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Following the message of the Epiphany

By Bishop Terry R. LaValley

January 7, 2015

Our readings at Sunday Mass often speak to us directly about how we might address the priorities and goals that we have established as a local Church.  Those we heard at Masses on Epiphany Sunday are no exception.
The visit of the magi tells us God has opened the gates of heaven to all people.  We know, however, that not everyone chooses to enter into God’s Kingdom. 

The Gospel narrative about the magi makes clear to us that we have to put some time and energy into finding God and entering into eternal life.  Heaven isn’t a sure thing. 

The magi had to travel perhaps hundreds of miles to find Jesus.  One lesson I learned from my recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land is that travel must have been extremely difficult.

The hills and mountains covered with rocks and stones, the lifeless desert, the deep valleys and jagged cliffs, must have made travel treacherous and slow. 

These travelers had to keep searching, keep moving, even speaking to King Herod and the indifferent Jewish clergy who had all the answers, but no interest in finding the Messiah themselves.  Herod’s real interest in finding the Newborn betrayed a jealous paranoia. 

Even if we know the Catechism of the Catholic Church perfectly, if we don’t live our faith, it’s all for naught. 
For example, Jesus tells us the person who listens to His words and acts on them is like a person who builds his house on rock, whereas a person who listens to his words but does not act on them is like the person who builds his house on sand.  It will end up in ruins.

The story of the magi shows us those who sincerely search for Christ will find him, but tragically not everyone is interested in searching for him sincerely.

As we strive to build up the House of God in the North Country, we know that each of us can rely on God’s grace as we take a step out of our current comfort zone and assist our parish family in addressing our diocesan priorities and goals. 

Many individuals from throughout our Diocese have been working diligently on several committees so that our pastors and our parishioners will be provided with concrete steps to help us address our priorities of Creating a Culture of Vocations, Strengthening Faith Formation in Family Life, and Building our Parishes with Living Stones.
As we have welcomed a New Year, I hope that one of your resolutions is to become involved in this diocesan-wide process.

Take the first step:  ask your pastor what you can do to:  Increase vocational awareness; Support youth ministry and family catechesis; and Participate in home visits as part of your parish-wide census.  This will not entail a trek of many miles over dangerous landscapes, but a journey of faith that requires energy, trust and a generous heart. 

Christ-led, Christ-fed and Hope-filled, this journey promises heavenly rewards.  As a family of faith, let us all search together, find, and then follow Him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Blessed New Year!

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