January 3, 2016
The Epiphany of the Lord
The Gospel by MT 2:1-12
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MT 2:1-12 The epiphany of the Lord.
Christmas and Easter have one thing in common: we spend weeks preparing for it, but when it comes, it’s over before we know it. All the fun was in waiting, preparing, decorating.
This year I set the lights up, sent some Christmas cards, waited for the New Year and now I have to face the cruel reality of going back to work. But wait, there is the epiphany! By the time we celebrate the magi and the gifts, we know everything is really over (until next year, at least!). Is that all? Is there any reason for all these festivities? What did we obtain, besides a new jacket, new scarf and couple of bottles of wine?
The readings of today begin with the Magi losing sight of the star; they began to wander looking for its light. They ended up in the court of one of the greatest enemy of Jesus: Herod. The king was loved by its people, so when they heard from the Magi that a new king was born, they were not pleased. Herod was called the great, because he was great. He built important monuments and temples. People adored him as the economy was better and the empire was flourishing. HOWEVER, Herod was also cruel: he killed wives and sons if they were on his way.
Why did the Magi lose the star? I like to believe that God gives everyone an opportunity to change. Herod needed to change his life. He was cruel, an assassin, egotistical and selfish. God made the Magi cross paths with Herod to help him see a different world, but Herod failed to see the opportunity. He ended up lying to the Magi so he can obtain the exact time of Jesus birth. Once the Magi left Herod they saw the light again. Many times we lose our path, we can’t figure our way out of trouble or of sickness. The Magi could have start cursing and swearing: upset because they were lost. Or they could have just give up and return back home. But they did not; they continued to search for the truth, they were not giving up. Do you give up easily? Or do you build a new path once the old one disappears?
After the Magi found Jesus, they listened to their dreams and went back home hiding from Herod. Herod was furious and tried to kill all the babies born in the last two years (from the appearance of the star). Sadly, Herod died shortly after. He wanted to kill Jesus because he did not want competition, he was afraid of losing his kingdom. Yet God wanted him to save his soul, so God send the Magi as missionaries to preach to Herod about the messiah, but he instead closed his heart and failed to see that his kingdom was already taken away from him.
Many of us receive messages every day from God, we called them coincidences. And as we discard them as mere coincidences we are wasting the opportunity to have a real encounter with Jesus. We go through the trouble of decorating our homes with the latest gadgets in lighting trees and houses. We buy gifts for others, including for people we do not like or tolerate. We sing the songs of the economy and follow its tune to the stores. Did we celebrate the birth of Jesus? I have seen the same enthusiasm of decorating and dressing up in Halloween. Are we missing the real Christmas? Did we feel the power of the epiphany? Did God reveal himself to us during the holidays?
Going back to work is hard, but going back to work without Jesus is harder. I hope that all of you are going back to your routines with a little more hope, with a little more peace and a greater sense of family and community. I know that I am going back to work with the pleasure of knowing that the past Christmas I was able to find Jesus in others.
I want to Thank God for all of you. I ask and invoke HIS blessings upon you and your loved ones: that this new year you may feel ever more the presence of God in your house, in your office and even in your retirement. God Bless you all!