WEEKLY REFLECTION

On the Word of the Lord and the Message of Our Lady:

A Guide on Living Our Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary 

by Rev. Fr. OMER PRIETO

Brothers and sisters,

Ave Maria!

We end the Christmas season with the Solemnity of the Epiphany. Through the appearance of the “star,” Jesus is revealed as the “newborn king” (Mt. 2:1-12), long foretold as the “light” to rise in Jerusalem (Is. 60:1-6). The magi’s visit attest to this epiphany, marking the fulfillment of God’s promise that Gentiles are “co-heirs” and “co-partners” with the Jews in the gift of salvation (Eph. 3:2-3,5-6). Thus, we pray in our Psalm: “Lord, every nation on earth will adore you” (Ps. 72:1-13). In her message, Our Lady shares Her thoughts on the Epiphany as She contemplates on the “fullness of time” in St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians. We will read “The Mystery of This Night” (Message 534), from the book, “To the Priests Our Lady’s Beloved Sons.” 

 

I. GOSPEL READING (Matthew 2:1-12)

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.”

Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.” After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.

 

Points for Reflection

1. The Magi

The “magi” were probably Persian astrologers and remnants of “wise men” trained by the prophet Daniel during the Babylonian exile. These “magi from the east” took notice of the unusual, bright “star,” reminiscent of an ancient prophecy about the rise of a great king in Israel (Num. 24:17). Taking it as heavenly sign, they went to Jerusalem guided by this star to inquire about the “newborn king of the Jews.” They ended up in Bethlehem, where they saw “the child with Mary his mother.” They paid homage to the “newborn king.”

2. The Epiphany of a Great Mystery

Surprisingly, the first men who saw this epiphany were gentiles. Here, we see the unfolding of the “mystery” made known to Paul by revelation that Gentiles are “co-heirs” and “co-partners” with the Jews in the gift of salvation (Eph. 3:2-3,5-6). This fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy: “Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come. Nations shall walk by your light” (Is. 60:1-6). The Psalm prayer sums it all: “Lord, every nation on earth will adore you” (Ps. 72:1-13). Even the “gifts” were “epiphanies,” too. Gold, associated with rarity, royalty and immortality, pointed to Jesus as the immortal king whose reign cannot be destroyed by earthly powers. Frankincense, a precious substance used for ritual offering, acknowledged Him as Priest. And, myrrh, a substance for anointing the dead, foretold Jesus’ suffering, death and rising.

3. A Disturbing Epiphany

While this news was “radiant for all people to see,” it was not so for Herod, as the magi’s revelation was very close to another popular prophecy about the “rising star that would dispossess Edom” (Num. 24:18). Being an Edomite, Herod, who just usurped the throne in Jerusalem, had all the reasons to be disturbed. When told by the chief priests and scribes that the “Christ” would be born “in Bethlehem of Judea” - implying that the “new king” would come from the line of David (2 Sam. 2:5) and would reign to the ends of the earth (Mic. 5:1-3) - he got more frantic. Shrewd as he was, he tried to get information from the magi about the “child” so that he too “may go and do him homage.” However, the magi were “warned in a dream not to return to Herod,” preventing the obviously sinister plan.

4. The Challenge of Epiphany

We do not know what happened to the magi when they returned to their country. But, having encountered the “light” that guided them throughout their journey, we can be sure that they were back bursting with this light, shining like a bright new dawn. They were not the same as when they left. The Epiphany experience had made a difference in their lives. The magi’s story reveals to us the inevitable struggle that Epiphany implies for us. Far from being a children’s tale, it is an adult story that leaves a challenge. Will we follow the “star” that leads to the “light;” or will we follow Herod whose fear brought only darkness? As we move away from the manger of our newborn King, let us have the perseverance of the “magi” to search out and follow the “light” that darkness has not overcome (Jn. 1:5). 

 

II. OUR LADY’S MESSAGE: “THE MYSTERY OF THIS NIGHT” (MESSAGE 534)

December 24, 1994

Dongo, Como, Italy

a. Live with me, in prayer and expectation, the mystery of this night. Enter into the heavenly garden of my Immaculate Heart, to relish all the joy and the immense blessedness of this event.

b. “When the fullness of time had come” (Gal 4:4). Time, in its unfolding, is directed to that moment from the beginning, from eternity, in the mind of the Father, from the time when the Lord created the universe, from the time when the earth became a privileged garden for the man, raised to a particular communion with God, from the time when, due to the fall of the first parents, even creation itself became subjected to frailty and the earth began to produce thorns and thistles for man, now subjected to bitter trials and continuous sufferings.

