Cycle (A) The Epiphany of the Lord

Is 60:1-6; Eph. 3:2-31, 5-6; Mt 2:1-12
Today, we are celebrating Epiphany Sunday. This special Feast, normally celebrated on January 6th, commemorates the revealing of Jesus as the Christ to the Gentiles. In some European countries this Feast is known as the "Twelfth Night" (after Christmas).


The meaning of the word "epiphany" has its roots in the Greek language. The first part of the word, "epi," means "upon." The second part, "phainein," means "to show." By combining these two meanings, "to show upon," we are reminded of the manifestation of the glory of Christ to the Gentiles.
Today's First Reading from the Book of Isaiah, speaks of a prophecy that was made approximately seven hundred years prior to the birth of the Lord Jesus. In those days, the Israelites were rejoicing because after years of captivity, they were finally allowed to return to the holy city Jerusalem. The prophecy of Isaiah gave them hope that the promised Messiah would soon rise from among the people and that His glory would be seen by all.

The prophecy of Isaiah concluded with the words, "They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord." [Is. 60:6] These words echoed the gifts that the three wise men from the East [Mt. 2:1-2, 9-11] brought to Jesus in adoration after following the shining star in the sky.
The Gospel tells us what happened to the wise men the moment they left Herod and took the road to Bethlehem: the star reappeared, "and the sight of it filled them with delight."
The birth of Jesus filled them with joy. Throughout the life of Jesus we find that Jesus spent a lot of time in bringing joy to the life of the people. In Cana in the wedding ceremony Jesus transformed water into wine, and it gave immense joy to the family. Jesus brought back the dead son to life. It gave great joy to the mother. Jesus raised Lazarus from dead. It gave great joy to the Mary, Martha and the village of Bethany. When Jesus cured the blind, the lame and the sick great joy came to the life of the people.
The bible is filled with stories of bible characters that found and chose happiness through God. Whether it is after unexpected blessings or through sharing His Good News, these stories focus on how God will always be there for His children. These bible stories will inspire you to become a happier person, by knowing that with God you can do anything. His timing is always right, as long as we trust in Him and follow His word.
Sarah has longed prayed to God to have a child. One day however, the Lord visited Sarah as He said He would and blessed her with her child, Isaac. Sarah was able to finally find joy in the unexpected and long-awaited blessings of her son. Paul and Barnabas were asked by God to spread the good news of Jesus' love. They travelled and ministered to people all over to make sure they understood the joy that could only be found in Jesus. 
Joy is one of the greatest gift that Jesus brought to the world. Jesus taught his listeners to be happy and commanded his disciples to share it with everyone. The disciples carried the message to the ends of the world.
Once, a teacher and his young assistant arrived at a village where the people were angry and quarrelsome. At their request, he gave them his blessings, and asked them to remain together in the village forever.  
In the next village they met joyful people who were cooperating with one another and caring for each other. The teacher blessed them too, but asked them to leave the village, and spread out across the country. 
The puzzled assistant asked the teacher why he had given such different advice. The teacher smiled, "Those angry, argumentative people will only spread their unhappiness wherever they go. So I asked them to stay where they were. But it is better for the caring people to spread out, taking their happiness with them. Then others will also learn to be joyful."
The wise men give us the message to be joyful in life.
You can choose to be happy as you realize how fortunate you are in comparison to 90% of the world.  You can choose to be content with what you have when you consider how hard your parents worked to get you to where you are. There is so much to be thankful for if you actually take the time to appreciate what you have instead of yearning for what you don't.
The wise men remind us that choice, not circumstances determine our success.
May Jesus help us to make the right choice in life to be joyful.
Satish