for Sunday, January 8, 2017
Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you! This great solemnity of the Epiphany is about God showing Himself to us, in so many ways. Yet, unless we have eyes that can see, we will not know Him. One of the great challenges today is to open our eyes and to invite others to open their eyes. Sometimes all we can see is what is around us but with faith we begin to see how the divine is within all creation.
The first reading today is from the Prophet Isaiah, who has guided us through Advent and Christmas to this point of the Epiphany. Isaiah is able to see a world in which everything and everyone finally starts turning to God and moving in the direction of God. We who live in the present age often find that difficult to see. Surely Isaiah did not live in a time when everyone was turning to God, but Isaiah is able to see such a world. We are challenged today to look and to see what might draw people to God. Always wars and threats of wars, natural catastrophes and awful things incline people to turn to God. But we humans are not stable. Once things get better, we forget God.
The vision of Isaiah today is more than that fleeing from awful things with the hope that God might be nice. Instead, Isaiah sees a time when the heavenly Jerusalem will draw people, attract people and help them live in the light. You and I can do that by the way that we live if we believe.
The second reading is taken from the Letter to the Ephesians. We are told that God has revealed to Paul that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. This was an incredible breakthrough! The Prophets had sometimes seen that God's love is for all and not just for the Jewish people. God wants everyone. Part of this great celebration of the Epiphany is to know that everyone, at all times, in all ages, is invited by the Lord to share in divinity. We can have no walls! There is no rejection! Everyone is called.
Matthew's Gospel today gives us the story we often call "the three kings." Sometimes we speak of Magi, but that term is more modern even if more accurate! The point of the story is that these men from others places and cultures came to worship the newborn King of the Universe. Some natural phenomenon had attracted them and they followed and in some mysterious fashion acknowledged the glory of God at work in the little baby.
What draws us? Prophet vision? Universality of salvation? Some mysterious force of the universe? God is always seeking ways to draw us into His own life and to share that love and salvation with us. May this solemnity open our eyes today so that we can see the divine present and surrounding us always. Then we, too, can prostrate ourselves and do Him homage.
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: