January 2018

7th January: Epiphany:  Matthew 2: 1-5a; 9-11

Epiphany means ‘manifesting’ or ‘revealing’.  In each of the weeks of Epiphany, Jesus is revealed to us in a particular way. The visit of the wise men is a well-known story.  It occurred up to 2 years after Jesus’ birth, so the Holy Family would have been living in a house, not a stable!  The gifts given to Jesus each revealed something about him.  Gold proclaimed him as king; frankincense that he was also God, and myrrh foretold his suffering.

Did our giving of gifts reveal something about us?  What gift can we offer to God in 2018?

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.  When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.  “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied”. Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.  He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.  When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.  On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

 

14th January; Epiphany 2:  John 1 43-49

At first, Nathaniel was sceptical about |Jesus, but as soon as he met him it was revealed to him who Jesus was – “The Christ” – "the Messiah" – and immediately Nathaniel proclaimed his belief.  What a difference that would have made to Nathaniel as he followed Jesus for the next 3 years.  He would have been able to link what he was seeing and hearing with the old testament prophecies he knew so well.  His understanding of Jesus would have been deepened.

Pray that more people will meet Jesus in 2018, and that he will be revealed to them.

The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”

 

21st January: Epiphany 3:  John 2 1-11

Mary identified a problem at the wedding and took it directly to Jesus in faith.  The solution is always Jesus, but sometimes we try to deal with our own problems first before we turn to him.  In this story Jesus is revealed as the one who can solve problems for other people.  However, he does it in his own time and his own way – sometimes practically as in this story; sometimes by giving reassurance and calmness so that we can see the answer for ourselves.

Let us resolve to take our worries and cares to Jesus in prayer when they arise,- and then trust his answer whenever and however it comes.

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.  When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

 

28th January: Epiphany 4:  Mark 1 21-27

In this story we see Jesus battling with evil powers.  Jesus is revealed to us as Goodness and Light overcoming evil and darkness.  There seems to be a lot of darkness in our world, but we must be encouraged by the fact that goodness and light will eventually win.  We are told “There is not enough darkness to put out the small light of one candle”.

Have we the faith to know that Goodness and Light will triumph in the end?  How can we encourage others when things seem dark to them?

They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach.  The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.  Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out,  “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!”  The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.” 




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