Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Epiphany of the Lord

Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.
~Matthew 2:2

Ave Maria! On this gladsome feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, I share with you this beautiful reflection on the Magi as they followed the star that led them to the Divine Child -- "God from God, light from light, true God from true God!" This meditation is a letter from our pastor, Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds, that appeared in our bulletin today at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church here in Houston, TX. Come, dear friends, let us hasten to Bethlehem and see! Let us adore our dear Lord and Savior and let Him make us His light-bearers to the dark and weary world. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
The Magi, who made their way to the manger of Bethlehem, are only the beginning of a great procession, which winds throughout history. On this Epiphany – a word that means, “manifestation” – we commemorate Christ’s revelation of himself to the wider world, represented by the three Wise Men who comes from the peripheries of the world to worship the Word-Made-Flesh. We join them in humbling ourselves before the Lord of all the world, our Savior.

The Old Testaments readings from today’s Mass depict in bold imagery the pilgrimage of the peoples to Jerusalem: both the Jerusalem on earth and the new and eternal Jerusalem, where Christ reigns in Glory. Isaiah writes, “Nations shall walk by your light, kings by the radiance of your dawning” (Isaiah 60:3). A pilgrimage that began with the shepherds now continues with the Magi, and we are invited to take part, for in the Incarnation, God is revealed to us as well.

If we need a lesson in what it means to be a pilgrim, we have only to look at the Wise Men of the Gospel. They were not aimless wanderers or vagabonds, but travelers with a purpose and destination. They were also seekers of the truth. Their own cultures and religions could not supply adequate answers to their questions, and they were looking for something great. They found it in a manger in Bethlehem.

The Magi were also men of courage. They were willing to go forth towards the unknown and uncertain, on paths filled with hidden dangers. Their decision to go to Israel may have been meet with derision by their peers, but the Magi could not do otherwise. They were seized inwardly by God, and so the way that he pointed out to them was more important than what other people thought.

We need to become more like these Wise Men, not necessarily by undertaking an outward journey, but by making an inner pilgrimage of the heart. This is accomplished by being attentive to God’s presence, by moving through life with a purpose born of faith, and by living with courage, knowing that doing God’s will is more life-giving than surrendering to the whims of others or to the expectations of the popular culture.

We ask Mary, who as a loving mother showed the new King of the world to the Magi, to show Jesus Christ to us and to guide us along the way that leads to Him.
~Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds, Pastor, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, Houston, TX 

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