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posted 5 Jan 2019, 22:09 by Our Lady of Fatima Church - White City London   [ updated 5 Jan 2019, 22:10 ]

An Invitation to Begin a New Journey

Firstly, warmest congratulations to Fr Ephrem and the Eritrean Gheez Rite community who this weekend celebrate Christmas Day, which comes 2 weeks later in their calendar. Just as they begin their Christmas celebration so we are coming towards the end of ours as we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord.

Into our Bethlehem crib today come the three Wise Men on this feast of the Epiphany. ‘Epiphany’ means ‘revelation’ and our readings today make it clear that an essential part of the Christmas message is that Christ comes to save all the peoples of the world not just the chosen people of Israel. 

Why had God stirred up this desire, this hunger in the hearts of these men from a distant culture to set out on this long, hazardous journey into an alien land and an alien people? I am sure that it was partly for their benefit – clearly, like the shepherds, their lives were transformed for ever by that Bethlehem night. And of course they show that this baby-King is to be saviour for all peoples, including the non-Jewish peoples of the world. But this doesn’t mean that God was forgetting or turning his back on the people he had called first – the people of Israel. The Wise Men with their gifts were themselves a gift from God to his chosen people. Perhaps many of us have had guests to visit/stay over Christmas. Guests can help us to see the familiar world around us in a new way. I know the only time I ever seem to go sight-seeing in London is when I have guests visiting me, perhaps from abroad, and through their eyes I wake up to the beauty, the variety, the strangeness of this city we live in. And so God leads the Wise Men firstly to Jerusalem, because he wants to stir up the hearts of all who live in this centre of Jewish life. The Saviour is here - wake up, God is doing something new! This is the message for each one of us at this Epiphany time – learn from the courage & faith of the Wise Men and dare to leave behind the comfort & safety of the known and set out on a deeper journey of faith into the unknown and so be transformed by Christ, just like the Wise Men.

With New Year blessings from Fr Richard, Fr Ephrem and the parish team.