days of our liturgical year – the Triduum. For each day, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil, there is a leader’s guide, in PDF format. Open the file in your computer, tablet (iPad), or smart phone (iPhone); it could be easier to facilitate the prayer if you print out the guide for each day. It is suggested that the leader familiarize themselves with the guide to be prepared to lead the prayer (this will also allow the leader the opportunity to contact us for questions etc. – CLICK HERE)
February 2nd is celebrated as the Feast of the Presentation … when Jesus was taken by his parents to the temple – as was to their custom – to be presented and consecrated to God. He was received and recognized by Simeon, and by Anna, two venerable elders. The scene is recounted in today’s Gospel.
Epiphany, also called Feast of the Epiphany, Theophany, or Three Kings’ Day, (from Greek epiphaneia, “manifestation”), occurs on January 6, 12 days after Christmas. The Catholic Church moves the celebration of the feast to the closest Sunday as to give more weight to the feast. Epiphany commemorates the first manifestation of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, represented by the Magi. Epiphany is one of the three principal and oldest festival days of the Christian church (the other two are Easter and Christmas). Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, and other Western churches observe the feast on January 6, while some Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate Epiphany on January 19, since their Christmas Eve falls on January 6.
The Feast of the Epiphany celebrates the mystery of God revealing God’s self (i.e., the Incarnation) to the very ends of the earth. The visit of the Magi symbolize the extent of God’s love: for all people, from every land; for every race and creed.
Time is up! Our time for preparation is drawing near. Are we ready to receive the Incarnate Word? This year, we won’t be so busy with hurrying here and there, going from one store to the next, or one holiday party to the next. So use this gift of time to rediscover Advent, and to remember that God’s promise to us has been fulfilled. Ponder the actions of our loving God, who has always been faithful to the covenant.
Bring glad tidings to the poor! How can you help to do that? How can you help heal the brokenhearted? Is there something you can do to bring about justice? Pay attention to who is around you; what might they need? Can you help?