January 5th – Ephipany
They were overjoyed at seeing the star . . .
Merry Christmas to you, my dear friends in Christ! As we come to the second half of the Christmas season this year, some of you may feel like the 3 Magi – physically worn out from traveling to see family and friends (and yet spiritually exuberant). Some may feel more like Mary and Joseph – settling in with Jesus after the main event of Christmas. Some may feel like Herod or the others in Jerusalem – troubled at the arrival of this new king (What does He want of me?); while others might feel like all the other people in Jerusalem – oblivious to the coming of a Savior (perhaps being instead entirely engrossed in the Packers’ playoff chances). Wherever you find yourself, may we each enter more and more fully this year into the Mystery of the Incarnation – this Epiphany, this revelation that God the Creator has become a creature so that we, His creatures could become like God.
Unfortunately, there are still times when I feel God’s presence as an imposition – as if God is somehow a rival to my independence or freedom – making demands on me that I would rather not face. These lies whispered by the Enemy into my thoughts and attitudes can keep me held in the darkened cell of my little false kingdom. In other words, I feel like Herod, who, when he heard of the newborn king of the Jews, was greatly troubled. Why can’t I be king? What’s this new King got to do with me? What does He want of me? I bet He wants to take my kingdom from me.
However, even in such instances, God always brings me back to reality. God, after all, wants His world back – and so, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly; sometimes peacefully, sometimes painfully – yet always lovingly and joyfully, He brings me back to reality. God is no rival – or rather, I am no rival to God. “The glory of God is a human being fully alive” (St. Irenaeus said that), and how beautifully Jesus reveals that during the Christmas season – by becoming a fully alive human being Himself. In fact, His Epiphany reveals to us that our human life truly and finally finds itself only in God’s life.
Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you … Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow, for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you. God wants His world back; He has come among us and He invites us to share in His glory – guiding us by the light of a star (the star of truth and of faith). May we be – like those Magi – overjoyed at seeing the star. Yes, Jesus our light has come among us; He is here – the Prince of Peace.
Peace to all of you, my friends, this Holy Day, and to all who love the Lord in simplicity of heart,