CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 22 June 2019

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The Epiphany in
 Hong Kong today

 

TODAY, THE CHURCH celebrates the feast of the Epiphany, the story of The Three Wise Men following a star from its rising in the east to Bethlehem to pay homage to the new-born Jesus.

They offered gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, before leaving for home with joy in their hearts. In their search for Jesus, the Magi met difficulties, at one point asking directions from the autocratic king, Herod.

Herod set a trap, planning to kill Jesus. Nevertheless, with a bit of help from an angel, the Magi, did not betray the Lord Jesus Christ.

But who are the Magi and the Herods of today?

The Magi represents the ordinary people in search of the truth, the desire that everyone’s life can be improved, and the hope that an other-centred spirituality can help in their work, studies and the quality of family life.

But do the educational system, housing, wage and work hours policies of today’s Hong Kong, on top of the pressure of housing prices, high inflation and consumption reflect this type of attitude? The constant struggle to make ends meet can obliterate all other ambitions.

Where should they turn? Does the government reflect Herod, who was supposed to strive for the well-being of the ordinary people, but sought to protect his own power-base first.

The Magi saw the birth of Jesus Christ as a manifestation of God’s love. “He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord” (Luke 4: 18-19).

The noble thoughts of the Wise Men were derived from their own integrity and extraordinary faith. They placed their hope in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Before the social welfare system in Hong Kong was well-developed, the Church opened services in medical care, education and the care of the most-needy in society.

But there are still a lot of problems to be resolved in society. In the face of the bewilderment of youth, the dramatic increase in divorce and the rising numbers living below the poverty line, the Church continues to serve in the spirit of charity.

Many Christian and civic organisations provide food for poor families. Some parishes provide free meals twice a month, distribute lunch boxes in the street or send meals to shut-ins, in bringing the Lord Jesus Christ to our brothers and sisters in need.

Many people have pointed out that social problems should ultimately be resolved by means of government policies. They say that if the government could communicate more, collaborate better and relinquish its self-interest and focus itself on the interests of the ordinary people, listen and act with charity and justice, then the city would be happier.

As religious people, we affirm the pleas of civic society while adding a transcendent dimension of social development, because, “God’s love calls us to move beyond the limited and the ephemeral, it gives us the courage to continue seeking and working for the benefit of all… even if… what we are able to achieve, alongside political authorities and those working in the field of economics, is always less than we might wish” (Charity in Truth, 78).

In this way, the commitment made by Christians is the living of the Epiphany. SE