Happy Epiphany!

Dear Friends in Christ,

The hymnal that I use for Mass has my name on the outside cover. Inside, the Sunday scripture readings are marked with numerous highlighted and underlined passages and margin notes. In the inside cover, I also have a few little yellow “sticky notes”. One of the sticky notes that I keep and look at every week is from Epiphany 2016. It simply says, “Be a Star!” That little handwritten note reminds me, that God wants me to share the light of my faith with others and He has placed me where I am to do His will. That little yellow sticky note reminds me that God wants me to direct and lead others to Jesus. Like a star, I want to be aflame and burning. I want to be aflame in my love of God so that others can see God’s love for them.

When I reflect on what being a star means, I call to mind that stars shine 24/7. They don’t get days off and stars don’t need days off. They shine no matter what. Stars do not shine to show off or to impress others. Stars shine because they are stars! Stars shine because God has created them to shine! They shine regardless of whether anyone sees them or not. In the same way, God wants us to shine with the brightness of love and faith. The saints are luminaries of holiness and love. The saints are the “stars” of our faith. The holiness of the saints shines forth through the ages, giving us hope and direction in following and loving Jesus. Notice how different the saints, the “stars” of heaven are from the “stars” of this world. The brilliance of the saints’ stardom shines in their holiness, in their love for God, in their love for God’s people. The stars of this world, be they movie stars, rock stars, or luminaries of business, politics, sports or the cyberworld bask in their light for their own glory. The path that these worldly “stars” illumine does not lead us to true goodness or lasting happiness. The light they cast is seldom a good light. The path they show is most often one that we should not follow. The false lights of this world distort reality and truth. These false lights too often lead us to vainglory or worse, self-destruction. Their stardom is fleeting and unfulfilling for themselves and anyone who attempts to follow them.

The true light of the world that we always want to follow is Jesus. Each of us should want to be stars in his orbit. Being an Epiphany star means we always let our faith and holiness shine before all people. We do not hide, disguise or compromise of our faith in Jesus. To be a star is to let the light of our love of God always shine. To let our faith shine like the star we are
called to be, means we live our Catholic faith with integrity, authenticity and enthusiastically. To be a star is to find joy in leading others to discover Jesus.

We have had a rough couple of years and as much as we want the struggles to end and “normal” to return, we know there are more bumps ahead. People are exhausted, frustrated and cynical. Who can blame them? While we may not be able to solve supply chain issues, inflation or whatever COVID variant comes next, we can do something wonderful for ourselves and for others. You and I can “Be A Star!” in 2022. As stars, leading others to Jesus, we can shine brilliantly with joy, hope and trust! When others are searching and trying to find their way, like the Epiphany star, we can point and lead them to Jesus, the Way the Truth and the Life!
Happy Epiphany!

In pace Christi,

Fr. Troy