Epiphany is here reminding us of the manifestations of Christ in and for the world. It is a season that draws us out of our parochial ties to behold the liberating gift of the gospel for a broken world. It punctuates the universality of the Gospel through images like star, stable, unique treasures, the Magi and more. The poor need dignity, food and just social policies. We all need to learn to live peaceably with those with whom we disagree without attacking each other, especially in the name of God. Our economic machinery has proved that it is not omnipotent. This broken world calls us to examine where our treasure is. I continue to invite you to join Diocesan Council and me for a period of intentional listening to discern this and other truths. Do make every effort to participate in at least one such listening opportunity.
We, like the Magi, can listen to glean what is wholesome so that we can stop listening to what is not. Intentional or holy listening is a way for us to keep our eyes on the prize and not get distracted. It is a way to keep from getting paralyzed by the cacophony of doom and fear around us. The Magi, for instance, decided not to listen to Herod, the seemingly most powerful voice they were hearing. They decided not to give it power because they had encountered a wholesome solution for peace and goodwill for all.
While our economy has taken a blow our message of hope has not. In fact, now is the time for us to step up to the plate and offer Christ’s invitation of hope and solidarity to those who are looking for hope, meaning and community. I expect you to take this opportunity to grow in faith (where is your treasure?), conviction (How committed are you to the Gospel of Jesus Christ?), and hospitality (Are you willing to step outside your comfort zone to greet and serve the stranger?).
We give thanks to God for our new President and his family, and the affirmation his election has been to our process of building a more perfect union. We ask for God’s blessing of wisdom upon him and his team as they lead us through some challenging times.
Your Servant in Christ,
VIII Bishop of Rochester