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Sunday, 02 January 2022 08:29

Feast of the Epiphany - 2022

Fr Frank Gerry SVD 150My Sisters and Brothers in the Lord,

During this Christmas Season, I am sure we have been touched by the rich expanse of our human story that this Season offers in utter simplicity.

Today’s Feast of the Epiphany makes its own special contribution. The word Epiphany means Manifestation: it is the outreach to the whole world of the gift that Christmas offers.

I would like to share with you something personal, not my own thoughts or recollections, but those of the highly esteemed Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, the former Archbishop of Milan and former director of the Biblical Institute in Rome. The Cardinal was widely known and respected for his writings.

He died in Varese, northern Italy, on Aug. 31, 2012, at the age of 85.  In a pastoral letter to his flock in Milan, leading into the new millennium while he was still Archbishop of Milan, he wrote,

 “I feel that there are many themes, too many even, that are knocking at the door of my heart. I will try to mention at least the principal ones.”

“Prompted by such a great number of things to consider, I searched long and hard, together with various diocesan Councils, for a word that would somehow summarise these concerns and provide an icon to draw them together.

 During this search, as I sometimes agonised over the great number of themes and the difficulty of linking them together in a convincing way, I found the question that the Russian novelist, Dostoyevsky, placed on the lips of one of the characters in his novel, The Idiot, increasingly present in my heart.

In the novel, the atheist Ippolit asks Prince Myshkin, “Is it true, Prince, that you once said that the world will be saved by beauty?  What sort of beauty will save the world?”

“The Prince did not respond to the question, like the day the Nazarene standing before Pilate responded to the question, ‘What is truth?’ (Jn. 18:38), simply by his presence.”

Cardinal Martini continued in his pastoral letter,

“It almost seems that the silence of Myshkin, who stood, with the infinite compassion of love, next to the youth who was dying of consumption at eighteen years of age, tells us that the beauty that will save the   world is the love that shares the pain.”

That really is what it is all about!

The beauty that will save the world is the love that shares the pain!

This, too, is the message of the feast of the Epiphany that we celebrate today: The manifestation of the mystery of the Incarnation to the nations of the world.

At the end of his sharing, Cardinal Martini had a question of his own:

 

What can you do for the church?

 

It is a question that the present state of our faith community puts to each one of us:

How can we participate in the beauty of the Mystery of Christ that shares the pain of the world?

That is the question!

What is our response?                                       

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY

In the spirit of reconciliation, the Society of the Divine Word, Australia Province, acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea, sky, and community.

We acknowledge their skin-groups, story-lines, traditions, religiosity and living cultures.

We pay respect to their elders, past, present, and emerging, and extend that respect to all indigenous peoples of New Zealand, Thailand, and Myanmar.

We are committed to building with them, a brighter future together.