Today we celebrate the feast called “little Christmas” — traditionally January 6, or the “12th day of Christmas.” Our liturgical calendar transfers Epiphany to the nearest Sunday, but in some parts of the world January 6 is still the day when gifts are exchanged — commemorating the gifts brought to the Child by Magi, those mysterious wise men from the East. Matthew’s Magi story introduces one of the main themes of his Gospel — that Jesus is the light of the nations, the light of the world, and not just a local prophet of Israel. Perhaps today in our global and linked world, we have a greater appreciation than ever before of our need for this universal savior. Our first reading today, from the last part of Isaiah, also speaks to our own times. The Jewish people had ended their time of exile in Babylon and returned to Jerusalem. Now the city and its religious practices had to be restored. But this time of rebuilding could not succeed unless the people were united, and ready to welcome all nations who would come from Midian and Ephah and Sheba. We also are in the time of rebuilding as we emerge from the pandemic and a polarizing election. What kind of new world will we and the peoples of our world rebuild? What kind of Catholic church will emerge from the shutdown? What kind of U.S. culture? “Raise your eyes and look about,” Isaiah says. “Upon you the Lord shines, and over you appears his glory.” We are called to emerge from our houses, but also from our corners. We are called to open ourselves to others from near and far and join with them in the task of rebuilding.
– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia