Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. James Farfaglia

1/3/2011 (3 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 (3 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'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Living Faith

Abolish death penalty and life imprisonment, Pope Francis declares Watch

Image of The Vatican recently eliminated life imprisonment from its own penal code, Pope Francis noted.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Calling for the abolition of the death penalty as well as life imprisonment, Pope Francis soundly denounced what he called a "penal populism." The world's prescribed cure for crime - punishment, should never overtake the pursuit for social justice, he says. LOS ... continue reading


Making a Difference - Newly beatified pope championed justice and peace

Image of Pope Paul VI addresses the UN during his 1965 appeal for peace.

By Tony Magliano

With numerous armed conflicts raging in various parts of the world, and the Vietnam War worsening, Pope Paul VI on Oct. 4, 1965 proclaimed before the U.N. General Assembly: "No more war, war never again. It is peace, peace which must guide the destinies of peoples and ... continue reading


'War does not begin in the battlefield. Wars begin in the heart,' Pope Francis says Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Speaking at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis addressed the topic of war. With the majority of the world engaged in some sort of battle, and it's up to the individual to realize that major conflicts begin with little things. LOS ... continue reading


Finding the Path to Peace Through Forgiveness Watch

Image of For he (Jesus) is our peace, he made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his Flesh, abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one Body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it. He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father- St Paul

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In 1999 I was a part of Project Reconciliation led by a true peacemaker, paralyzed police officer Detective Steven McDonald. This trip was a part of Steven McDonald's mission of preaching peace through forgiveness. It had the goal of helping to heal the wounds ... continue reading


The Parable of the Rich Man: Becoming Rich in What Matters To God

Image of

By Deacon Frederick K. Bartels

What leads to permanent and lasting happiness? As Jesus points out, becoming "rich in what matters to God" is the key. When we place God first, and love our neighbor as another self, we soon begin to experience a perceptible, lasting happiness that is not of this ... continue reading


Pope Paul VI closer to sainthood with beatification by Pope Francis Watch

Image of Pope Paul VI cleaned house, abolishing the pontifical court and simplifying the Curia, the Vatican's administrative arm. Pope Francis is continuing his predecessor's effort to reform to this day.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis cleared the process for sainthood for Pope Paul VI after his beatification over the weekend. Pope Paul VI led the Catholic Church through internal reform during a tumultuous time of social and political change before his death in 1978. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


We Need Courageous Bishops: Ignatius of Antioch is a Model Watch

Image of Ignatius of Antioch - I know what is to my advantage. At last I am becoming his disciple. May nothing entice me till I happily make my way to Jesus Christ! Fire, cross, struggles with wild beasts, wrenching of bones, mangling of limbs-let them come to me, provided only I make my way to Jesus Christ. I would rather die and come to Jesus Christ than be king over the entire earth. Him I seek who died for us; him I love who rose again because of us.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

We need Bishops like Ignatius in this new missionary age of the Church. There is a literal assault on marriage and the family in much of the West. Yet, what the Church has to offer on the truth about marriage and the family paves the path to a future of true ... continue reading


Need a chapel? Pope Francis to rent Sistine Chapel for charity Watch

Image of Pope Francis is renting out the Sistine Chapel for charity.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis is renting out the Sistine Chapel for charity. The decision marks the first time that the chapel has ever been rented out for charity. It will be used for a private concert hosted by Porsche. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Vatican has announced ... continue reading


On World Food Day, a reminder of Pope Francis' mission for the Church Watch

Image of It's time to ensure that everybody has enough.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Today is World Food Day and we are all called to do what we can to feed others. This year's World Food Day falls during Pope Francis' 'Week of Action' where all Catholics are called to pray and act to feed the world's hungry. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Today, ... continue reading


Pope Francis: The only thing that counts for Jesus is 'faith working through love' Watch

Image of Pope Francis related former Jesuit leader Father Arrupe's lesson in humility in his recent talk.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis reiterated in his morning homily that faith is not about appearances and superficially following Church laws. The Pontiff said that God wants to see a faith that inspires action and is "working in charity" and making sacrifices for others. LOS ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 4:7-16
7 On each one of us God's favour has been bestowed in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5
1 [Song of Ascents Of David] I rejoiced that they ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:1-9
1 It was just about this time that some people ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 25th, 2014 Image

St. Daria
October 25: There is very little known about them. Chrysanthus was an ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter