for Sunday, January 2, 2011
This year Epiphany comes as early as possible, just the day after January
1st. Let us pray that we can understand and live a bit more profoundly
this great mystery of the life of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The first reading, from Isaiah, speaks about how light shows us
everything. When Jerusalem is filled with light, then the whole earth is
filled with light. This is clearly a reference to the presence of Jesus in
Jerusalem - not for the author of this passage of Isaiah, but for those
Jewish people who were awaiting the Messiah. They came to believe that
these texts referred to the Messiah who would come. For the early
Christians, who believed that Jesus was the Messiah, it was easy to see in
Isaiah many references to Jesus.
This reference from Isaiah can be seen to prophesy that all the earth will
come to the Lord. There are many other references in the Old Testament,
the Hebrew Scriptures, referring to the Messiah. As soon as one accepts
that Jesus is the Messiah, then all of those texts are seen as referring to
The Epiphany speaks particularly of the revelation of Jesus Christ as
Messiah to the Gentiles. It is as though this mystery is so strong that it
shines right through all of reality, if we are truly looking at reality
with God's word. Among the first of the Gentiles, the non-Jewish people,
to perceive divinity in the Lord Jesus were the Magi, the wise men from the
east. They are able to recognize Jesus as Lord of all even in his state as
Today we who follow Christ must be Magi to the non-believers. If we truly
witness to His presence, our own lives are transformed. Others are able to
see that we live from another reality, not from the reality of this world.
This does not reject the present world, but accepts it entirely with the
hope of transformation into the reality of Jesus Christ.
Saint Paul says in the second reading that it was not made known to people
in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and
prophets by the Spirit: that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same
body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
This is a message that still needs to be preached: all are invited to
salvation, all are invited to the banquet of the Lord.
Only as we ourselves come to recognize the divine shining through our
human condition will we be able to give witness with strength and
conviction. We Christians are supposed to recognize Christ present in our
world, in every other person and in every situation.
O Lord, give us eyes and ears and hearts of faith.
Readings of the day:
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: