The Epiphany: His Light Beaks Through Our Darkness


            Today’s liturgy began with what I feel is the most beautiful opening of the Church year:


Father of light, unchanging God, today you revealed to men of faith the resplendent fact of the Word made flesh.  Your light is strong, your love is near.  Draw us beyond the limits that this world imposes, to the life where your Spirit makes all life complete.


            The Epiphany is a solemn feast loaded with wonderful imagery.  We have the star, the kings, their gifts, the wondering mother and father, and the babe that made the journey complete.


            There are certainly many stories based on the feast that have left deep impressions on us.  I love telling O’ Henry’s Gift of the Magi or Van Dykes The Fourth Wise Man.  G. K. Chesterton has that wonderful story that I’ve told about the Kings of the world that sought entrance into heaven with material gifts, but were denied because they forgot the child.


            Recently I came upon another story, that I don’t believe I’ve shared with you.  In this story the three wise men, Gaspar, Balthassar and Melchior, were thee different ages.  Gaspar was a young man, Balthassar a middle aged man and Melchior an elderly man.  They found a cave where the Holy One was and entered to do him homage one at a time.  Melchior the old man entered first.  He found an old man like himself in the cave.  They shared stories and spoke of memory and gratitude.  Middle aged Balthassar entered next.  He found a man his own age there.  They spoke passionately about leadership and responsibility.  Young Gaspar was the last to enter.  He found a young prophet waiting for him.  They spoke about reform and promise.  Afterward when the three kings spoke to each other about their encounter with the Christ, they were shocked at each other’s stories.  So they got their gifts of gold frankinsence and myrrh together and all three went into the cave.  They found a baby there, the infant Jesus only twelve days old. 


            There is a deep message here.  Jesus reveals himself to all people, at all stages of their lives, whether they are Jew or Gentile.  Our pictures of Jesus are basically those as conceived by Western European artists.  That’s OK, but Jesus was a Middle Eastern Jew. If you were to go to Mexico, representations of Jesus would be that of a Mexican.  Or an Asain in many places in the East.  That is all acceptable, because Jesus has revealed himself of coming for all people, all places.  In the Second reading from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul says that this is the great secret of the ages: that the Christ came not just for the Jews but to be one with all people, Gentiles or non-Jews alike.


            He reveals himself to us, Christians throughout the world, so we can reveal his presence to others.  So many people throughout the world are walking in darkness.  Their lives are a nonsensical wandering from one pointless, frustrating experience to another.  They seek light but do not know where to find it.  We Christians have been exposed to the light that is strong and the love that is near.  It is up to us to be epiphanies, people that show the presence of the Lord to others. 


            To do this, though, we all have to follow a star.  We have to find him ourselves.  That star is within us and around us.  The star leading us to the Lord is our vocation, the call that God gives each of us in life, the reason why each of us exist.  Our vocation may be as husband or wife, mother or father, priest or committed single.  The circumstances of life by which each of us define ourselves are themselves our stars.  We each have a star.  We each have a unique call from God.  That star, though, is moving, because God never stops calling us. We have to follow that call, follow that star to find Christ our light, as the Magi did. 


            We search for the Lord and we find him for one reason only, to pass his presence on by word and example to others.  The Christmas Season ends tomorrow with the Baptism of the Lord, but the Solemnity of the Epiphany is the last great celebration of Christmas.  It is meant to prepare us for ordinary time, ordinary life.  Each of us are called at the Epiphany to let our light shine and brighten our own corner of our troubled world.


            We are called to reveal Christ to others.  We are called to be Epiphanies of the Lord.