|First Sunday after Epiphany|
he Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans, xii. 1-5. Brethren: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercy of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing unto God, your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world; but be reformed in the newness of your mind, that you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God. For I say, by the grace that is given me, to all that are among you, not to be more wise than it behoveth to be wise, but to be wise unto sobriety, and according as God hath divided to every one the measure of faith. For as in one body we have many members, but all the members have not the same office: so we being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another in Christ Jesus our Lord.
How can we present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God?
By keeping the body and its members clean from all sin, serving God with soul and body. Thus to serve God, with our soul and body, is reasonable service, and the vocation of every Christian.
What does St. Paul mean by the comparison of "one body and many members"?
He means that we Christians belong all to one body, the Church, the head of which is Christ. Now, as all the members of the body work for its welfare, so should every Christian minister to the wants of all in the Church. One should join the other in the work of salvation; should instruct or punish, warn, admonish, or correct, as there is occasion for it. This is true love, such as we ought to have, one for another, and happy are we when we thus love in word and deed.
Grant, O Jesus, that I may present my soul and body a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing, to Thee, by mortification, humiliation, and contrition, and that I may never defile them by impurity, gluttony, lust, vanity, or pride; give me also Thy grace, O my Saviour, to love my neighbor as myself, for we are one body in Christ, and each one members of one another.
he Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, According to St. Luke, ii. 42-52. When Jesus was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast, and having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and his parents knew it not. And thinking that He was in the company, they came a day's journey, and sought Him among their kinsfolks and acquaintance. And not finding Him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking Him. And it came to pass, that, after three days, they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were astonished at His wisdom and His answers. And seeing Him, they wondered. And His mother said to Him: Son, why hast Thou done so to us? behold Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing. And He said to them: How is it that you sought Me? did you not know, that I must be about My Father's business? And they understood not the word that He spoke unto them. And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. And His mother kept all these words in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men.
What are we Christians to learn by this?
That we should never miss an opportunity to go to church, particularly on Sundays and holy-days, and there assist at the public services, with inward and ourward devotion. Parents should learn from Joseph and Mary to take their children to church and school, and to teach their prayers and the other exercises of religion.
What lesson does the infant Jesus teach us?
That we also should attend religious instructions, the sermon, and catechism, to learn what is necessary in regard to our salvation.
What do we learn by those words, "Jesus was subject to them"?
That chirdren should obey their parents. When the God-Man was thus subject to His poor Mother and to His foster-father, who was a plain mechanic, those children should blush who are ashamed of their parents, who refuse to assist them in their old age, poverty, or distress.