c. “I will put enmity between you and the Woman; between your offspring and hers. She will crush your head” (Gen 3:15). My offspring is the divine Child who is born of me on this holy night. It is He who is the Conqueror of Satan, because He is the Incarnate Word of the Father, the sole Mediator between God and humanity, the one and only Savior and Redeemer.

d. By means of Him, the plan of the Father is reinstated as it was in the beginning. Man once again reflects the glory of the living God, and the universe is wondrously ordained to proclaim the perfect glory of its Lord.

e. “God sent forth his Son” (Gal 4:4). This holy night is a response to the profound aspirations of all those who have lived in the hope and the prayerful expectation of this moment. It is the fullness of time because it condenses within itself the ardent expectation of all history: of Adam, of Abraham, of the patriarchs and the prophets, of the kings and the priests, of the great and the small. For how many centuries these just ones of Israel have lived, invoking, hoping for and awaiting this moment.

f. “God sent forth his Son” (Gal 4:4). He is the Word consubstantial with the Father. He is the Image of his substance. He is the Splendor of his glory who, on this night, is born in his human life.

g. “Born of a Woman” (Gal 4:4). He is born of me, his Virgin Mother. Live with me the ecstasy of these hours. Enter into my Immaculate Heart to savor all the intensity of this moment, when time reached its fullness. You are in the heart of history. Here you can understand all the events of the past. Here you can give sense and significance to all the events of the future.

h. This night becomes a fount of light for humanity of all times, because the Son who is born of me, on this holy night, is God-with-you, is Emmanuel, is your Redeemer, is your one and only Savior.

i. Enter with joy into the mystery of this night. Open your hearts to the fullness of blessedness which comes to you with the fullness of time: “I bring you good news of great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Lk. 2:10-11).

j. In the mystery of this night, understand also how the fullness of time is accomplished in the new time which awaits you, since this first coming of Jesus in the frailty of his human nature is directed toward his second coming, when He will appear in the splendor of his divine glory. In this first Christmas, his divinity is obscured and hidden by his humanity; in his second birth, the humanity will be veiled over by the splendor of his divinity.

k. Enter then into the mystery of this night, to open your hearts to hope. Today I bring you good news of a great joy, which will come to all the people. The Lord Jesus, whom you are contemplating this night in the manger, small and frail, weeping and totally destitute, is about to return in the splendor of his divine glory.

l. This, his glorious return, will bring to fulfillment the fullness of time, when He will initiate the new time of the new heavens and the new earth.

 

Points for Reflection

1. When the fullness of time had come (534 b-d)

Fullness of time refers to its unfolding from “eternity,” beginning from the time of creation up to the fall of our first parents. In His desire to redeem man, God said to His Enemy: “I will put enmity between you and the Woman; between your offspring and hers” (Gen 3:15). In the mystery of that night, Our Lady saw in the newborn Child “her offspring,” in whom “the plan of the Father is reinstated as it was in the beginning.”

2. God sent forth His Son (534 e-d)

When she gave birth to Jesus, Our Lady saw in the mystery of that night the fulfillment of the long awaited promise of the messiah. The long history of expectation - of Adam, of Abraham, of the patriarchs and the prophets, of the kings and the priests, of the great and the small - is now realized. “For how many centuries these just ones of Israel have lived, invoking, hoping for and awaiting this moment.”

3. Born of a Woman

In the mystery of that night, Our Lady saw herself as the “woman” foretold in Gen. 3:15, whose Son will restore creation back to its original state. As He came in the frailty of his human nature, He will come again in the splendor His divine glory. In His first coming, His divinity is covered and hidden by his humanity; in His second coming, the humanity will be veiled over by the splendor of his divinity. This is how the fullness of time is accomplished in the new time that awaits us.

 

A blessed Epiphany to all!

 

Yours in the Immaculate Heart,

Fr. Omer

 

Note: This reflection is shared with all cenacle and other prayer groups (priests and laity), communities and Marian organizations, associations and movements within and outside of the Philippines, with Our Lady’s words transcribed verbatim for those who do not have copies of the messages. This may also be shared with private individuals for their personal use.Our Lady's messages are taken from the book: "To the Priests, Our Lady's Beloved Sons", a compilation of 604 messages in the form of locutions given by the Blessed Virgin Mary through Fr. Stefano Gobbi of Italy. Imprimatur: Bp Donald W. Montrose, D.D. (1998); Abp. Francesco Cuccarese (2007).

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