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    Society of Saint-Vincent-de-Paul

    30 million poor people served in the world

  • International Confederation

    Society of Saint-Vincent-de-Paul

    "I would like to embrace the World in a network of charity"

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Spiritual readings for Sunday 7th of January

01 January 2018 CGI news

Spiritual readings for Sunday 7th of January

Week of 1st January 2018 (reference: readings for Sunday 7th January)

Epiphany - Readings: Is 60, 1-6; Psalm 71 (72); Eph 3, 3a.5-2-6; Mat 2: 1-12

"Where is the new born king of the Jews? We have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him".

Vincentian Reflection

This week we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord, which means the manifestation of Jesus to all men, after his birth in Bethlehem. It is a "light" turned on in the night of the world and it attracts all the peoples of the Earth, fulfilling the liberating project that the Father has always wished to offer us. This "light" became embedded in our history; it has illuminated the paths of men and led them to salvation, to the definitive life.

In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah, inspired by the light of the rising sun, announces the arrival of the saving light, which will transform Jerusalem and will attract peoples from around the world to the city of God. Jerusalem is a city being built, as well as its Temple, and it will be beautiful and harmonious again, after the salvation brought by God. He appears as someone who is constantly concerned about the life and happiness of those who walk in his same direction.

In the second reading, Paul presents God’s Salvation Project as a reality that is going to reach out to all humanity, bringing together Jews and pagans in the same community of brothers - the community of Jesus.

In the Gospel, Matthew presents the figure of light, of the smallness of Bethlehem and the manger, and of the discovery of the Child who transforms the heart of the three Wise Men, just by looking at and being close to the Child, making them leave the offerings and changing the course of their lives.

The project of liberation that Jesus came to submit to men is the light that overcomes the darkness of sin and oppression in order to give the world a brighter face of life and hope. 

Like the Magi, all of us are also looking for the light; we want a meaning for our lives. The Vincentian is not different. On the contrary, he seeks his salvation – and the salvation of others - in every moment of his life.

The Vincentian has the grace to be guided by Christ’s light, which takes him into the Poor’s house. It is not only Jerusalem or Bethlehem: it is the house of the Poor, which for many is the smallest of all households and becomes the cave where the Vincentian finds salvation.

The light (the vocation) guides also the Vincentian towards the Conference, which is the community Paul speaks about: his refuge (his cave) against any evil happening outside the environment of the Conference. It is in the Conference where each one stands in humble position like the Child, seeking to manifest the light of the discovery of his vocation.

The Conference and the Poor’s house complement each other in a divine mystery that becomes clear to the Vincentian. In both, a community of faith is created, where all are equal, all walk together towards the light that is the salvation that God gives to everyone. In the Conference, friendship, prayer and sharing the vocation generate a group greater than each one individually. In the house of the Poor, the Vincentian becomes less than the house owner, he arrives as a king and becomes the offeror of his gifts and worshiper of the manger where lies the Child Jesus. Upon arrival, both at the house of the Poor and at the Conference, the Vincentian finds the light, i.e. the meaning of life. What was once a mystery (the presence of God in the other, both in the poor and in the fellow member) becomes revealed, discovered, illuminated. It is there where the Vincentian finds the salvation, the manifestation of Christ born in the simplicity of the manger. Therefore, when the Vincentian arrives at the Poor’s house and at the Conference, he offers the best he has - gold, frankincense and myrrh – which translates into his time and into the bread shared with "the smallest of the Father".

After depositing “his possessions” at the feet of the Poor and of his fellow members", the Vincentian leaves with his heart transformed and changes the course of his life. There is no more place for sin, sorrow, doubt. Now only exist the faith in the Child-God, the hope of the final encounter with the Father and the experience of love in plenitude. Instead of sin, there is mercy, instead of sadness the joy of the announcement of the Lord’s birth, and fear becomes the evangelizing strength of the Holy Spirit.