HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD YEAR A.
THEME: Manifestation of God in a human and visible form.
BY: FR Cyril Unachukwu CCE.
HOMILY FOR JANUARY 8TH.
God is for us and He is with us all. In Christ Jesus, God has shown Himself to us in a very simple but captivating way. In the Baby Jesus, the Light of God has shone all over the world. This Light that has been ignited in the world by God invites all to true worship. For the wise, it is the Light that illumines (Lumen Gentium) and that guides us to the true Object of our worship. For those with unclean and devious hearts that are perturbed by the fear of losing their worldly gains, it is the Light that is to be disdained and extinguished at all cost. Like the wise men, may we discover the Lord with the precious gifts of our very selves; Amen.
The Solemnity of the Epiphany is a Liturgical instance to celebrate the Manifestation of God in a human and visible form; a Manifestation that took place in a certain point in history and in a specific geographical setting; but also a Manifestation that has a universal significance, character and effect. God has come to us in Christ that all men and women, from every tribe and language and from all nations may see the Light and Salvation of God. Saint Paul recaptured this in the Second Reading of today (Eph 3:2-3, 5-6) stating that the “pagans now share the same inheritance, that they are parts of the same body, and that the same promise has been made to them, in Jesus Christ.” This inheritance is one which God has promised through the mouth of the prophets about the shining forth of God’s glory over all peoples. In the First Reading (Is 60:1-6), the Prophet Isaiah speaks to us about this glory that would attract all peoples to God; “arise, shine out, Jerusalem, for your light has come, the glory of the Lord is rising on… all are assembling and coming towards you, your sons from far away and your daughters being tenderly carried.” Every Manifestation of God is always for the purpose of leading people to God and for unveiling to them both the content and the true sense of faith. The Epiphany of the Lord Jesus signalled by the appearance of the Star that leads to Bethlehem remains the ultimate historical and generational attraction that leads the way back to God. The Wise men remain models for us in the art of recognising and following God’s indications for our good and for the glory of God.
RELATED: HOMILY FOR FEAST OF EPIPHANY.
The Gospel Reading (Mt 2:1-12) speaks to us of the visit of the three wise men with their very significant and valuable gifts. That they came from the East is very indicative of the Universal Character of God’s presence in our midst in the Baby Jesus. Even in their riches, they knew how to pursue goods of superior value which they demonstrated in the very simple but profound act of worship; “going into the house they saw the Child with his mother Mary, and falling to their knees they did him homage.” True worship of God is always an encounter that gives meaning to everything we are and to everything we have. Hence, through their material gifts present in worship, they presented their richness to the Author of all that is good, such that they may receive from Him that which they can never gain by themselves. Unlike the three wise men, King Herod was perturbed for fear of being dethroned. Humanly speaking, both the wise men and Herod were powerful men. The three wise men were powerful by virtue of their intelligence and material possession, whereas Herod was also powerful by virtue of his political position and consequent material possession. The stark difference lies in the use of their respective powers; the wise men recognised the limit of their powers before God and used theirs in the search and worship of God. They knew that God is the ever abiding Surplus that enriches human limitation and scarcity. Herod, on the other hand, restlessly felt threatened that he staged a war against God. He taught that the Baby Jesus came to take something away from him, whereas He came that we may enriched in every possible positive sense. Material goods are necessary, but they are never meant to distract us from searching for the Lord. The capacity to bring everything we consider great and valuable at the foot of the Lord makes the exception. We lose nothing! Rather we gain! Such an attitude makes one great; hence the greatness of the three wise men. God is the greatest of values and with Him; all other created values regain their ultimate meaning. No created value is to neither become an obstacle in our worship of God nor becloud us from seeing the Light of God that shines brightly that all may see and behold His beauty that is simple and in its simplicity is both overwhelming and fascinating. This is part of the lessons from the attitude of the three wise men.
Lord Jesus Christ, true Light of the world; shine within, around, above and beneath us. May darkness have no power over us and may no created thing distract us from truly searching for You and offering You sincere worship in words and deeds; Amen. Happy Feast of the Epiphany;
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