Monday, 29 April 2013

The Epiphany of the Lord - Year A

Isaiah 60:1-6; Ephesians 3:2-3.5-6; Matthew 2:1-12

After Jesus had been born …

After Jesus had been born things start to happen. An energy is unleashed, an unstoppable power, a joyful, irresistible movement. The longing of the centuries suddenly becomes a seeking, a setting out, a life's journey to find the One who is now among us.

It begins with some shepherds in the fields nearby. An angel appears as they watch over their sheep; the darkness is pierced by the glory of heaven; the joyful message of his arrival is announced. They leave their flocks and set out to seek his face - the face of their desire.

Countless human hearts, for 2000 years now, have followed in their footsteps, their quest no different from that of the shepherds, or of the Magi.

The sky opens above Bethlehem and the darkness is pierced by glory of heaven. Do you understand what has happened? Everything has changed. The universe begins to move around a new centre, drawing all men of good will to itself. The shepherds are first to leave their orbit - how appropriate that it should begin with them, the poor!

They come to him, acknowledging the child. These simple peasants would not have understood it all. Do you understand when you come and kneel in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament? Do you know the full mystery before which you kneel? Of course not, and neither do I. But we come anyway - drawn by the same irresistible power which drew the shepherds.

Next come the wise men from the east following a star which knows its creator. All nature now knows and is ready to share its secret with hearts that are pure.

The journey of the Magi is longer, slower, more heroic. Some of us find Christ soon in life and others much later, after a long journey, but it is all the one journey - the journey that started back then - after Jesus had been born.

The wise men have come to do him homage. They have a need to do this, as we have, because it is the real purpose of every human life – to give oneself entirely and in a totally unrestricted manner to God.

They have gifts for the newborn King of the Jews - gold, frankincense, myrrh, but first they give themselves.

… and going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and falling to their knees they did him homage.

How wonderful to be allowed to worship the Lord, to come before him and do him homage! Could we ask for more?

Following the star which had filled them with delight they reach their destination and find themselves before the Lord. Yes, they find themselves. Do you understand? What a moment of joy, of fulfilment, of destiny!

Now they open their treasures and give. And how generously they would have given! Look at them, admire them, envy them and imitate them. We are all at our happiest, most satisfied, most noble, most beautiful - on our knees before Jesus – giving ourselves to him.

We note with sadness that some do not come. Herod misses out. It seems his orbit will not be breached. He wants everyone to circle around him, as he does.

The Jewish elders miss out too. They have all the facts of the case, they know where the Child is to be born, but they miss out on the Truth. How sad! Where will their journey take them?

But let us rejoice together. We have come into the house and gathered round the altar. In a few moments we will see the child. Let us, too, fall to our knees and do him homage.

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