May the light of faith guide you to eternal life!
We celebrate the Epiphany this weekend, which means “manifestation.” It refers to the events around Christ’s birth that show how God is revealing his plan of salvation for the whole human race; not just the Jewish people. The first reading prophecies that a ruler shall arise from the assembly of faith who will truly be like a great light in the heavens! This ruler will establish true justice, peace, and he will govern with heavenly wisdom and be recognized by all nations as a gift from God. St. Paul speaks of a stewardship of divine grace that was given him by God in order that he may continue guiding all nations in the light of the Gospel: God’s love and mercy shown toward the human race in Jesus.
The Gospel story depicts Wise Men from the East. They saw a light in the heavens that they had never seen before and they believed this star signaled that a very important and great king had been born. The journey of the Magi speaks of the yearning for peace, justice, love and mercy in every human heart through history. The Magi represent everyone who seeks the truth in hope of healing, peace and salvation. Herod, on the other hand, represents those who feel threatened by authority, accountability and change. This also pertains to the fallen part of human nature and selfish inclinations to seek to fulfill only our own desires with little or no regard for God or others. We are given an example of the forces at work within ourselves through the characters in the story. We seek the truth and are guided by God’s heavenly wisdom which leads us to peace through serving God first and others. This is the path by which we discover justice, mercy and love. We have a choice to follow the wisdom of God or we can turn away. The conclusion of the story is that the Wise Men experienced Jesus in humble simplicity and were enriched by him in a profound, mystical way. They went away in a new direction because they had been changed by the light of God’s love and goodness. Herod remained hardened and dark in selfishness. Let us pray that we too will seek God’s wisdom so that we will shine more brightly with the joy and peace found only in Jesus and his cross. Let us ask Jesus to touch others with his light through us. God bless you always! +++ Fr. Peter