HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF THE EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD, YEAR A, B, C
“In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” These are the very words of the Letter to the Hebrews 1:1-2. The Solemnity of today is a celebration of this reality in the history of salvation; the appearance of God in concrete and visible form. May the Manifestation of God bring an abundance of His glory to you and your household now and always; Amen.
The appearance of God in our midst is an invitation to search for Him. That is the main message of this Feast. This invitation to search for our Creator was greatly manifested in the attitude of the wise men from the East in the Gospel reading of today (Mt 2:1-12); “we saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage.” If God had never wanted us to seek Him; He would not have ever appeared in our midst in the first place and He would not have given us signs and traces that will lead us to the place of His presence. For the wise men, it was the star that led them to the place of His solemn appearance.
The First Reading (Isaiah 60:1-6) speaks of the beauty of this heavenly sign. Its beauty is the greatest force of attraction that must catch the attention of any holy soul that is on a journey to God (Itinerarium Mentis ad Deum); “above you the Lord now rises and above you his glory appears. The nations come to your light and kings to your dawning brightness. Lift up your eyes and look round: all are assembling and coming towards you.” This is the attraction which God’s appearance brings about on the face of the earth. When Saint Paul experienced the force of attraction of this beauty, his whole life was changed and he was able to abandon everything like the wise men in search of the source of this beauty; the sign of God’s presence. Obedient to this force of attraction, Saint Paul wrote in the Second Reading of today (Eph 3:2-3, 5-6) “it was by a revelation that I was given the knowledge of the mystery of God’s promise.”
What we are celebrating today is not just the appearance of God on earth signaled by a star over two thousand years ago. We are celebrating also the many ways in which God continues to signal His presence in our midst reminding us to follow these signs that will surely lead us to Him. The Star led the wise men to where Jesus was. In our time also, these signs in our midst surely leads us to Him. The sign of the Word of God, the sign of the Church, the sign of the saints, the sign of His ministers, the sign of our fellow human beings, the sign of the sacraments which are celebrated in our midst, etc. If a single sign was able to lead the wise men to Jesus; how much lucky we are to have these many signs pointing us to the same direction.
May the graces of the Solemnity of the Epiphany keep us firm in the right direction on our journey to God who is constantly manifesting Himself to us; Amen. Happy Sunday;
-Fr Cyril Unachukwu