Homily for Jan. 3, Monday after Epiphany
“It’s not over ‘till it’s over”, and no, Christmas is still not over. Throughout the week we are in what the liturgical calendar calls “Christmas weekdays”, the days after Epiphany and before the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which is the following Sunday. For this reason, we should look at today’s readings in the light of Christmas and Epiphany to see what message the Church is trying to convey to us.
The first reading is from St John’s first letter. Essentially, he exhorts us to hold on to the gift we have just received at Christmas. To do that, we need to hold fast to our faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God made flesh, just as we have seen Him and adored Him this Christmas. It is equally important that we remember and apply the message of the Incarnation: God loves us, so much that He is willing to become one of us to save us. We in turn should follow Jesus’ commandment to love others as He loved us. If we keep faith and live love, we belong to God, and He will remain in us through the Holy Spirit that dwells within us.
The psalm and the gospel reading continue with the theme of Epiphany; they describe how Jesus, the Light of the World, starts to shine on all nations with His teachings and miracles. Putting this together with the first reading, we can find an implicit mission statement. Our faith in, and love for, Jesus should naturally lead us to love others. The best way to do that is to share our experience of Christ so more people everywhere can share in this light that illuminates the often rough and winding paths of our own lives.
Surely, there are many ways we are already doing this, but Christmas is an opportunity to fire up our love, and renew our enthusiasm and self-giving, always relying on God. We all want this year to be one of greater faith, spreading peace, more solidarity, charity and justice. With God’s help and guidance we can overcome any obstacles in the world, because as St John says, we “have conquered them, for the one who is in [us] is greater than the One who is in the world. […] We belong to God.”