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New Bethlehem Heart
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"New Bethlehem Heart"

"Bethlehem Star"

          This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. In the English language, the root meaning of the word, epiphany, is "to bring to light". Certainly the mystery of this Solemnity "brings to light"--reveals--who Jesus is. There is a great need today to both bring people to the Light, himself, and to bring the Light (Jesus) to people. The story of the magi is found in Mt. 2:1-12. The story introduces the reader to the Bethlehem star that precedes and guides the magi to the place where the new born Jesus is.

          St. Paul in his letter to the Philipians uses an analogy to encourage the Christians of that community: "Shine like the stars in the sky while holding fast to the word of life" (Phil. 2:15-16). The Bethlehem star is unique among all the stars. It is the only star that leads people to a life-changing encounter with Jesus. It is very specifically his star: "We saw his star at its rising" (Mt. 2:2). It is particular to Jesus. It reveals the new birth of God into His world. It leads to the Lamb. It brings the magi to the one who is light, himself! An intercessor is called to be like a "Bethlehem star" in certain ways. Like this star, intercession precedes, goes before,  prepares a heart (or hearts) for an encounter with Jesus: "Go before the Lord to prepare his ways" (Luke 1:76). Also, just as the Bethlehem star reveals the new birth of God into His world, intercession can open up those whom one is praying for to receive the grace of "a new birth to a living hope" (1 Pet. 1:3); "born anew...through the living and abiding word of God" (1 Pet. 1:23).

          What makes a star shine? A star radiates light because of thermonuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium in its core, releasing energy that traverses the star's interior and then radiating into outer space. The interior dynamic is what causes the power produced and the light that we see. It is what takes place within that matters the most!  A star is, in one sense, a "ball of fire". For an intercessor as well, it is what is within that matters most: The interior life of union with Jesus: "Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20);  "For God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness", has shown in our hearts" (2 Cr. 4:6).  

          Intercessors pray for others to experience interior light": "Love's pure Light"--Jesus Christ. We pray that "every heart enthrone him." Intercessors are often like hidden stars: "You life is hidden with Christ in God" (Col. 3:3);  "The hidden character of the heart" (1 Pet. 3:4). We are hidden like stars in the daytime sky--always present yet unseen because of the light of the sun; yet, we are always praying. We are hidden like stars at night in cities and suburbs where the concentrated glow of artificial light obscures their visibility in the night sky; yet, we are always praying. Hidden, we pray that the "Morning Star" rise in every heart; we pray for others to see the light of truth. We pray that they may be led to the place in their hearts "where the child [is]" (Mt. 2: 9). 

          Unfortunately today many people, enamored by "artificial illumination" ("Even Satan masquerades as an angel of light"--2 Cr. 11:14), follow false and "fallen stars". Many people search in futility for fulfillment apart from God. One might speak of "the path of totality" of our times: The vastly accelerated moral eclipse of our age. In the midst of this, with "halogen hearts" and a "luminous love" intercessors prostrate before and do homage to Jesus, and pray on behalf of those who don't care to seek him--who either ignore or even wage war against the Lamb in the world today. The hope of a true intercessor may be summed up in the refrain of this Sunday's Responsorial Psalm: "Lord, every nation on earth will adore you"! 

Questions:

1)   Is there something in my life that is preventing me from belonging to Jesus completely?

2)   Is there a part within me that still wants to be seen, recognized, praised, congratulated, "ego-stroked"?

Scriptures:

Any scripture from the text; Luke 1:38; John 3:8; James. 1:18

"TWO-ZERO-ONE-EIGHT, TIME TO EXPIATE"

***PLEASE CHECK OUT THE "COMMUNITY ANNOUNCEMENTS" PAGE FOR UPDATES CONCERNING THIS NEW YEAR***

***AND THE "NEW BETHLEHEM HEART" PAGE ON THE "TEACHINGS" TAB FOR ADDITIONAL CHRISTMAS SEASON TEACHINGS***

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