The Epiphany of the Lord
by Father Brian J. Soliven on Sunday January 5, 2020
If you have ever experienced a broken heart, you already know what I am about to tell you: every loving relationship involves pain. A safe love exists only in fairytales. The family is designed to be intense, like a fiery hot forge of love in which we are challenged and molded.
The Pastor's Prayer Journal
If you have ever experienced a broken heart, you already know what I am about to tell you: every loving relationship involves pain. A safe love exists only in fairytales. At last week’s homily on the Solemnity of the Holy Family, we reflected on how God choose to be born into a human family filled with a tangled web of relationships, just like each one of us. The family is designed to be intense, like a fiery hot forge of love by which we are challenged and molded. As we make our 2020 New Year’s resolutions of eating better and exercising, lets focus on a relationship within our own family that is strained. We all have them. There is someone in our families with whom, for whatever reason, the relationship is hurting. Reach out to them during this New Year; in the name of Jesus Christ and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, try to bring some small step toward healing.
Doing so, however will require you to risk being hurt again. Why? Every relationship that is true and worthwhile requires a free-decision from the other person. Love, by its very nature requires a free act to choose to let the other in and to be changed by that other. To dare, to be vulnerable, and yes even to be hurt comes with territory of being created as relational beings. Yes, we can indeed stay utterly isolated and refuse to risk ourselves, but that will only smother the very breath of what makes life true, good, and boldly beautiful.
Notice the Magi in the Gospel reading this Sunday. They risked themselves in order to enter a relationship with Jesus, the newborn King. They traveled thousands of miles just to find him in the manger. Juxtapose that with the example of Herod. He utterly remained closed to Christ; in fact he saw this little baby as a threat and orchestrated the slaughter of the Holy Innocents (when every male child under the age of two was slaughtered in Bethlehem in order to try to kill Jesus, Matthew 2:16–18). Yet the Magi persist and are utterly changed by entering into a relationship with Christ. And is this not the same move that God makes with each and every one of us? He steps out of Heaven and comes down as a harmless little baby. He throws up his little, chubby hands towards each of us and asks to be let into our lives. Doing so is risky; I get it. It will require us to change. But if you think about it, that is what love is supposed to do anyway.