Sunday, January 3, 2010

Epiphany, Manifestation in the New Year

This is the “Sunday of Light,” the celebration of Epiphany. Epiphany is a manifestation, a giving of a sign or expression (of faith), an appearance.

The story of the “three kings” is a familiar one. Mt 2:1-12 The magi’s followed the star (the light) to take gifts to the Son of God. They listened to their hearts, hearts that were not “Christian” by the times, but with more faith and wisdom than that of many Christians. The magi’s with complete faith follow the light and also listen to the dreams warning them about Herod’s intent to kill Jesus. The magi’s FELT in their heart that Jesus was the Son of God, the one Judge, the one Truth, and the one source of Light. And they were sorrowfully aware of the terrible price Jesus would have to pay for justice and our salvation and peace.

In the stable that night, we are shown different faith “lights.” Mary, has the gift of “true, unblemished, light.” She was given the gift of complete love, complete faith. She is able to know without doubt what God’s plan was for Jesus, and she was able to see not only the “joy” but the sorrows that Jesus would endure. She accepted her role in faith, not only as Jesus’ mother, but as the mother of His church (and therefore us, as the churches children).

Joseph is given the “light” within his dreams. He too follows God’s “calling.” He listens to God’s words in his dreams so that he will know his role in Christ’s life. Joseph’s manifestation of faith is in his “common” work as a carpenter and in his trust in God by allowing Mary to become his wife, even though he knew he was not Jesus’ “true” father.

The shepards and the animals in the stable are the poor, the faithful, and the hopeful. They represent us when we search for the light, follow our hearts, seek God, and are given “glimpses” of light in our lives.

And finally there are the magi’s, non Christians, who follow their hearts, on the simplest faith, and are able to “see the light” simply because they trusted. They were the first teachers showing us that we must follow Christ’s light by faith, and that we must be willing to share our “glimpses” of Light with those who are searching for salvation.

We, like the shepards, animals and magi’s are the “poor believers,” called to manifest our faith, to share the light of Christ in our lives. If, we are in fact, “Christians,” than our role is greater than to “just be.” It is not enough to just have faith, to say we are saved, to be baptized. Our role, instead, must be active, to pray, to share the light, to spread our faith with whomever we meet. We need to listen to our hearts, like the magi did, and we need to go out and spread the good news, like the shepards did.

We need to actively search and have an awareness of the people around us who are searching for God’s light and salvation. We must not be “silent” Christians but rather initiate conversations about Christianity. We must remember to bring God into our “talk” with reverence, to give God credit for our blessings, and to be ready to help others find Christ in their lives. We also need to be aware of the “Herod’s” in our lives, the devils, whose goal it is to kill Christ’s messages. Sometimes we must return by a different route.

“Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the LORD shines, and over you appears his glory. Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance. Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you: your sons come from afar, and your daughters in the arms of their nurses. 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, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.” Is 60:1-6

Do our New Years “resolutions” reflect Christ’s light in our lives? Do they include sharing our faith with our family, our friends, our coworkers or with someone who is feeling alone or is in darkness? What “active” manifestations of our faith can we share today? Do we grumble and complain about “little” irritations, or do we praise God for all the blessings in our lives? Do we remember to appreciate what others do for us, especially our spouses? Are these special people in our lives remembered in our daily prayers? Are our words to them ones of love, or filled with constant unrealistic expectations? Are there any “Herods” in our lives that we should avoid because they are “killing” our love for the Truth, for seeking and appreciating God’s blessings? (These Herod’s may be people, but they may also be our vices, like greed, addictions etc…)

Could are New Years’ Resolutions include these: To pray daily, to read a bible verse daily, to attend church regularly—maybe even daily, to tell our spouse we love them and to never go to bed angry with them or with a child.

O Princely Child, make us all wise men, courageous women, obedient children who will follow wherever You lead us. That means being faithful to prayer, to diligent study of our faith, sharing what we learn with others. This is the way for us to be light-bearers, lighting up the darkness and confusion in the world in which we live. Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment