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1/6/19 Epiphany - Fr. Damian

Epiphany! The Lord is made manifest to us! The Lord is revealed to us! Most of us remember the story of the three wise men but often we have never seriously thought about the meanings that are in that story and what they mean for our daily living. Instead, it is simply another story that we remember about Jesus and one of the few of his childhood or birth that we remember.

Perhaps on this Epiphany we could stop for a moment and ask ourselves: Where do I experience God? How does God become manifest to me? How do the Scriptures reveal God to me?

If we look at the first reading, from the Prophet Isaiah, we hear this incredible hope of return from exile and what that would mean: light and joy and knowing that God is with us! We can see easily how this passage from Isaiah touches the Gospel today, because some of the details associated with the story of Magi from the Gospel come from Isaiah and not from the Gospel! For instance, the song “We Three Kings of Orient Are” reflects clearly that for centuries people thought of kings coming to adore the Lord, but that reference to kings come from this passage of Isaiah and not from the Gospel! Probably because there are three gifts mentioned, it was thought that there were three kings!

Gold and frankincense are mentioned both in the reading from Isaiah and in the Gospel. Camels are mentioned in Isaiah but not in the Gospel.

The Prophet Isaiah longs for the return from exile and we can understand that this is also our own desire: to return to the divine from the exile that we experience in our sinfulness. We also long to live in the light that is Christ and to allow our lives to be seen in fullness.

The second reading, from the letter to the Ephesians, clarifies even more the focus of today’s celebration: the manifesting of God to the Gentiles, to those who are not Jews.

This is again where the Magi come in, since they are used in this Gospel of Matthew as a symbol for all those other peoples who could now come and worship the Lord.

And the Gospel brings us back to this story of Magi coming from the east to adore the Lord.

There is nothing to be gained by arguing about whether this is an historical story or simply a fabrication by the author of this Gospel to make his theological points. Rather, the Scriptures are given to us to instruct us.

We need to be aware of the two possibilities of the origin of this story, but more importantly, we need to learn how to pray with the Gospel and with all of Scripture.

Again, we can return to basic questions: Do I seek God? Am I willing to adore God and give my life over to Him? Like the Magi, I need to wonder for far I would go to see God? Am I willing to give my life to adore God and take all the risks of a journey to be with Him. Am I on a spiritual journey now?

We come to Church to worship God. We can begin this New Year by choosing once again to journey with the Lord and to spend the best of our energies in love: for Him and for one another. Let us bless the Lord! May He become present for us today.


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