Sunday after Theophany 2012
Let us purify our feelings and our thoughts that we may be full of divine glory. For having seen Christ Who was baptized in the flesh, and Who crushed the head of the wicked one, we shall worthily sing hymns and cry out to Him: Blessed are, O Christ our God, Who have manifested Yourself. Glory to You!
This glorious feast put us on the shores of theJordan riverto be spiritually present at the moment when John poured water on Jesus’ head, the Father spoke, and the Spirit descended in the form a dove: thus the Trinity was revealed. For the Eastern Churches, that is the Epiphany: the manifestation of God. In the West, it is the Adoration of the Magi, and so Christ is manifested to the nations of the Gentiles.
Either way, we are called in this the Year of Faith to set ourselves to the path of helping God to manifest Himself in the places where we live. This calls for a New Evangelization, started by Pope John Paul II, which focused on proclaiming the Gospel to the baptized who have never really heard it, and to those outside of the baptized who long for divine love and guidance.
Pope Benedict XVI asks that the local Church (diocese/eparchy) commit itself to this program for 2012:
Organising catechetical events, especially for young people and those seeking the meaning of life, helping them to discover the beauty of ecclesial faith.
– Reviewing the reception of Vatican Council II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church in the life and mission of dioceses, particularly in the realm of catechesis.
– Focusing the continuing education of the clergy on the documents of Vatican Council II and on the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
– Organizing penitential celebrations in which all can ask for God’s forgiveness, especially for sins against faith.
– Renewing creative dialogue between faith and reason in the academic and artistic communities, through symposia, meetings and days of study, especially at Catholic universities.
In the parishes, the following is proposed:
– Intensifying the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist, in which the faith of the Church is proclaimed, celebrated and strengthened. All of the faithful are invited to participate in the Eucharist actively, fruitfully and with awareness.
– Priests should devote greater attention to the study of the documents of Vatican Council II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, apply this to their pastoral care and offer cycles of homilies on the faith or on certain specific aspects.
– Catechists should hold more firmly to the doctrinal richness of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and guide groups of faithful towards a deeper common understanding thereof.
– Parishes can help to distribute the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and other resources appropriate for families – the primary setting for the transmission of the faith – for example, during the blessing of homes, the Baptism of adults, Confirmation and Marriage.
– Promoting missions and other popular programs in parishes and in the workplace, to help the faithful rediscover the gift of baptismal faith and the task of giving witness.
If you have some ideas for either, send them to me via Comments. I am working on an Evangelization and Outreach website, and will be happy to incorporate them, and will happily give credit to you!