The Epiphany of the Lord
January 7, 2018 – Year B
Readings: Is 60:1-6 / Ps 72 / Eph 3:2-3A, 5-6 / Mt 2:1-12
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
Each of us must have experienced, at some time in the past, a total power outage during the night. If there is total darkness, you instantly notice even one candle or a small flashlight or a battery operated bulb. As emergency lights, these make a big difference. But as we know, physical darkness doesn’t last very long. It usually takes only a few minutes before the power comes back on.
There is, however, another form of darkness in our lives that has the tendency to linger: the spiritual darkness caused by living a life which is completely separate from the Author of life. Today, as we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, the day when the Son of God manifested Himself as a human being like us, the readings give us hope.
In the first reading, which is taken from the book of the prophet Isaiah, God’s words tell us, “Your light has come and the glory of the Lord shines upon You. Nations shall walk by Your light.” The Magi found the child, Jesus, by the light of a star and that must have changed their lives forever. As St. Matthew the Evangelist related to us, “Having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.”
When we received the Sacrament of Baptism, the light of Christ was given to us. Only God knows the power we received through this amazing sacrament: we were cleansed from sin; our bodies became temples of the Holy Spirit; we became heirs of God’s kingdom. It is because of this powerful Sacrament that the Lord Jesus could easily tell us that we are the lights of the world. But the God-life in us should also be nurtured by daily prayer, by receiving the Sacraments on a regular basis, by doing corporal and spiritual works of mercy, by making sacrifices, by reading God’s word and the teachings of the Church, and yes, by being in the company of good Christians whose lives give us light. Being spiritually healthy is as simple, or maybe as difficult, as that.
A famous tale is told about a young lion who grew up with a herd of sheep and goats. Even though he became much bigger and much stronger than the rest of the flock, he believed that he was a sheep or goat. One day there was a huge lion from the jungle that wandered into their area. The sheep and goats all ran for their lives, including this young lion. When the huge lion noticed that there was another lion there, he ran after him and said, “What are you doing here?” The young lion was shivering with fear and said, “Please don’t eat me!” The large lion replied, “What do you mean?” So he took this young lion to the river where there was enough light for him to see his reflection. He said, “Look! This is who you are. You are a lion.” At that moment, when the young lion discovered who he really was, he gave a mighty roar. He was never the same again.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we all believe that we are not ordinary mortals. We are God’s children and we will live forever. But many baptized Christians don’t see themselves as they really are. Why? Because sometimes they find themselves in the wrong company: people who remind them, not how great they are, but how terrible they are, and how weak they are, and how they are unable to face all of the trials in this world.
It is our ministry to share our light with our brothers and sisters. The Holy Spirit will help us to see our reflection through the waters of Baptism: to see ourselves and others as we really are. Let us ask the Lord Jesus, who manifested Himself to the Magi two thousand years ago, and whose Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity we will receive in Holy Communion a few minutes from now, that we may not only be able to continue strengthening our own faith, but that we may also always have the grace to be a star and a guiding light to those who are in darkness.