Epiphany –Year A: Keep Your Candle of Baptism Brightly Shines!
Bottom line: As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, let us be attentive to the light entrusted to us. Let us be smart like the youngest son, spend our time and money more wisely, light up our baptismal candle and keep the flame of faith burning in our hearts. When the Lord comes, may we go out to meet him with the saints in the heavenly Kingdom. Remember, my dear brothers and sisters, it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness!
Father Martino Nguyen Ba-Thong – St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church – Grovetown, GA
Epiphany -Year A
Keep Your Candle of Baptism Brightly Shines!
Let me begin the homily by telling you an old Vietnamese folk story. There was a rich man, who had three boys. Before he died, the old man wanted to entrust his whole wealth to one of the three, who could show the old man his intelligence. So the old man called all three sons to his deathbed and gave each one of them 20 dollars and asked them to buy something that would cover his whole room. Whoever accomplished the task, would get the whole wealth. Taking the money, the oldest son went out and bought many bundles of hay. The second son went to the market and ordered cotton. Since he believed, cotton when unleashed would get the job done. The third son, after praying went to a candle store and bought three candles and a lighter.
On the appointed day, the two older brothers carried in hay and cotton. After hours of labor, they ran out of materials and the room was only half full. The youngest son now walked to the middle of the room, where he placed three candles and lit them up. Light covered the whole darkness. At that time, the old man called the youngest son over and handed him the whole wealth.
My very dear brothers and sisters, through baptism each one of us became configured to Christ. Just like the star that led the magi to where Christ was, each one of us, when we were baptized had a star stop and come to rest above us. At that instant, we became the light of Christ for others. At our baptism, the priest handed to our parents two things, the white garment signifying our Christian dignity and a burning candle as a symbol of our faith. The priest asked us to keep our Christian dignity unstained and our belief brightly burning.
Where are our white garments? Are the candles still burning? And I am not talking about the physical white garments and candles, I am talking about the Spiritual ones. It might have been 80 years, 60 years, 40 years, 20 years or even 10 years since that day. There were times when our light did not shine as brightly, because we placed a giant shadow over it by doing wrong. I know none of us are serial killers. But we kill others by gossiping in the work place, or with frustration that leads to unkind words with our family members or neighbors. It could also be, the sin against our own body. But there is no reason why that garment is no longer white or the candle not burning. My brothers and sisters, it has been 2000 years, and the story of the Magi is still alive and burning in each of our hearts! So there is HOPE!
However, hope must begin within us! Instead of inflating our own egos, now let us build a relationship with Jesus; Instead of using time to gossip, use that time to talk with God in prayer; instead of buying unnecessary things, now use that money to help the poor.
As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, let us be attentive to the light entrusted to us. Let us be smart like the youngest son, spend our time and money more wisely, light up our baptismal candle and keep the flame of faith burning in our hearts. When the Lord comes, may we go out to meet him with the saints in the heavenly Kingdom. Remember, my dear brothers and sisters, it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness!
Father Martino Nguyen Ba Thong