Is. 60-1-6; Eph 3:2-3, 5-6; Mt 2:1-12
Today, we are celebrating Epiphany Sunday. The meaning of the word "epiphany" has its roots in the Greek language. This means "to show upon." This special Feast commemorates the manifestation of Jesus as the 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 among the people and that His glory would be seen by all.
The five books of Moses describe several manifestations of God to different people. God walked in the Garden with Adam andEve. He told Noah to build an ark. He appeared in human form to Abraham (Genesis 18). When God appeared to Abraham, he appeared with two other men to announce the birth of Isaac, and that he had come down to visit the iniquity of Sodom. He appeared before Moses in a burning bush. In Exodus, God appeared in a burning bush, as a pillar of cloud by day, and as a pillar of fire by night. God talked to Abraham as a friend. God appeared as a "whisper" to Elijah and in visions to other prophets. The Lord appeared to King Solomon in a dream, promising to grant what he asked. Paul (Saul) got knocked off His donkey on the way to Damascus. Peter encounters the Lord in Acts 19:9-16
But God is not limited in the ways he reveals himself to his creation. God takes the initiative of when, where, and to whom he will reveal himself. God’s revelation of himself is designed to help people become part of his redemptive purpose for the world.
The Bible affirms that God is still revealing himself to his creation. People of faith know that God has manifested himself to them: “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” (Hebrews 1:1-2).
Jesus Christ was the greatest manifestation of God to humanity. Jesus said: “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Through Jesus, God is still calling people to live in fellowship with him. People who believe in Jesus recognize that they can come into the presence of God. Through Christ, we experience the true manifestation of God in the world, if we are willing to accept God’s invitation to come to him.
God wants to bless and communicate with His people and we need to be ready. It is especially important when we are feeling wrung out, depressed, confused or any other myriad of emotions. He is there for us when we feel alone and nobody else understands. God is everywhere. We just need to share our happiness and make others smile to feel him.
There once was a little boy who wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with Twinkies and a six-pack of root beer and started his journey. When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old woman. She was sitting in the park just staring at some pigeons.
The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old lady looked hungry, so he offered her a Twinkie. She gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. Her smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered her a root beer. Once again she smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.
As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was, and he got up to leave but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old woman and gave her a hug. She gave him her biggest smile ever. When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, “What did you do today that made you so happy?” He replied, “I had lunch with God.” But, before his mother could respond, he added, “You know what? She’s got the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen!”
Meanwhile, the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home. Her son was stunned by the look of peace on her face and he asked, “Mother, what did you do today that made you so happy?” She replied, “I ate Twinkies in the park with God.” But, before her son responded, she added, “You know, he’s much younger than I expected.”
God manifests to us through His Word. St Paul says that all Scripture is “God-breathed.” His Word sometimes gives us a warning, a word of encouragement, or a lesson for life. It’s” His-story”–written with love as God’s guide for life, “so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16)
God manifests to us through Nature and God’s Creation. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse (Romans 1:20). Through the intricate details and magnificent beauty of all that God has made, we can “hear” His voice. How? By observing the ant’s strength to store up food all summer long, we learn about wisdom and industriousness. By studying the heavens, we understand more of God’s greatness. And through planting and growing a garden, we “hear” about miracles of death and rebirth. God designed–and spoke them all into existence
God Manifests to us through circumstance. During every crisis we see people extending the providence of God. We saw it in the Chennai floods of 2015, and have seen the same for natural disasters in Kerala, Odisha and other states,”
As panic continues to spread across the country, the concern over the less fortunate, as well those who are at high risk of Covid-19, continues to rise. The uncertainty and fear, however, hasn’t stopped people from stepping up. Showing compassion and grace to others continues to be at the forefront of people’s day-to-day.
Becky Wass, from the United Kingdom is bringing her community together by encouraging others to look after neighbors who are self-isolating and in need of a helping hand. She and her husband designed a postcard to be printed, distributed and used as a form of communication between those willing to help and those who may need support; whether it’s picking up groceries or urgent supplies, such as the elderly or people with mobility issues. Users are encouraged to fill out the postcards with their contact information and leave them on neighbors’ doorsteps to avoid direct contact.
Today's Gospel Reading relates to us the event of the three wise men who followed the star that led them to the Child Jesus. They followed the brilliant star in the sky. To them, the light of the star was a symbol of hope, of joy and of peace. They were able to read the symbol of God’s manifestation.
Its reminders us that we too are called to be a light in the world. God has chosen us to be his instruments to manifest himself to others. We are called to go forward and to share with others the Good News, our hope, our joy and our peace.