Sunday, December 26, 2010

Announcements: Epiphany (Jan 2, 2011) Year A

Dear Holy Rosary Mission parishioners, here are a few announcements:

Nativity Narrative: Thank you to Bernina and all involved in the Christmas Eve nativity play. It was the first time we have ever tried it and it was excellent. Holy Rosary was packed to e overflowing. Here is a picture of the rehearsal the day before. The play starred twelve children from ages 4-10.

Thank you: Thank you to the Clark family who came by on Christmas eve before mass and decorated the outside Christmas tree with lights and star. The tree was donated by Cindy, who won it from Ducks Unlimited.

Thank you: Our music during Christmas eve was beautiful. Bernina Venua played her flute for the presentation and communion hymns, while Brian Venua played music on the piano for the entrance and recessional. The was the fourteen year old Brian’s fist time taking responsibility to be the musician at Mass. Thank you for helping to make our liturgy prayerful and spiritual.

Note from the Pastor: For a priest like me, where this is my first assignment as a priest, it is such a blessing to see so many Catholics come to the Christmas Eve mass. My heart was warmed! I did not count the people but there was standing room only. I am thinking between 125 and 150 people attended Holy Rosary in Dillingham. At Saint Theresa’s Christmas Eve mass there was also a good turnout of around 40 to 50 people. Thank you! Have a very Merry Christmas Season.

Gospel: Epiphany: (Please see Homily and readings below) Just what is an Epiphany? It is a Christian feast celebrating the manifestation of the divine nature of Jesus to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi. Epiphany is a revelatory manifestation of a divine being. It is a sudden manifestation of the essence or meaning of something. Epiphany can be a comprehension or perception of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realization: “I experienced an epiphany, a spiritual flash that would change the way I viewed myself” (Frank Maier).

Have a great week and see you Sunday, Fr. Scott


Epiphany Jan 2, 2011, Yr A, Isa 60: 1-6 , Eph 3: 2-3a, 5-6 Mat 2: 1-12

Story: When I first came to Alaska I had a job as a construction worker. It fizzled out six days after I started. I started painting houses. A person’s house I was painting worked at Arco Alaska. She told me I should apply for a job. I got a job as computer graphics specialist in the exploration drafting department. After awhile, I felt I was in a dead end job.

I came to a new understanding. I started thinking about college. I prayed about it. I decided to attend UAF. It meant quitting my high paying job. It meant suffering because of the income loss, the transition, and moving away from friends. Finally, I received a business degree and became a Confirmed Catholic. I thanked God for turning my life around.

What made me quit my job at Arco and go to College? I call it an Epiphany. An Epiphany is spark of spiritual inspiration. It is an intuitive grasp of reality through a simple and striking event. It is a divine sign spurring us into action. In the gospel the very idea of Gentiles coming to celebrate the birth of a Jewish Messiah is an Epiphany.

We can all have Epiphanies. They appear when we recognize the light of Christ in our lives? Epiphanies enlighten us to a new understanding causing us to change to a holier way of life.

For example: You dropped out of college years ago, but you recently made plans to return. I had friend in college. He kept looking at x rated websites. He took out the modem card, broke it, and chucked it out the window.

Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh clues us in on the events that take place during an epiphany.

Gold is symbolizes a new understanding. It represents new wisdom.

Frankincense represents divinity and prayer. It points to a holy way of living that has come into the world in Jesus Christ.

Myrrh tells of the suffering involved in changing our way of life. It foretells the cross. It reminds us always of the price we must pay for anything worthwhile.

How does an epiphany work?

GOLD is a reminder to call on the Holy Spirit for openness to a new understanding or Epiphany. Ever had a real tough decision to make? Struggling with that decision may be an Epiphany in the making. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you in that decision.

Frankincense reminds us we have to pray. Pray everyday about that new understanding…that inspiration…that epiphany you have received. Is that new understanding something that will make our life better and holier?

Myrrh reminds us that an Epiphany requires us to do something…make a change. That usually involves suffering. Call on Jesus to help you through that suffering.

Finally, thank God for that better and holier lifestyle (468 Words with story).

Isaiah 60: 1-6
Rise up in splendor! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; But upon you the LORD shines, and over you appears his glory. Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance. Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you: Your sons come from afar, and your daughters in the arms of their nurses. Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow, For the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you. Caravans of camels shall fill you, dromedaries from Midian and Ephah; All from Sheba shall come bearing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.

Ephesians 3: 2-3a & 5-6
Brothers and sisters, you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for your benefit, (namely, that) the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly earlier, which was not made known to human beings in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Mat 2: 1-12 – “When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem saying, Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage. When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel. Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star's appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word that I too may go and do him homage. After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.”

Research for homily:
Caspar, Balthasar, and Melchior were three astrologers…men who studied the stars and discovered the meaning of human life on earth. They believed that solar marvels accompanied the birth of great kings. Modern astrologers tell us that there was an unusual solar phenomenon around the time of Jesus’ birth. This unusually bright star led the three wise astrologers to where this great king was. They read the signs in the stars and recognized the true identity of God’s light to us…the Christ Child.

Frankincense is a fragrant, aromatic resin, or gum resin, burned as an incense in religious rites or for medicinal fumigation. It comes from East Indian trees, of the genus Boswellia; and from the Norway spruce (Abies excelsa). The frankincense of the ancient Jews is still unidentified.

Myrrh is a gum resin, usually of a yellowish brown or amber color, of an aromatic odor, and a bitter, slightly pungent taste. It is valued for its odor and for its medicinal properties. It exudes from the bark of a shrub of Abyssinia and Arabia. The myrrh of the Bible is supposed to have been partly the gum above named, and partly the exudation of species of Cistus, or rockrose.

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