Fr. Daniel Gifford
Light Has Arisen
The first hint that God gave us of the power of the redemption He would accomplish for us was so subtle, yet so beautiful and powerful that He apparently wanted us to be able to see it every morning. We just have to be awake or we will miss it. That’s right. You guessed it. The sunrise. It is no surprise that we hear multiple references to this dawn, to light breaking into darkness, throughout the Gospel, especially in these early stages of the story, when He is just setting out on His mission, to gather His children lost in darkness and bring us home to the Father. Consider the Gospel acclamation for this Sunday: “The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light; on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death, light has arisen.” By pointing us toward the light that rises daily in the sky, after its nightly descent into darkness, already He is giving us a subtle hint of how His mission will culminate: with His Death and Resurrection. Yet, this reference to Christ as the Light should point us, not only forward to His Paschal Mystery, but also back to the beginning. For example, the “Light of the World” window (front cover) in the back corner of the Western wall of the Church, gives us a hint of the first chapter of John’s Gospel. This “prologue” speaks of Christ as both the Light and the Word - notice the candle sits at the center of an open book. He is the Word, the Reason, the Wisdom that brought order and purpose at the moment of creation, the Word first spoken when God scattered the darkness and disorder: Let there be Light. He is the One coming into the world. It is no wonder that they immediately recognize, in Him, “a new teaching with authority”!
This week, we will have a great celebration of Christ as the Light, when we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation on Friday (2/2). It traditionally is a time of blessing candles to be used throughout the coming year and can also include a procession of light. For this reason, it is sometimes called “Candlemas,” as it is the last celebration of the year which is considered a “Christmas celebration”. In fact, while the current calendar places it in Ordinary Time, the Christmas Season used to extend through this great feast. So, if you haven’t taken down Christmas lights yet and thought you were behind, you are actually winning! “For God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts” (2 Cor. 4:6).
NEW OFFICE HOURS: Now that we are getting settled into the new parish office and have expanded our parish staff, to better meet our current needs, we are happy to announce extended office hours coming very soon! Julia (Administrative Assistant, Director of Religious Education), Renee (Business Manager), Cathy (Project Coordinator) and Caylee (Youth Coordinator) will be working together to make our parish office more available for your assistance. Thank you for your patience if you encounter any reconfiguring of duties along the way. Beginning on Monday, February 5th, the parish office will be open Monday - Thursday, 8 AM - 3 PM and Friday, 8 AM - 12 PM.
In Christ through Mary,
St. Louis, pray for us!
Blessed Mary, Queen Mother of the King of Kings, pray for us!