Epiphany of the Lord (January 7, 2017)

Today we celebrate the manifestation of God to the world in the person of Jesus.

The magi were men of the East who were wealthy and educated. They were able to see the signs of the times concentrated in a single star and came to honor a great one born into the world.

Naturally, they began by seeking him in a palace, since they came looking for the King of the Jews. They eventually find a poor infant born to parents who were far from home. They bend their knee before the helpless infant, and offer gifts of great value to a child that is poor. Station in life is forgotten in the presence of this child whose star they had followed.

We are invited to follow the example of the magi.

This is the 2015th anniversary of the event these wise men experienced. We know that Jesus is God become flesh and blood like us. He has told us that God is so passionately in love with humanity that he entered the human condition in order to redirect human history back into its proper order – the establishment of the kingdom of God.

He came to remind us that each of us is created by God and destined for God. Our destiny is eternal union with our God. As one of the Sunday prefaces used to remind us, addressing God our Father: “So great was your love that you gave us your only Son as our redeemer. You sent him as one like us, though free from sin, that you might see and love in us what you see and love in Christ.”

Today’s feast offers us a challenge for this New Year. Can we become like the magi, open to recognizing God’s presence in the poor and less fortunate around us? Can we receive the Good News that Jesus has shared with us, by humbling ourselves before the helpless? Can we announce the good news by acting justly and peaceably in our homes and schools and workplaces?

2015 offers each of us an opportunity to deepen our faith and widen our love. It offers us opportunity and grace to grow. May we have the wisdom of the magi to see the signs of our time in the world around us and follow the lead of grace. We too will find Jesus with Mary his mother. May we learn to humble ourselves before him in the many forms he will take each day and offer him all that we have in loving service.