Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord 2015

Some of you may be familiar with “re-gifting” that is, rather than leave a gift
unused or if it is something you have already, you pass it on to someone else. This practice
seems to have American origins, though it may have been a longer tradition over here than
we are given credit for or imagine. This may be an appropriate day, the Feast of the
Epiphany, to speak of gifts and re-gifting. We remember this feast as a feast for the
Gentiles which includes all and not only those of the Jewish faith. Today the gift of faith
reaches out to all of good will. The Wise Men travelled from the East to pay homage to the
Infant King. They brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh reminding us of his
kingship, his deity and also of his destiny and death. We do not have an account of what
happened to the gifts, but we do have an account of the Wise Men with King Herod, who
stated that he wanted to know all about the Infant King, so that he too may pay him
homage. Sadly we know the terrible reality of Herod’s intention – the slaughter of the Holy
Innocents. We hear today beautiful words from St. Matthew, describing their experience
and homage, “The sight of the star filled them with delight, and
going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and
falling to their knees they did him homage. Then opening their
treasures they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.
But they were warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, and
returned to their own country by a different way.” Our experience
for those at the live Nativity Gospel Tableau, our Christmas Masses
and visits to the Crib, our own faithful prayer and devotion areimages
important, and an inspiration in our understanding of the gifts of our
faith.
It is here at the crib scene, at the homage of the Magi, we can reflect upon the whole
process of re-gifting. Each of us has been given the gift of faith. It is a special gift to be
treasured, cherished and lived. It is also a gift at its best when it is re-gifted, given to others.
When we do this, it brings great blessing through the power of the Holy Spirit to others and ourselves, nothing is lost. Imagine the benefits to our own family, our parish, our
community, our world! It is sad to note, even in our own families, there are many who
would benefit from a “re-gifting” of faith. If we could find a little more time at home or
Church, we could factor in for 2015 prayer in our diaries, diets or exercise programmes.
This will strengthen us in our resolve to re-gift our faith to others. Some are able to do this
in a more direct and open manner but if this is not always possible, never forget the power
of prayer. In our present time, we as Catholics and as Christians must do all we can to keep
in mind the importance of our faith. We are surrounded by many who wish to erode basic
human rights in relation to faith and conscience. Yet when it comes to their cause, all tables are turned and all self-interpretations proclaimed.
In our re-gifting of our faith it is important that we follow the example of the Wise Men
after their meeting with Jesus, “they returned to their own country by a different way”. We
have gifts of faith, love, charity, hope, peace and truth to offer. We too must go by a
different way, living always lives in the joy of the Gospel, so that others may see Jesus in
us. Re-gifting has practical benefits too for the needy. Your kindness to the Falkirk Food
bank appeal looked after by our parish St. Vincent de Paul was much appreciated. If you
have anything you may wish to re-gift in the direction of the SVP, it will not be too late
and will always be gladly received. Through the example and homage of the Wise Men,
may we never fail to “fall on our knees” before Jesus our Lord and Saviour. Do the
same before our brothers and sisters in need, we have much to re-gift, practically and
spiritually, and we know Jesus, is there too.

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