Patrons of scientists and intellectuals
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
We are approaching the Feast of the Epiphany, popularly known as the feast of Three Kings. It is a reminder of the mystery of God’s manifestation to the Gentiles. The Magi from the East arrive in Jerusalem, seeking the newborn Babe whom they call the King. It makes the royal environment upset and even terrified. We learn from the Gospel passage that King Herod was very upset hearing the news and that he took some actions to annihilate the newly born Infant: many children who were born then were killed and this event was passed down as the slaughter of the Innocents. The Three Wise Men - Kings followed a star that announced them an extraordinary event – birth of Someone Great. The Jewish world was expecting the promised Messiah, Price of Peace. The Magi understand that the Newly Born is not the Messiah for one nation, the Jews, but he is the Saviour of the world. They foresee that his coming will concern all mankind and is the most important event in the history of the world. Since God foretold and promised to send the Redeemer to order the history of the world and to bring people to salvation.
This beautiful Gospel story was interwoven with a rich tradition. How many artistic works: paintings, literary and theatrical works, have been performed by outstanding artists, trying to deepen this meaning of this event. The Eastern Church experiences the mystery of God’s manifestation to the Gentiles in a very profound way. We must realise that we belong to this group of mankind that experiences the feast of the meeting of the Magi from the East with the newly born King as their own feast. The Polish culture carries some features of the presence of this feast in its whole national history. Because of the character of this feast and the reflections that accompany the search of those who would like to reach the manifested God in the intellectual sphere, it can be described as the patron feast of philosophers, scientists and intellectuals. One of them was the late Bishop Professor Bohdan Bejze from Lodz, my close friend, who, by the way, loved the carol ‘Medrcy swiata monarchowie’ [Three good wise Men, earthly monarchs] and whom I recollect cordially on the occasion of the Feast of the Epiphany. The contemporary intellectual environment also seeks some note leading them to a wonderful, elevated thought, at the same time stuck in religious reflection since if you omit God’s element you can go astray, which will cause a disaster for the scientist, science and in result to mankind. Therefore, our homeland needs very much thinkers who would be witnesses of the Word, coming to enlighten all people. We were very glad to see the initiative of the environment of Jerzy Kropiwnicki, the President of Lodz. They initiated a powerful action to collect signatures so that the Parliament of the Republic of Poland could restore the Feast of the Epiphany as a national holiday. It was also the will of hundreds of thousands of people, millions of Poles who desire to have this day restored as a national holiday (the communists cancelled the holiday). We were so much astonished to see the Parliament refuting the request of the nation. The astonishment was even bigger that it was not the communists that did it but Christians who began calculating this holiday as a loss of money. Let us remember that nobody who begrudged praise to Lord God made a fortune... We are a Catholic nation. We still remember vividly the figure of the Holy Father John Paul II who reminded us of the obligation to worship Lord God. Thanks to this great Pole we have independent Republic of Poland and perhaps the present Parliament. The MPs and Senators will be aware of their responsibility for our homeland and for all that our homeland is. They should recollect Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski who through sufferings, imprisonment, patiently bearing hardships showed the highest faithfulness to Lord God and homeland. These great Polish figures should always be for us examples of love for God and patriotism in the best understanding of the word. ‘This people honours me only with lip-service’ – you would like to repeat the words of Isaiah after Christ (see Matthew 15:8; Mark 7:6). But in the light of many votes in the Parliament that we can face, considering the statements of the candidates for MPs and senators during the election campaign about their adherence to the Church, which does not correspond to any concrete political decisions, we are in a big quandary, feeling that we were simply deceived. When will faith be of the first rank; when will we treat it seriously and put it into practice? May the example of the evangelical Three Kings encourage us to authenticity in faith and to seek the truth among its substitutes.