The Epiphany of the Lord, January 3
May Our Own Personal Epiphany of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Guide Us into Living the Spirit of the Christmas Message, Not Just During This Holy Season, but Throughout Each and Every Day of the Year.
We read in today’s Gospel, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”
Today, we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord. The definition for the word epiphany is an illuminating discovery, an awareness or realization.
And it was this Heavenly Epiphany which drew the Magi to follow a new light in the sky – a light which led them to the greatest of all discoveries, an illumination which opened their hearts into recognizing the birth of a special King blessed by God. Yet, He was not just any king, but was given to us by the Eternal Creator as the “King of kings and Lord of lords”!
Whatever the historical facts may be behind the story of these travelers from the East, these Magi bearing gifts (and there is evidence in ancient Eastern writings that these travelers actually existed bearing gifts), whether they were actually eastern kings, men of science or astrologers, the message of faith is that God is reaching out to each and every one of us, His children throughout all generations, communicating to us the Good News that His Son, the Eternal Word, was made Flesh for you and me!
And that this Good News of Jesus Christ has transformed human history forever for all mankind!
As it was for the Magi over two thousand years ago, we too are on a journey – a journey of spiritual awareness, a journey of awakening within ourselves a need for the Divine, a need to believe that, in the midst of the chaos and the culture of darkness in which we live today, there is a Divine Light which beckons each of us to follow a path which can lead us to true peace, a true sense of joy which gives our lives meaning and purpose here on this side of the eternal.
And the gifts which we bear may not be gold, frankincense or myrrh, but they are just as precious. For the gifts which we offer speak of who we are as an individual people, as children of God; and they speak of the love we hold within our hearts, and they bear witness to the faith we profess and live each day of our lives.
The act of worship by the Magi, which corresponded to Simeon’s blessing which we find in Luke’s Gospel, that the Child Jesus would be “…a light for revelation to the Gentiles”, was one of the first indications that Jesus came for all people – of all nations, of all races – and that the workings of God in the world and His message would not be limited to only a few.
At home in their distant foreign lands, the Magi probably had all the comforts of princely living; but something was missing – they were restless and unsatisfied. They were willing to risk everything to find the reality which their vision promised and for which their hearts yearned. The Magi had to travel long distances; they had to face the adversities of traveling through the arid desert, a wasteland of inhospitable surroundings, to reach their goal.
The Magi from the East, foreigners in every sense of the word, were guided not only by their own wisdom and a Heavenly star, but were aided by the Hebrew Scriptures which now form the Old Testament.
And the meaning of this is important – Christ calls all peoples of all nations, Gentiles as well as Jews, to follow Him. We could say that Jerusalem and the Old Testament serve as a new starting point for these Gentile pilgrims on their road to faith in this Holy Child named Jesus. Saint Augustine, himself, referred to it by writing, “What were these Magi but the first fruits of the Gentiles?”
And just as theirs was a journey of faith, so too is ours. Living our faith from childhood to old age is a holy pilgrimage, a spiritual journey – a journey which oftentimes tests us as we travel through this vale of tears, our arid and inhospitable desert of sorts, in which we find ourselves experiencing from time to time our own trials, tribulations, anxieties and sorrows.
It is a journey which may even stretch our faith to its very limits, especially during those moments in our lives when we experience the despair of a failed relationship, when we realize the loss of financial security or the apprehension which may accompany a negative medical finding or prognosis, or when we find ourselves in the depths of grief over the loss of a loved one.
In those moments of our lives when we find ourselves feeling all alone, it is then that God is closest to us – holding us, supporting us, even carrying us in His arms if necessary – on this side of Heaven – guiding us with His star, so that we may experience our own epiphany, our own awareness of His Divine Presence within our lives.
God is no stranger to our sufferings, for He has experienced it Himself in the Person of Jesus Christ, the Eternal Son of God. And, by experiencing it, He understands it and understands how we feel when we can become absorbed in the emotional and physical pains and sorrows that life sometimes bears upon us.
Faith in God, faith in the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, Jesus Christ, is one of the greatest gifts God has ever given us. This Holy Gift is one which is freely given, freely offered to His children, if only we would open our hearts to embrace all that this Most Wondrous Gift means to us.
If the Magi, of pagan descent, could respond to God’s invitation with an open mind and an open heart, can we do no less?
As you and I journey throughout this life, our faith starts as but a tiny seedling, to be watered and nurtured as we grow with God’s Loving Presence within us. And in time, we begin to recognize that this Jesus, who walked amongst us some two thousand years ago and who taught us that our God is a God of unfathomable Love and limitless Mercy, is the Eternal Father’s Most Profound Gift to each and every one of us!
It is this awareness which becomes our own personal epiphany! It is this awareness, this Divine Light, which guides us into living the spirit of the Christmas message not just during this Holy Season, but throughout each and every day of the year, for the true spirit of Christmas should become a way of life for each one of us.
For it is a message of enduring hope and fulfilled dreams; it is a message of lasting peace and spiritual prosperity; it is a message of selfless love and charity to be lived and shared with all our brothers and sisters – of every race, color, creed and ethnicity!
And if we truly carry this faith in Christ Jesus within our hearts, then we realize, in a very real way, the words which Saint Paul wrote to the Christian community in Ephesus in our Second Reading today. For we are all “…coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”
Today, through the Gospel message of the Magi bearing gifts, you and I are each asked to live out, in our daily lives, our own epiphany, truly living and practicing our faith in a very real way through our every thought, word and deed.
For how we travel this journey of our faith, in this life we are now living, will ultimately give witness to the gifts which we present when, prayerfully, we will enter our Father’s House prostrating ourselves and giving homage to the King of kings, just as the Magi did so long ago – gifts of love, gifts of honor, the gift of a truly humbled and contrite heart!
Then, the words of the prophet Isaiah shall be fulfilled in each of us, “…you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow…proclaiming the praises of the LORD”!
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” (Matthew 2:2)
- “Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance. Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you.” (Isaiah 60:3-4b)
- “He has a name written on his cloak and on his thigh, ‘King of kings and Lord of lords.’” (Revelation 19:16)
- “…the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” (Ephesians 3:6)
- “For the grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age.” (Titus 2:11-12)
- “The LORD is with you when you are with him, and if you seek him he will be present to you.” (2 Chronicles 15:2cd)
- “My portion is the LORD, says my soul; therefore will I hope in him. Good is the LORD to one who waits for him, to the soul that seeks him.” (Lamentations 3:24-25)
- “For thus says the LORD to the house of Israel: ‘Seek me, and you shall live.’” (Amos 5:4)
- “Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.” (Isaiah 55:3)
- “But to those who did accept him [Jesus] he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God.” (John 1:12-13)
- “Then you shall see and be radiant, your heart shall throb and overflow…heralding the praises of the LORD.” (Isaiah 60:5ab, 6c)
Prayer for the Day
“God, our Heavenly Father,
God of Eternal Light, God of Infinite Mercy and Love,
You revealed your Son to the nations
by the guidance of a star.
“Mercifully grant that we, who know You by faith,
may be brought to contemplate the beauty of Your Majesty.
Through the spirit of worship, honor and praise,
may You lead us one day to the wonder of Your Glory in Heaven.
“We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,cf. Prayer for Epiphany (Roman Breviary)
who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”