From the Pastor's Desk

     Recently I had the happy opportunity to watch “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.” During the course of the film, we learn that Kosta and Maria’s marriage was not valid or licit. The drama intensifies when Maria does not want to remarry Kosta because she was bothered for 50 years by his awkward marriage proposal: “I am going to America. You coming or not?”     
     When the couple finally arrive in church, Maria once again decides to call off the marriage. Kosta’s brother, Panos, who remained in Greece, tells her, “50 years ago my brother had a hopeful smile on his face because you said you would go to America with him and live an adventure…” At this point, Maria sees her life differently. In the joys and struggles of building a family, she had forgotten that she was invited to live an adventure. Her life was an adventure and the things that seemed like obstacles were really possibilities.     

     To name someone or something is to give it an identity. A name or an identity is a description or label that allows people to make assumptions or quick judgements about us. While making judgements can be risky and harmful, they are quick ways for our minds to categorize large amounts of information.
     These assumptions help us to form judgments about how we will interact with others. For example, if you overhear someone speaking about their church, you will form an assumption about them. Based on that assumption, you will know how to best interact with them.
     Names and identities are our first impressions and they describe who we are. While our names may be given to us by our parents, or we may be “nicknamed” by our peers, our identity is something we choose for ourselves. It is how we perceive ourselves and how we want others to perceive us.
     As we look at the Gospel presented to us today, we see that Jesus is given a name by St. John the Baptist. John does not call Him the “Man of God” or the “Divine King.” Instead, John names him, “Lamb of God.”

     “You are all children of the light and children of the day. You do not belong to the night or to the darkness” (1 Thessalonians 5:5).  
     “What came to be through Him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:4). 
     The celebration of the Epiphany closes the Christmas Season by reminding us of the Light of Christ. Darkness, according to the dictionary, is the partial or total absence of light. It is also wickedness or evil. Think, for a moment, on how well you function in darkness. It may be helpful for sleeping, but not for driving a vehicle or doing work. The darkness makes the necessary functions of life difficult or impossible. Yet the darkness is a part of life.