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The Awesome Generosity of God

Dear Parishioners,

I remember growing up and having the Epiphany, come around. There are many good memories. Traditionally, Epiphany falls on January 6th. In the Byzantine-Ruthenian Church, the church / rite I grew up in, today is a major feast day. In the tradition of this day, lots of water is blessed and our Pastor would begin his annual visits to every home in the parish, blessing each one with some of that Holy Water. We would anticipate his arrival in our home in Marlton sometime around January 13th. We would sometimes call today “Little Christmas” because today is the day the Orthodox celebrate Christmas ... many traditions still do. And if you’re counting ... according to the song, January 6th is the Twelfth Day of Christmas. Over the past few years, people have calculated what the 12 gifts would cost ... and it has gotten more and more expensive ... or should I say lavish? ... because many of those gifts are pretty extravagant.

Today gives us reason to pause and to think about how awesome and generous God truly is. Today we consider God’s generosity in offering us His Divine Presence. Think about it ... twelve days ago, we received a gift so lavish, that our response should be just as lavish ... maybe on the order of the gifts of the Wise Men ... the Magi ... gifts of gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. We all know that God has given each one of us many great treasures ... however, today we ponder two which are also profound mysteries of our faith ... the gift of the only begotten Son as the Divine Presence that dwells among us ... God Incarnate. The other gift is that each one of us are “members of the same body” ... as we hear today from the letter of the Ephesians. The awesome part of that is that by doing so, God gave us the power to manifest the Divine Presence for others. That’s why our response can be and should be no less lavish ... that response should be the total gift of ourselves as we make the story real in our relationships with others. We make God present for those around us by how we act ... by what we say ... and by what we do.

At our Baptism, each one of us became “coheirs” and “copartners” in Christ. We were given an awesome gift and responsibility ... we are copartners in Jesus’ saving ministry. Clearly, seeing the revelation of Christ among us requires of us a unique kind of seeing. We do not “look at” the light ... we become the Light. We do not simply “see” the glory of the Divine Presence ... we become the glory of that Divine Presence. The challenge each of us possesses is to live our lives each day so that all of our actions and decisions reflect the goodness of the revelation that has been given to us. Bottom line: we must consistently cooperate with God's revelation of Divine Presence ... and as a result, “WWJD” or “What Would Jesus Do?” takes on a whole new level of meaning.

May Saint Michael the Archangel continue to bless, guide, and protect us in the New Year and always!

~ Fr. Larry

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