Epiphany Thoughts & National Migration Week

Today is one of my favorite Church feasts ... the Feast of the Epiphany. As a child, this was always the day when the figurines of the three kings I had carefully been moving throughout the house during the entire Christmas season finally made it to the manger in the living room where they could offer their gifts, gaze upon the infant Jesus, and finally rest (before being promptly packed up into a box and back to the attic until next Christmas!)

Today, thankfully, I did not have to bundle up and trek through the windy snow storm outside to head to mass to celebrate the Feast.  One of my priest classmates who also lives in the CTU residence hall offered to celebrate mass for us in the residence hall chapel. We were a cozy group, praying together in a circle as we watched the snow swirl about outside the 8th story corner window and listened to the howl of the wind. I was asked to read the first reading from Isaiah:
Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come,the glory of the Lord shines upon you.See, darkness covers the earth,and thick clouds cover the peoples;but upon you the LORD shines,and over you appears his glory.Nations shall walk by your light,and kings by your shining radiance.
These words held a sort of literal meaning as we sought refuge from the elements ourselves and gazed out at thick clouds of snow covering the city.

These words also hold a literal meaning for the millions upon millions of migrants, refugees, and human trafficking victims who are walking through darkness, seeking the light of life, freedom, and human dignity. It is no coincidence that the U.S. Catholic Church celebrates National Migration Week this week (January 5-11). It is also no coincidence that this year's theme is "Out of the Darkness."  In the words of the U.S Bishops Conference:
It is our call as the Church to bring the light of Christ to these populations,banish the darkness, and help to bring them from the margins of society to its center. Doing so will provide vulnerable migrants with a protected space in which they can flourish as human beings. This requires prayer for those who are marginalized, alongside an active presence in the public square to demand that protections are provided to those who need them most.
As you celebrate the coming of the light of Christ into our world and pay him homage, prayerfully consider what you can do for our brothers and sisters walking in darkness.

God of all peoples and nations, you sent your son to guide us with the light of compassion, mercy, and justice. Open our hearts and inspire our actions for justice in solidarity with all immigrants, refugees, and victims of human trafficking today. May our care, commitment, and love for our neighbors across all boundaries be the gift with which we pay the Infant Jesus homage. Amen

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