for Sunday, January 5, 2014
Almost always people remember the story of the Three Kings. When we ask
about Epiphany, very few people know what it is or that it has any
relationship to the Three Kings. The story of the Three Kings sticks in
popular imagination. There is something magical about three kings coming
together and following a star that leads them to a small manger where a
little child is born: and the Child is God Himself. Wow!
Epiphany just means revelation. It is a word that expresses how the divine
shines through our ordinary life. It is a word to speak of the divinity of
this little child shining forth from Him from the very beginning of His
life. The Three Kings, in their story, know that they are looking for the
one who will be born a king. This is why their story threatens Herod.
If Jesus Christ is truly God, then He threatens everyone who does not
believe. But not in the way that we ordinarily think. Christ threatens us
with love. Jesus, this little child, contains all of divinity within Him
and comes to save us - not to threaten our lives in a bad way, but to
threaten us with divine love. So many of us find it difficult to believe
that there is a God and even more that this God is all about love and not
about judgment. It is much easier to live in relationship to a threatening
God and simply try to do what is right in fear and trembling. It is much
more difficult to stand in front of a God who is constantly telling us that
He loves us and forgives us. This God is constantly reminding us that we
can live in wonderful ways.
Some of the early Christian writers even state boldly that God comes as a
child in order not to threaten us. The life of Jesus unfolds in a way that
is love and care for others, a speaking of the truth but without menacing
us. We all know the difference between a person who rubs our face in the
truth and hurts us and a person who loves us and still is able to speak
truth to us and tries never to harm us. We know this in small and human
ways and yet find it so difficult to accept a God who loves us in Divine
Ways and still shows us a road that leads to freedom and not to slavery to
The Prophet Isaiah speaks over and over of God's tenderness, God's love for
His people, God's willingness to take on suffering for us. Today Isaiah
invites us all to rise up in splendor because the light of God completes
enfolds us and draws us to life in divinity.
The Letter to the Ephesians affirms another aspect of this wonderful
solemnity: God chooses all peoples and every person. God wants the
salvation of all. No one is excluded from the heavenly banquet.
The Gospel of Matthew returns us to the story of the Three Kings, the Magi,
who seek the Lord. May we seek the Lord. May the divine light draw us,
you and me, to the Christ Child so that we may follow Him to His death and
rejoice in His Resurrection. Glory to God for His love for us! Glory to
God for salvation! Glory to God who invites each and every one to share in
the Divine Life. Amen. Alleluia.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Isaiah 60.1-6
Second Reading: Ephesians 3.2-3a, 5-6
Gospel: Matthew 2.1-12
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: