Epiphany, Kings and Domestic Terrorism

https://stmatthiascolumbus.com

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It’s Epiphany! For the Western (Latin) Church it is the Twelfth Day of Christmas and the celebration of the visit of the Magi to the Holy Family.

If you’re in the Eastern (Greek) or Orthodox Church, it is your celebration of the revelation of the Incarnation of Christ through the theophany during his baptism.

Roman Catholics and other Western Christians who follow a liturgical cycle celebrate the Baptism of Christ this coming Sunday the 9th.

Regardless of whether you’re Western or Eastern; Latin or Greek – the Christmas season is drawing to a close – but isn’t over just yet!

So you can, for a few more days, listen to Christmas carols – particularly widely diverging versions of the centerpiece carol for this part of the liturgical year:

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2Mb8bQBKyDBC0K34mxQjcO?si=f06508e80e024b2e

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I appreciate the boldness of the homily I heard from my pastor, Fr. Tony, this past Sunday when we celebrated Epiphany.

Even though the liturgical gospel for the mass ended with the Magi departing “for their country by another way,” Fr. Tony began by continuing the passage in Matthew’s gospel.

We heard how Joseph was warned by the angel of King Herod’s rising wrath. The gospel tells us: “Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt.” The Holy Family is saved from what Matthew tells us comes next:

When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious.

He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi.

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/122821.cfm

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Fr. Tony rightly described this as terrorism. And as a clear contrast between the power held by the infant Christ in the manager and a mad, earthly king and the terrible violence he can inflict.

In this bold homily, we were reminded of what experts have been concluding for a number of years now – terrorism in our homeland is far more likely to be inflicted by domestic, radicalized, right-wing Americans rather than foreigners.

Perhaps you felt like I did a year ago, on the holy day of Epiphany, as you watched the U.S. Capitol taken over by chaos, violence, and mayhem. I felt dismayed, horrified, afraid of more violence which could be used to drive out the insurrectionists, and flat out sick that thousands of Americans could think this was, in any reasonable way, an acceptable action.

Watching the horror of September 11, 2001 unfold felt for me, not surprisingly, far worse than I felt watching the mayhem of January 6, 2021.

The two historical moments did have similarities for me though. As each was unfolding, it felt like what seemed impossible was now actually happening. And after the drama of the moment subsided and the insurgents were mostly non-violently pushed from their occupation of the Capitol, it felt like a threshold had been crossed and the nation was different.

After 9/11/01, our nation came together in a way I’d never seen in my thirty one years of life before that fateful, world changing day.

Now, one year after 1/6/21, our nation feels even more divided as a not insubstantial percentage of Republicans still believe that President Biden is not a legitimately elected official.

Perhaps even more troubling is this poll finding published in November 2021:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/nov/01/republicans-violence-save-us-poll

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/nov/01/republicans-violence-save-us-poll

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I will likely reflect more later as the findings of the January 6th commission are released to the public.

And I know I have much more to say about the urgent, vital need to protect the U.S. democracy through federal legislation. You may have read in my last post that two issues are foremost now to me – protecting U.S. democracy and addressing the climate emergency.

For now though, I wish us in the U.S.A. a quiet, peaceful January 6th as events are held in D.C. to remember this terrible day.

And I wish my Eastern, Orthodox sisters and brothers a blessed celebration of this most holy day.

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