Jan 5 2020 Reflection
Sunday 5 January 2020
First Reading: IS 60:1-6
Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
PS 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13
Second Reading: EPH 3:2-3A, 5-6
Gospel Reading: MT 2:1-12
Today’s Note: The Epiphany of the Lord
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod,
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.”
When King Herod heard this,
he was greatly troubled,
and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people,
He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea,
for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler,
who is to shepherd my people Israel.”
Then Herod called the magi secretly
and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said,
“Go and search diligently for the child.
When you have found him, bring me word,
that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way.
They departed for their country by another way. (Matthew 2:12)
Today we celebrate the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy that God would shine his light on all the nations, not just Israel. That’s certainly what happened to the Magi as they followed a star to the home of the newborn King of the Jews.
But it seems that God’s light led them somewhere they didn’t expect. And that’s often what light does.
Think about it. Following their own religious traditions, the Magi believed that the appearance of a new star heralded the birth of a new king. So intending to make a diplomatic visitation, they journeyed to King Herod’s court in Jerusalem. But instead of leading them to a royal palace, the star ultimately led them to a humble home in Bethlehem.
They accepted the light they received and kept looking for more, ready for whatever course correction might come their way. In the end, they found themselves before Jesus, not only the King of the Jews, but also the Lord of all creation. Receiving, leaning into, and seeking more light made them more open and able to receive even more light.
That’s how it works for us too. Think back to a time when you experienced some insight from God. Maybe some confusing aspect of your faith started to make some sense. Or you found clarity about a new phase of life you had entered into. That one “light” didn’t necessarily answer all your questions. It set you on a path, but it didn’t give you the entire road map. So you had to do your best to follow it, and as you did, you sorted out the next step. Each step forward, each choice to be flexible, each response of trust made subtle or not-so-subtle changes in you. Light built on light, and slowly but surely, like the Magi, you started doing things differently. You started to see things as God does, in his light.
And that’s what Epiphany is all about. It’s a revelation that changes our hearts.
“Lord, make today an epiphany for me too!”