HOMILY ON THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.
Lessons from the Epiphany
“And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They 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. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh ”(Matthew 2: 9-11).
Today the Church celebrates the Epiphany of the Lord or the “manifestation” of Jesus as the Son of God and Messiah, Savior of the world. In the wise men (magi), all people of every nation, language and race who set out, called by God, to adore Jesus, moved by their innate desire in search for the Truth, are represented. It is also popularly known as the Feast of the Three Kings, referring to the three Wise men /Magi who searched and found Baby Jesus brought about by the prophecies they have heard.
As we celebrate today’s solemnity, let us consider the following ideas in our personal meditation as we contemplate the Gospel for today’s Mass:
1. THE PRIMACY OF THE SPIRITUAL OVER MATERIAL
- The wise men from the east SET OUT INTO THE UNKNOWN, TO THE UNCERTAIN, LEAVING BEHIND ALL THE WEALTH, COMFORT AND THINGS IN THEIR OWN KINGDOMS, thus teaching us the importance of courage, determination and DETACHMENT from material things in order to find God and savor the spiritual.
- The Magi were learned men with restless hearts, driven by their quest for God, unsatisfied with the material, they yearned for what really gives meaning in their life and thus courageously embarked on a journey to FIND GOD, teaching us that the most important goal in this life is TO FIND JESUS AND LIVE OUR LIFE FOR HIM NO MATTER WHAT IT TAKES.
2. TO FIND CHRIST, WE MUST OVERCOME DIFFICULTIES AND ASK HELP
- Their journey was utterly long and uncomfortable. They must have travelled and slept in conditions to which they were not used to. But they did not complain, they did not give up.
- They were able to surmount the innumerable difficulties of their expedition moved by their faith and desire to be with Jesus.
- When the star disappeared, they did not hesitate to ask for help, showing us that wisdom and humility go hand in hand.
- In our journey towards heaven, we need the help of SPIRITUAL DIRECTION, knowing that: “one’s own mind is a bad adviser, a poor pilot to steer the soul through the storms and tempests and among the reefs of the interior life. That is why it is the will of God that the command of the ship be entrusted to a Master who, with his light and his knowledge, can guide us to a safe harbor (St. Josemaria, The Way, n.59).”
3. TO FIND GOD IS TO FIND HAPPINESS. GOD DESERVES ALL OUR ADORATION.
- When they saw where that the star led them to “the child with Mary his mother”, they were overjoyed, “they prostrated themselves and did him homage”.
- They did not say to themselves interiorly: “Is this all that there is?” “Did we have to suffer the entire journey just to find a child?”
- They rejoiced with an uncontainable joy, they adored, paid homage and offered gifts to the GOD-CHILD which allegorically signify the following:
- gold to acknowledge that He is King;
- incense, to confess that He is Perfect God;
- myrrh, to profess that He is perfect Man
4. HUMILITY IS NECESSARY FOR FAITH AND ADORATION
- They worshipped the God-Child because they were humble and they had faith. learned, wise men, kings, respected in their countries…adoring the GOD-CHILD! Their science, knowledge and wisdom did not at all impede them to recognize the Messiah, the Savior of the world, God-Child, humbling themselves and worshipping him.
- Like the wise men, we, too, can recognize, adore and worship God only with humility and faith. But let us not forget that Jesus present in the tabernacle is the same Jesus the wise men found in Mary’s arms. With what devotion, reverence and love do we have towards Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament or during the Holy Mass?
- “The Magi set out because of a deep desire which prompted them to leave everything and begin a journey. It was as though they had always been waiting for that star. It was as if the journey had always been a part of their destiny, and was finally about to begin. Dear friends, this is the mystery of God’s call, the mystery of vocation (Pope Benedict XVI, Speech, World Youth Day in Cologne 2005).”
- May we also be willing to embark on the journey towards Jesus, with a “determined determination” (St. Teresa de Avila), with faith, humility and perseverance of the three wise men in order to follow the star of our vocation to holiness to which God has called us.
- May we also generously offer to Jesus, the gold of our obedience to God’s will; the incense of our prayer and adoration; and, the myrrh of our daily deeds of humility, self-abnegation and sacrifice: our heart, our will, our life.
“O God, who on this day revealed your Only Begotten Son to the nations by the guidance of a star, grant in your mercy that we who know you already by faith may be brought to behold the beauty of your sublime glory (Opening Prayer, Mass during the day).”
Happy Three Kings to you and your loved ones! Fr. Rolly Arjonillo.
AUDIO CREDIT AND SOURCE: The Choir of St Mark’s School of Texas 2002-2003, O Come All Ye Faithful, https://archive.org/details/Christmas_Carol_from_St_Marks_School_tx_JamesLivengood http://creativecommons.org/licenses/publicdomain/
VIDEO COMMENTARY TOPIC:
DO YOU HAVE YOUR OWN EPIPHANY LIKE THE MAGI?
Responsorial Psalm Psalms 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13
Ephesians 3:2-3A, 5-6
Today, we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord. Like the magi, who were not Jews but Gentiles, we have received the Lord in baptism. But for most of our life, we have not truly understood the meaning of being a follower of Christ. We need our own epiphanies to truly embrace our own Christianity. A contemplative spirit, similar to the magi, allows us to follow the ultimate light of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Stay updated: subscribe by email for free TO OUR NEW WEBSITE www.catholicsstrivingforholiness.org (PUT YOUR EMAIL IN THE SUBSCRIBE WIDGET).
We are also in www.fb.com/Catholicsstrivingforholiness. Kindly help more people in their Christian life by liking our page and inviting your family, friends and relatives to do so as well. Thanks in advance and God bless you and your loved ones! Fr. Rolly Arjonillo