HOMILY/Reflection FOR THE EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD
HOMILY: THE ULTIMATE SEARCH
Today, the Nigerian Church celebrates the feast of Epiphany, and with it comes the end of the Christmas celebration.
The word “Epiphany”is from the Greek “Epiphaneia” meaning “Manifestation”. Thus, the celebration is all about the manifestation of Our Lord Jesus to the Magi through the Great Star. The star is not hidden, it is up there for the world to see. Thus, the manifestation of Jesus is actually for the whole nations! But the problem remains, how far can we see? The Magi saw it and followed it. They discerned both the star and its meaning. Thus, they set out to worship the Lord of the Star, and not the star of the Lord.
God speaks to us in many ways. Nature is one of God’s major means of revealing his glory and infinity. The Sun, the Moon, the Stars, the Oceans and the Mountains have symbolic sigificances, and through them one can appreciate God more. The Sun, sometimes reminds us of God’s unlimited and inescapable vision of the whole world. The Moon reminds us, that even in the dark and in hiding, we have not evaded him, we cannot escape his sight! The Stars teach us of his radiance, the Oceans of his infinity and the Mountains of his firmness. However, many ancient religions and indeed even now, many have worshipped these signs of the Lord and left the Lord of the signs. Not so were the Magi!
In the first reading Isaiah used these terrestrial signs to announce the glory of God. He sees the Lord as the Great Light whose radiance shines on Jerusalem to accomplish his glory. In the Gospel, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, his Star shone for all to see. But how many would see it? Indeed, with his birth began the Ultimate Search, the search for the Saviour of the world! However, we see very many characters and various modes and reasons for the searching.
Recently, a TV series called “the Gulder Ultimate Search” has won the hearts of many in Nigeria. It is a reality TV show in Nigeria sponsored by the Nigerian breweries. In order to achieve their mission, the participants must overcome great challenges posed by the wilds, their colleagues and their guide. They must discern some subtle clues presented to them until they reach the ultimate goal. Such was the mission of the Magi! They had many great challenges, travelling all the way from the East, through tortuous paths, all the time not losing their focus on the Star.
As they went they inquired, “where is the newborn king of the Jews, we have come to do him homage”. Their mission was clear to them and they never lost sight of their clue. However, they were not the only ones searching. Herod was also searching. He had the convenience and ease to find the Saviour. While the Magi were traveling from place to place asking of the Saviour, Herod could summon all the seers and wise men, all at once, to his house to enquire of them where the Saviour was to be born. And both Herod and the Magi crossed each other’s path in this search, however, while the Magi succeeded, Herod did not.
Today all of us are set on this ultimate search for the Saviour. But how far can we see? Are we able to read the signs of time? Are we focused on the manifestations given by God? Are we able to conquer our obstacles to reach the goal? In our time, evil men and women are always searching. They invite different pastors and men of God to themselves with their wealth, hoping to buy the information to salvation. They are like Herod, bound to fail! The Magi succeeded in their ultimate search because they had the right intentions to worship the Lord. The beginning and end of their mission was to worship and glorify God. Today, the Churches have become crowded with people who are searching, but their purpose is not to worship God. Prayer houses are full with people who have different agenda. Some are there solely for riches, some to subdue their neighbours, even some are there only for vengeance. People have so many reasons why they approach God and many against God’s will.
As we begin the New Year, let us start now to refocus on the vision of the Christ. Let us offer new resolutions set to achieve the glory of God. Let us be ready to leave our old sinful ways to walk in the radiance of God’s light. He is ever present and will never desert us.
May Jesus, the light of the World guide our steps all through the year 2017 and forever through Christ our Lord, amen.
Fr. Precious Ezeh