Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. James Farfaglia

1/3/2011 (5 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

All human beings will find meaning in life by being open to God

"Our hearts are restless, until they find their rest in you".  This Sunday's feast of the Epiphany reminds us to reflect on these memorable words of Saint Augustine.  The Three Kings of this Sunday's gospel narrative, their lives incomplete, unsatisfied despite their wealth, fame and power, came in search of the only one who can satisfy the deepest aspirations of the human heart.  They longed to find the very meaning of their existence.

The Feast of the Epiphany calls us to recognize the presence of the Lord and His Truth in our daily lives

The Feast of the Epiphany calls us to recognize the presence of the Lord and His Truth in our daily lives

Highlights

By Fr. James Farfaglia

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/3/2011 (5 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Epiphany, three kings, manifestation, Fr James Farfaglia, Happy Priest


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - "Our hearts are restless, until they find their rest in you".  This Sunday's feast of the Epiphany reminds us to reflect on these memorable words of Saint Augustine. 

All human beings will find meaning in life by being open to God.  The Three Kings, whose coming we celebrate today, were not Jewish; they came from the Orient.  Some scholars believe that they began their travels together from Persia, while others believe that they came from three different regions of the Orient, one of them perhaps being China.

Obviously, the Magi were not part of the chosen people.  They were not Jews.  Instead they formed part of the vast populace extending throughout the known world at that time, designated by the Jews as pagans, or gentiles. 

The Three Kings of this Sunday's gospel narrative, their lives incomplete, unsatisfied despite their wealth, fame and power, came in search of the only one who can satisfy the deepest aspirations of the human heart.  They longed to find the very meaning of their existence.  

After a long and difficult search, they discovered the place where he lay.  They encountered the one who had come to redeem mankind and fulfill our intense longings.  Knowing him for who he is, the Messiah, the Magi have brought him the most appropriate gifts:  gold for a king, frankincense for a priest, and myrrh for a victim.  They recognize that he is Jesus the Christ, the only one through whom salvation can be found.

Because the Three Kings were open, they were given the gift of faith.  Through this gift they searched, they found, and they believed.      Actually, the word epiphany is from the Greek which means manifestation.  Jesus the Messiah reveals his divinity to the Three Kings. 

Certainly today, three of the most blinding obstacles we encounter in the search for meaning and truth are secularism, relativism and pride.  

Secularism only concerns itself with the here and now.  It has no use for matters regarding the existence of God, the immortality of soul, or the eternal destiny of man

The secularist passionately seeks human progress without any reference to the spiritual dimension of the human person.  The secularist is only concerned with this life and has no concern with religion.  In fact, the secularist attempts to experience human satisfaction through involvement in seemingly noble enterprises that are in essence missing the total picture of man's true needs. 

Secularism keeps us from searching for God; it keeps us from finding true meaning in life.  Historically, the Catholic Church has never had to deal with secularism until the arrival of our modern age.  Secularism and paganism are very different indeed.

The pagan believes in the transcendent.  The pagan has an understanding that there is an afterlife and that the soul is immortal.  The pagan also lives by a moral code that has its roots in divine law.  In contrast, for the secularist, there is no God, no eternal life, and morality is arbitrarily contrived without any reference to God. 

The mission of the Church in the secularist world is very difficult indeed simply because the pagan is much more open to truth and can be easily converted, whereas the secularist is usually as hard as a rock. Sometimes the secularist opens up to the true meaning of life through some terrible tragedy such as a dreadful sickness or even death itself.  However, many times the secularist is so closed off to the transcendent that no movement toward God is even possible.

Catholics need to be aware of secularism and not allow it to affect their lives.  However, many Catholics have been poisoned by this pervasive system of thought. 

It is unfortunate that often even in our liturgies, the transcendent has been replaced with the secular.  Many times liturgical practices, music and architecture no longer mirror the transcendent, but rather, they have been reduced to the common and ordinary.  Our liturgical life has become either a weekly boring exercise which has caused many Catholics to leave, or it has been converted into weekly pep-rallies.   Pope Benedict has recognized a need for the sacred to be discovered in the reformed liturgy of the Second Vatican Council.  This of course can be achieved, if we were to simply celebrate the Mass the way it is prescribed in the liturgical texts.

Regarding relativism, first we must understand that it differs from secularism.  The relativist often believes in God, an afterlife, and the immortality of the soul.  However, the relativist believes that the human person is the measure of truth.  What is true and what is not true is subject to mere human opinion. 

Catholics need to be aware of relativism as well, and not allow it to affect their lives.  However, it is also true that like secularism, many Catholics have been also poisoned by relativism.   The crisis that relativism has caused has particularly affected the way Catholics understand the moral teachings of the Church. Topics such as abortion, contraception, embryonic stem-cell research and homosexuality have become areas not only of controversy for some Catholics, but according to the news polls, most American Catholics openly defy and criticize the teachings of the Catholic Church on these basic aspects of moral teaching.  This is where the sin of pride comes in.

Pride is a terrible sin.  Pride says: non serviam; I will not serve; do not tell me what to do.  When a Catholic rejects certain aspects of Church teaching, a decision of the will has been made.  For example, it is very common today in America, that Catholics use contraception and do not attend Mass on Sundays.  It is very common that these same people do not go to confession or even mention these sins within the Sacrament of Confession.  It is also very common that these same people continue to receive Holy Communion. 

Within this dynamic, which is very common today, what happens is the following:  a decision to disobey is made.  The person continues to sin and continues to receive the Eucharist unworthily.  Eventually, that person's heart becomes hardened by sin and the person is no longer open to God.  The soul then dies and the person becomes like the walking dead. 

