The Epiphany of the Lord
January 6, 2019 – Year C
Readings: Is 60:1-6 / Ps 72 / Eph 3:2-3A, 5-6 / Mt 2:1-12
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
Yesterday I had the privilege to be with my brother Knights at a state meeting. The Bishop just appointed me as an associate state chaplain for the Knights of Columbus, so I am to be there for the state gatherings. The other associate chaplain is Monsignor Cregan from the Diocese of Arlington.
I was having coffee with him in one of the hotels nearby, before we went to St. Michael’s. He was so worried about the whereabouts of Kevin, the state deputy, because he was to follow him to St. Michael’s. I asked him if he couldn’t use his GPS instead, and he replied that he did not have GPS and had no interest in learning how to use it. I reassured him that the church was only three minutes away, but he insisted he would find someone who knew the place since it would be simpler just to follow. Of course, he made it there.
It makes sense for us to trust “the locals,” those who actually live there. Some of you here may be living in the Smith Mountain Lake area and know that in that area, sometimes GPS does not work. But if you have someone who lives in Bedford County or Franklin County, you’ll never be lost, because they know the place. That’s better than any GPS in existence.
Today, as we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany, we realize that the Magi were lucky because their guide was better than the GPS. God Himself gave them the star so they would be able to find the Lord Jesus. In today’s day and age, maybe this kind of story is difficult to imagine, but we all know and we believe it happened.
The first time I visited Holy Name of Mary after the Bishop had assigned me here nine and a half years ago, I found it using the guidance of a GPS. It pointed me close to the gas station, telling me I had arrived even though I was a few houses away. So it’s not perfectly accurate, as we all know, but the accuracy of God’s words has been proven time and again.
The reason we are all here is because we have been guided by our faith. Somebody served as our “star” and that is why we are all here today. They may have been our parents, grandparents, or friends who helped us to discover the Lord Jesus, our Savior, our King, our Messiah. In the prayers today, we will notice that we are being reminded that our Church is our guide. The Church is our “spiritual GPS,” showing us the way.
A couple of weeks ago, I was called to give the Last Rites to a man who had not been in church for many years, and who was the only Catholic in his family. His daughter called me, because although she is professing another faith, she knew how important the Sacrament was to her Dad. So I went there, knowing that his hours were numbered. When I met with him, I could see in his eyes how happy he was, how peaceful he was to know that he was going to receive Jesus through this Sacrament, the Sacrament for the Sick, and the Eucharist. Before I left, he thanked me, telling me he couldn’t express how grateful he was for my just being there.
I celebrated the Sacrament the way I would celebrate it for a hundred people: I read God’s words as though I was reading them to a thousand who were listening, but he was the only person there, along with his dog who was sitting down quietly. The dog’s behavior was quite unusual because that dog was usually all over the place any other time I had visited. For the first time, he was quiet, as if he could feel, he could sense what was going on. Just a few hours after that, this man was born into life eternal.
Going back to what he had been through and knowing that he knew exactly what was in store for him after he crossed the door which we call death, he wasn’t there by accident. He got that faith because of the people who were around him when he was growing up and because of his constant communication with the Lord Jesus.
Each and every one of us here knows the importance of our faith. We have been given the faith to believe that Jesus is really here: Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, in the Eucharist. We all know that every time we visit the sanctuary of any Catholic church, Jesus is there in the Blessed Sacrament. We also know and believe that after we go forth after this Mass, Jesus will always be there to guide us, to be with us until the end of time.
Each and every one of us is also a “star” who will be the guide for others and our faith will also shine in the darkness of this world. In this confused universe, in this confused world, there are so many people trying to give us direction as to what is good and what is not, but we know better. We all know that only God, who is the Creator of heaven and earth, knows where we should be.
The world changes, but what remains is faith. The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob is the same God that we worship here. Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem two thousand years ago, is the same Jesus who is here in our midst. He is the same Jesus who will be with us. He is the same Jesus who has given us our Church as our guide.
May we always have in mind, the prayer that we prayed at the beginning of this Mass:
O God, who on this day revealed Your only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
to the nations by the guidance of a star,
grant, in Your mercy, that we, who know You already by our faith,
may be brought to behold the beauty of Your divine glory.