Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Troublemaker

When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
Matthew 2:3 

Tomorrow is the Feast of the Epiphany.   This was Christmas before there was Christmas.  In the early days of the Church, and still today in the Eastern Tradition, this was the great feast proclaiming Jesus' appearing (epiphany) in the world.  Today in the West we primarily focus on His appearing to the world in the persons of the magi who represent the Gentile world.  

While the story is familiar, something caught my attention as I was reading the Gospel for tomorrow's Mass.  St. Matthew records that Herod was troubled at hearing of the birth of our Lord.   Not only was he troubled, but so was "all Jerusalem".  Does that mean that if the king is not happy no one's happy?  Perhaps.  Or does it mean that Herod and the movers and shakers of society with him were equally disturbed at this news?  I'm inclined to believe the latter.  It's the same today.  Whenever the cultural elites hear the mention of His Name they are troubled.  This is the troublemaker.  All such troublemakers must be silenced.

This appears to be the agenda of our President.  The mandate of the HHS has more to do with silencing the Catholic Church than providing affordable health care for every American.  Who doesn't know that the Catholic Church stands staunchly against abortion, artificial contraception, and everything else that opposes life?  If the President is successful at getting the Church to either compromise or bow out of all public services then he will have essentially silenced them.  They may go on worshiping as they please within their churches, but they will no longer have a voice in the public sector- and that's exactly what the Herods of the world are after.  

It is incumbent upon all Christians that we show Christ clearly to the world.  The Epiphany is not just a day, or a celebration, but a lifestyle.  Jesus appears to the world through His people.  Despite the forces that work against us, we, relying completely on the Lord and His mighty power, are to continue living and ministering in the name of the Lord such that His message will never be silenced.  Penalize us, ostracize us, torture, or kill us they may but the Lord and His Church will always prevail.  It has always been so and it always will be.  

I have heard before that when our Lord came the first time He had to stand before Pilate, but when He comes again Pilate will stand before Him.  The same can be said of Herod and all who imitate him in every age.  

Our Lord's coming is troubling to those who love darkness.  May it not be so among us.   Rather, let us rejoice in His coming and embrace His presence. 

A most Blessed Epiphany to all!