The Epiphany of the Lord
There are several characters that we may consider and reflect on today:
- Herod. His reaction was that of anger for he did not want any opposition to his reign and throne. He wanted to rule forever. So when the Magi asked about the newborn King, “he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.” In his insecurity and rage, he called the magi secretly and pretended he was interested in doing homage to the newborn King. We all know that Herod wanted to eliminate any threat to his throne. But Jesus did not want Herod’s throne, for the heavens are His throne and the earth His footstool. Jesus, the newborn King, would reign in the hearts of men of good will, and those who do not accept Jesus as the Light will live in the darkness of the world.
- The chief priests and the scribes. They were indifferent. They seemed not to care. They just stated what they knew, and when the Messiah was born they did not or could not believe. Even when they already heard Jesus teaching, they were jealous of Him because Jesus was teaching with authority and not like them. They also opposed Jesus, brought Him before the high priest and the governor, and led Him to be nailed to the cross. But Jesus was not in competition with them. He was challenging them to believe in His works, to put their words into action, and lead people to the God they were preaching.
- The Magi. All the time of their conscious life they were watching stars, and when they saw this special star of a newborn King, they were overjoyed, and they walked and followed the star from their country to where Jesus was born. They were people of reputation, influence and power, but they did not wait. They humbly went out of their way to find Him, and they offered their gifts. True enough, they found their King, for, as Jesus proclaims: where I am, there will my servant be. And inspired by the Spirit about the evil design Herod was conceiving, they returned to their country by another way.
- The Star. I used to follow the movements and events performed by my movie, TV and sports stars. I was almost always there for their performance, and spent time and money to watch them. (But they did not give me their time or money). You! Who are your stars? Try to think how excited you were with them and how you put them in your schedule.
Today, a Star is born. Jesus is born, and is seen at its rising. Is He a star that rises in your heart and your family? Does He have a special place in your activities? Or is He attended to only whenever He is needed? Experience tells us that when we are very busy, our prayer time usually suffers, because even if we know it’s very important, we seem to attend to the more urgent things that we want done. If Jesus is your Star, do you visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament? Do you consider important the poor, the needy, the church, because they are the stars of your Star? Does your life change from your encounter with Him, especially in the Eucharist? Just as the sun and the stars are always in the sky even if we don’t see them, Jesus is always present even if we don’t seem to see Him.
In one of his Christmas messages (2010), referring to the text, “A light will shine on us this day, the Lord is born for us,” Pope Benedict XVI said: “This “us” is the Church, the great universal family of those who believe in Christ, who have awaited in hope the new birth of the Saviour, and who today celebrate in mystery the perennial significance of this event…. All about there was darkness, while in the cave there shone the true light that enlightens every man.”
Pope Benedict XVI also mentioned his concern regarding the situations of violence and injustice happening in the Holy land, the Middle East, especially in Iraq, in Sri Lanka, in the Korean Peninsula, in the Philippines, in Africa, in Honduras. Regarding Europe and North America of which we are part, The Holy Father said: “the “us” of the Church urges people to leave behind the selfish and technicist mentality, to advance the common good and to show respect for the persons who are most defenseless, starting with the unborn.” He continued: “how great a gift it is to be part of a communion which is open to everyone! It is the communion of the Most Holy Trinity, from whose heart Emmanuel, Jesus, “God with us”, came into the world.”
Let the Eucharist we celebrate be the light and the star of our life, and let us shine in our words and deeds as the people He came to redeem by His Incarnation and by His Death and Resurrection.