Monday, June 10, 2019 at 6:04 PM
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1/6/19 Epiphany - Deacon Tony

Deacon Tony Conti

The Epiphany of the Lord
Lectionary: 20

  • As we celebrate Epiphany Sunday we find Herod threatened by the newborn Christ…
  • But what did he find so threatening?
  • Herod’s his whole identity was wrapped around his titles and his possessions, and his position in society…
  • Herod allowed these things to define who he was… they were in essence the basis for his self-worth
  • Herod therefore saw Jesus as a threat to his very being…
  • Herod’s singular focus on his titles, and possessions and position was in fact his greatest threat
  • If Herod truly knew who he was and Whose he was… He would have welcomed Jesus into the world…
  • But Herod let fear rule his life… and refused to let go of his narrow worldview…
  • Herod, like many people in the world today, saw everything in terms of either winning or losing… There was no in between…
  • Herod, like many today, saw life as a competition which must be won at any cost…
  • As we begin a new year, it’s an opportune time for each of us to look at how we see life and how we see ourselves
  • Are we defined by our titles, or our possessions, or our positions in society… or is there more to who we really are?
  • All of these things were given to us by the world along the journey of life… And none of them will come with us when we one day leave this world…
  • When all of our titles and possessions, and positions are one day stripped away… Who or what will be left?
  • An Epiphany is defined as “…a sudden, intuitive perception of, or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something…”
  • Epiphanies are those flashes of insight that allow us to see clearly for a brief moment… what’s really important in lifeepiphanies help us see the truth… What we do with them is entirely up to us…
  • In order to recognize and appreciate our epiphanies - We must be open and attentive to the hand of God working in our lives…
  • We must be seekers like the Magi
  • Seeking God… seeking truth… seeking meaning… seeking a better way to live
  • Richard Rohr wrote: “Loss precedes all renewal; emptiness makes way for every new infilling; every transformation in the universe requires the surrendering of the previous form.” (Richard Rohr Meditation: “Growing in Christ;” 12/7/18)
  • Until we’re willing to loosen our grasp on our titles, and our possessions, and our positions… Until we’re able to refuse to let them define us, (as Herod did);  we’ll never truly know who we really are, and perhaps even more importantly, who we’re meant to become
  • I used to keep a card on my desk at work written by Max DePree that read: “In the end, it’s important to remember that we cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.”
  • Herod had no passion for life, nor a desire to explore the possibilities that the future might hold…
  • None of us are meant to live lives without passion… without that excitement that gets us out of bed each day to pursue our hopes and our dreams
  • Many of us spend a good portion of our lives just going through the motions
  • Never discovering or fully utilizing our gifts and our talents
  • Like the Magi… we’re called to offer our gifts to Christ… by offering them to the world…
  • Each of us, without exception, has gifts and talents to offer to Christ…
  • But we must first come to recognize them…
  • What is it that we do well that we simply take for granted?
  • What is it that we do that makes us lose track of time?
  • It’s never too late to regain our passion for life
  • All of this reminds us of the parable of the talents found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke; where the fearful servant buried his talents and was ultimately chastised by his master…
  • How many of us have buried our talents and gifts?
  • How many of them have we buried away in exchange for not having to embrace needed change in our lives?
  • Part of our life’s work is to find and share the buried treasure in each of our lives while not allowing the fear of failure or the fear of change to deter us…
  • We will undoubtedly have many false starts in our attempt to find, use, and share our gifts… but these too are a necessary part of the journey
  • To give up on ourselves… To declare that it’s too late in our lives for change, is to give up on God
  • And perhaps that’s one of the greatest tragedies that can befall us in life
  • We often make resolutions at this time of year, but few if any really change our lives...
  • But there’s one resolution that will change our lives for all eternity, and that’s the resolution to ask God to take more control of our lives...
  • We’re called to do what the Magi did – To go home by another way...
  • We choose to go home by another way when we ask God for the courage to live our lives in new ways...
  • We choose to go home by another way when we ask God to help us loosen our grip on our titles and our possessions and our positions… that we may recognize and use our inherent gifts and talents to build up His kingdom here on this earth…
  • We choose to go home by another way when we learn to recognize God’s presence in our lives and to trust Him more than we trust ourselves

 

  • A religious Epiphany is a startling recognition of God in our midst... And God calls us to this Epiphany, every day of our lives...

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