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How the Epiphany star should inspire our missionary mandate

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Philip Kosloski - published on 01/06/24

We are all challenged to be a "star" for others, guiding them closer to Jesus Christ.
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A focal point of Epiphany is the star that led the Magi to the location of Jesus’ birth. They were seeking the newborn King and could only find it with the help of the star.

St. John Paul II applied this simple truth in his 1997 homily to the spiritual reality behind the Epiphany star and how it should inform our own missionary activities.

In particular, St. John Paul II noted how the star “radiated” in a way that did not force itself upon others:

This feast helps us to discern the profound meaning of the Church’s universal mission, which can be understood as a movement of radiation: the radiation of Christ’s light, reflected on the face of his Mystical Body. Since this light is a light of love, truth and beauty, it is not forcibly imposed, but illumines minds and draws hearts.

When we evangelize our neighbor, we do not force the Gospel upon them, but radiate the love of God in our own lives.

All of our missionary activities need to be informed by this principle of “radiation”:

By radiating this light, the Church obeys the mandate of the risen Christ: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19)…The experience of the Magi is particularly eloquent in this regard: they move, guided by the light of a star that draws them to Christ. The Church must be like that star, that is, able to reflect Christ’s light, so that individuals and peoples in search of truth, justice and peace may come to Jesus, the one Savior of the world.

As we discern how best to share God’s love with other people, may we learn from the Epiphany star and reflect the light of Christ for others.

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