At President George Bush's State Funeral, one verse stood out from the Second Reading from Revelations:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

A new heaven and earth with the sea between them no more, for once God's kingdom is established on earth these waters of separation become unnecessary. Heaven and earth are one; justice fills our hearts and peace warms us like a blanket laid upon a child sleeping. 

The Epiphany of the Lord also marks a comforting moment. We celebrate the Epiphany as the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi. An epiphany is an "aha moment" when once we doubted, now we know; when once we stumbled without benefit of sight, now we see. While the Church celebrates the Epiphany of the Lord on January 6, each of us has an opportunity daily to experience our own epiphany of the Lord: heaven and earth become one when our world is at peace because, animated by love, justice overflows.   

Listen to the Responsorial Psalm for the Epiphany: "He shall govern your people with justice and your afflicted ones with judgment. Justice shall flower in his days, and profound peace, till the moon be no more. For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out, and the afflicted when he has no one to help him. He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor; the lives of the poor he shall save."

Will the responsorial psalm accompanying your epiphany announce justice and peace?

One week later, the Church celebrates the Baptism of the Lord. This baptism has also been called the Second Epiphany because at the instance of baptism, the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus while God the Father voiced his pleasure.  

Listen now to the Responsorial Psalm for the "Second Epiphany": "The Lord will bless his people with peace." Now experience your own epiphany: heaven and earth become one when our world is at peace.

Do not ask where does this peace come from, for peace in the world must start with peace in the heart of each man and woman; we must reconcile the cleavage between faith and action. We cannot believe that Mary conceived at the instance of her yes and fail to recognize that an unborn child is a life. We cannot accept the many Scriptural stories of hospitality to the alien stranger and argue that this does not apply to nations.

Each person has a moral responsibility to form his or her conscience by truth and justice in order to be authentically animated by love. This is more difficult to achieve than reconciling the cleavage between faith and action. While our right behavior may rise from a developed sense of obedience and morality, it transforms into a mature living of our faith when motivated by love.   

Heaven and earth become one when our world is at peace because, animated by love, justice overflows.

Aha!