The Three Wise Men

Newsletter 7
Epiphany
Baptism of the Lord
Week of Prayer
for Christian Unity

  • As we start the new decade, may we wish you all a very Happy New Year.  We can look back on 2009 and hope that the year ahead is a better one.  The problems of war, finance and social unrest all have a bearing on our spiritual life!  Greed, power-grabbing, environmental issues and lack of concern for the well-being of others all present themselves as problems which could be solved if people followed the teachings of Jesus and stopped thinking about themselves.  We may not be in a position to change the world, but there are small things that we can do to help those around us and by following the Gospel, we can set a good example to others.

 

 

  • For Christians, the Christmas season is not over!  6th January is the Epiphany (Twelfth Night) when we usually celebrate the arrival of the Three Wise Men to Jesus after his birth.  In the Catholic Church, this Feast will be celebrated this year on Sunday, 3rd January.  Until recently, this was one of the Holy Days of Obligation but recently we celebrate it on the Sunday nearest the Feast.   We may wonder why this Feast is so important!  Well, The Three Wise Men who are thought to have travelled from Persia, represent the Gentiles;  that is non-Jews which of course includes us!  (The word Epiphany means showing) The first people to see the Saviour in the stable at Bethlehem were the shepherds who belonged to the same race as Jesus but we know that the message that Jesus brought to the world was not just for his own people.  It was a message for all people.  That is why it is so important for us to try to spread the Gospel to everyone.  This does not necessarily mean preaching on street corners but in a more gentle and subtle way.  To paraphrase St. Francis:  Spread the Gospel.  Preach it if you have to!  Which of course means we can spread the Good News by just living our lives in the way Jesus taught us and this in turn, gives a good example to those around us.

 

 

  • Baptism of the Lord is the Feast we celebrate on Sunday 10th January which concludes the liturgical Season of Christmas. When Jesus was baptised in the River Jordan by John the Baptist, it was the start of his ministry.  Let us renew our baptismal vows and resolve to be a faithful follower of Christ by living out the Gospel in our everyday lives.

 

 

  • The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is another important event in the Christian calendar which occurs in January.  Each year, this time of prayer always ends on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul on 25th January.  It is a time when Christians of all denominations pray for unity.  Local organisations known as Churches Together will arrange Services in the various churches in the area.  For example, Churches Together in Goring will be organising services in the town and if you live in another area, try to find out about similar arrangements.  These Services contain prayers and readings that are common to all denominations and usually everyone is made to feel most welcome, often being invited to take part in the proceedings.