Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (A)
The dictionary defines a star as a bright light in the sky, a planet, or a gaseous mass in space that generates energy. It is also said of a planet or constellation believed to influence somebody’s character or fate on Earth, or a direction for the future supposedly revealed for somebody or a place. It also refers to a luminary, a celebrity, especially in entertainment and sports.
TV, movie and sports personalities arouse us significantly. It shows especially when we are scheduled to watch them. We do all that we can to see them personally, and spend much time and money just to watch their performance. We can even reorganize our routines so as not to be late, and be at the place with the huge crowd as early as possible.
St. Matthew tells us that the magi 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 (2: 10ff). They saw a star in the East that led them to the Messiah. From then on their astrology changed. Their lives changed. That star became their Star of life, leading them away from the evil designs of Herod, and through the instruction of an Angel, moved them to a brighter vision.
The experience of the magi reminds us that all who make the tedious journey to the truth will finally encounter it and be changed in the process. They can never go back to a “business as usual” way of life. When we meet Christ and see who he really is, we will never be the same — and only then can we hope to begin to share in his mission (Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, Biblical Reflection for Jan. 2, 2011, zenit.org).
Jesus Himself has stars in His life: the poor, the sick, the indigents, the marginalized, the needy. On the last judgment, these people will rise from all corners of the world and will shine brightly as the stars in the heavens, and Jesus will tell us that when we helped and served the little ones, we did it for Him; when we refused to help them, we refused Him.
As Christians and Catholics, who is your star? By now, you will most likely say “Jesus.” If He is your Star, are you excited of His coming? Are you excited to meet Him? Do you come to Church for Him or for somebody else? When you are supposed to come, do you let Him wait, because you’re still so pre-occupied with many things at home? When you’re in Church, are your thoughts focused on the concerns of Jesus, or on your concerns? How much time do you spend with Him before the Blessed Sacrament? Do you serve His Church and celebrate His presence?
In the 2nd reading, St. Paul teaches us the following:
1. We are stewards of the great wealth of the redemption offered to us by Jesus. We cannot presume being already redeemed without appropriate faith and good works, and a good investment of our time and effort to be with Jesus in prayer, in liturgical celebrations with the community and in service to the needy and the weak.
2. The mystery of God’s plan was made known to us. His life is a gift, freely given to us. Without the special grace of the Holy Spirit, we are unable to know this plan. Though we are not worthy, Jesus Himself brings us salvation, so that we may share His joy in His Kingdom.
3. The Gentiles are coheirs in the promise of redemption. We are chosen to be His own, His favorite. How can we abuse the gift? He loved us first, even before we could know Him, and He wants this promise of redemption also to be shared even by the gentiles.
Epiphany is a manifestation of the Lord to His people, of His friendship, of His Love, and of His Life, so that we can live with Him in everlasting life, and yet we cling so much to earthly possessions as if they can save us. Let this feast be a great realization of the real presence of the Star of our life, and let this Star shine brightly in our thoughts, words and deeds.
Today, we celebrate the great Epiphany of the Lord: the Eucharist, the greatest Star of our life, our greatest source of energy. Let us be exposed to Him in the Blessed Sacrament, and let His radiance shine in the people we serve. Let us celebrate this Eucharist as a memorial of His presence and of His command to do this in His memory, for when we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim the death of our Lord Jesus until He comes again.