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" (Matthew 2: 10-11). 

The journey of the Magi reminds us where the solution for secularism, relativism and pride may be found: the solution is Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life.  

One way that we can easily free ourselves from the errors of our time is to engage upon a serious study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  The Catechism is one of the greatest legacies of John Paul II's pontificate.  Informing our mind and conscience with the truth of the Catholic Church will free us from unfounded opinions and will allow us to be more fully integrated with our Catholic faith.   True freedom can only be found in the truth. 

-----

Father James Farfaglia, the Happy Priest, is the pastor of Saint Helena of the True Cross of Jesus Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, Texas.  Father has a hard hitting blog called Illegitimi non carborundum.  He has also published a book called Man to Man: A Real Priest Speaks to Real Men about Marriage, Sexuality and Family Life.  You can contact Father at fjficthus@gmail.comYou can click here for the audio podcast of this Sunday homily.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2016
Universal:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Evangelization: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Living Faith

MAKE YOURSELF COUNT! Complete this quick Ash Wednesday survey

Image of Take the Ash Wednesday survey so we can better serve your needs.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online is conducting a global survey on Ash Wednesday practices. Each reader is asked to participate once. The survey will take less than a minute to complete. The results of the survey will help Catholic Online determine how best to serve your needs in the ... continue reading


Pope Francis' message for Lent (FULL TEXT: ENGLISH) Watch

Image of

By Pope Franics, Vatican Radio

"I desire mercy, and not sacrifice" (Mt 9:13).The works of mercy on the road of the Jubilee 1. Mary, the image of a Church which evangelizes because she is evangelizedIn the Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, I asked that "the season of Lent in ... continue reading


'There is nowhere else for us to go': Nuns who feed homeless face eviction after rent nearly doubles Watch

Image of Nuns who feed homeless were told to pay or leave (AP).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The cost of living in San Francisco has skyrocketed to the point that and new reports indicate Bay Area housing has reached such heights that the area's average income can no longer support it. Unfortunately, this means everyone is downsizing or moving - including ... continue reading


The 'Martyred Country': Pope Francis' powerful words on Syria Watch

Image of Pope Francis led the crowds in praying the Hail Mary

By Ann Schneible, CNA/EWTN News

The plight of Syrian civilians involved in the nation's ongoing conflict was at the heart of Pope Francis' appeal to the international community on Sunday, in an address where he also called for a renewed commitment to the protection of life at all stages. ... continue reading


POPE FRANCIS ANGELUS: February 7, 2016 (FULL TEXT: ENGLISH) Watch

Image of

By Pope Francis

Dear brothers and sisters, Goodmorning!The Gospel of this Sunday says - in the drafting of St. Luke - the call of the first disciples of Jesus ( Lk 5,1-11). The fact takes place in a context of everyday life: there are some fishermen on the shore of Lake Galilee, who, ... continue reading


Is this where the Annunciation took place? Ancient artwork sheds light an old mystery about the Virgin Mary Watch

Image of The Annunciation, 1859 (oil on canvas), Pinchon, Auguste.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

One of the oldest depictions of the Virgin Mary is casting new light on the Annunciation. A new look at an ancient depiction in the Yale University Art Gallery is making some question what they believe about the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


How do presidents pray? The beginning of a beautiful tradition Watch

Image of John F. Kennedy praying during the 9th annual Presidential Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 9, 1961 (Prayers for America).

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

This morning marks the 64th annual National Prayer Breakfast and President Obama's last time attending the remarkable tradition while in office.  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - On the first Thursday in February, the members of Congress and evangelical ... continue reading


Pope Francis will travel to Mexico as a messenger for peace Watch

Image of Pope Francis has participated in a collective interview, in which he responded to four questions posed by 33 people from various states across Mexico (Catholic News Agency).

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

Pope Francis will leave for Mexico in just over a week. In a new interview with a Mexican news agency, he told citizens of the crime-ridden country that while there, he hopes to be a messenger of peace, which must be fought for daily. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN ... continue reading


Sparks fly over Pope Francis' interview with Asia Times Watch

Image of Pope Francis did not speak of religion or freedom when praising China as a progressive country (Vatican).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pope Francis' exclusive interview on Tuesday afternoon has been met with harsh criticism. Though the pontiff spoke highly of the country, he steered clear of religion and freedom talks. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis spoke ... continue reading


Sis boom bah! American Circus cheerleaders perform for Pope Francis at the Vatican Watch

Image of Pope Francis enjoyed a cheer by the American Circus, which performed at the Vatican on Wednesday (Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Following his general audience at the Vatican, Pope Francis enjoyed cheers, acrobatics and juggling performed by the Italian troupe "American Circus." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - During the Papal Audience, the American Circus performed before the pontiff and ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Palm Sunday HD Video
  • Take this thought provoking Stations of the Cross survey
  • 10 important things to consider during Lent
  • Stations of the Cross - Fourth Station: Jesus meets his mother HD Video
  • Daily Readings for Wednesday, February 10, 2016
  • Can you answer these four challenging questions about Lent?
  • St. Scholastica: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Kings 8:22-23, 27-30
22 Then, in the presence of the whole assembly of Israel, Solomon stood ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 84:3, 4, 5, 10, 11
3 Even the sparrow has found a home, the swallow a nest to place its ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 7:1-13
1 The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 9th, 2016 Image

St. Apollonia
February 9: St. Apollonia, who died in the year 249, was ... Read More