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01/03/16 Epiphany of The Lord - Fr. Reggie

What’s in a word? Quite a lot, actually. We’re still in the Christmas season, which means we’re celebrating that God became man. We can never celebrate this enough. Christians used to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas, which spanned December 25-January 6. It was a time of rejoicing. Rejoicing over the presence of God in Jesus Christ. Rejoicing that we are no longer alone. And today we celebrate The Epiphany. “Epiphany” means an “appearance” or “manifestation”, especially of the divine. It also means a sudden and striking discovery.

We see both of those meanings in the gospel today. First of all, Jesus is revealed to the three wise men. They represent the non-Jewish world, which was also longing for a savior. As Pope Benedict put it in his book Jesus of Nazareth, they were “people of inner unrest, people of hope, people seeking the star of salvation.” They were not content with a dull, apathetic life. They wanted to see God. And they find God. To their great joy, they see the Epiphany, the manifestation, of God. They fulfill their quest.

But remember the other meaning of the word “Epiphany”: a sudden and striking discovery. The wise men see God. Yet was this how they expected to see him? If you were God, how would you appear on earth? Perhaps in power and blazing light and overwhelming glory? Perhaps as a combination of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Aristotle?  And here the wise men find a baby. God, all-powerful, the creator of heaven and earth, chooses to come in tongue-tied weakness. God’s glory is a hidden glory. When the angels appeared to the shepherds to tell them about the birth of the Savior, they say: “Glory to God in the highest.”  The wise men see that glory. They have their epiphany. And the true epiphany is that God’s glory is a hidden glory. This is the sudden and striking discovery.

God has many epiphanies for us too. He will show us his glory, and it will often be hidden.     

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