“O GOD, WHO BY THE LEADING OF A STAR DIDST MANIFEST THY ONLY-BEGOTTEN SON TO THE PEOPLES OF THE EARTH: LEAD US, WHO KNOW THEY NOW BY FAITH, TO THY PRESENCE, WHERE WE MAY BEHOLD THY GLORY FACE TO FACE.”
A Christmas Sourcebook, p. 109
Today is the FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY! This day celebrates the manifestation of Jesus to all the world. The three magi were searching for the truth, and the truth is Jesus. They really represent all of us, who are also searching for the truth in life. As for us, like the magi, the truth begins and ends with Jesus.
As Jesus is manifested to all the world, he manifests the Father’s love for us in his presence. This love is transformative because it is a call to holiness, goodness and conversion. Jesus shows us the glory of the Father in who he is and what he does and speaks. He also reveals the secrets of his heart, which is the kingdom of the Father. Jesus invites us to help make the kingdom a reality for others by the way we respond to their needs and how we care for them. When the magi left the Holy Family, their lives were different because they experienced the awesome power of God in Christ Jesus. When we encounter Jesus in Word and Eucharist our lives should also be transformed by our encounter with the Christ.
This doesn’t always happen immediately. Most of the time this experience happens when we least expect it because it shows our continual openness to all Jesus is and offers us. Then it becomes an ongoing encounter with our God, made real for us in Emmanuel! Then we are able to bring this transforming presence to the people whom we encounter in life. This also doesn’t happen dramatically. Usually it happens quietly and subtly because this is how Jesus becomes manifested in our lives and the lives of others. What Jesus expects of us is to cooperate with him in celebrating the wonder of his presence in our lives and the life of the church.
Sometimes, though, we become burdened down with life and the difficulties we sometimes face. But Jesus is always there, inviting us to come and see, come and hear, and to come and experience his presence and love. When we accept the invitation, then our lives are changed for ever. Then it is matter of living each day because of the continuing encounter with our God, revealed for us in Christ Jesus. Once our lives are transformed by the presence of the Christ, it is difficult to live and speak differently.
Maybe the magi understood this as they departed the manger. Maybe they were able to live differently than they did before they encountered Christ Jesus. If that is the case, imagine what can happen to us because we, too, have experienced the presence of Emmanuel, God with us for all people for all time.
~ FR. JOE