Homily for Epiphany, Jan 8, 2017

posted Jan 6, 2017, 1:51 PM by Church Office   [ updated Jan 6, 2017, 1:51 PM by Michelle Massung ]


                        Today we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany; the appearance of the three wise men. Biblical scholars believe they came from Persia and their names are Melchior, Balthazar and Gaspar. They were of the Babylonian dissent and were not believers of God like the Jews but rather, were pagans worshiping false Gods. 

            As I have mentioned before, if a person or persons are unnamed in the scripture passage, then they represent all of us. Up to this point in the Christmas season, only Jews had appeared before Jesus. The Jews believed that the Messiah was coming to save only them and not the rest of mankind. However as we all know Jesus came to save all of mankind.

            Now to me here comes the interesting part. The Magi saw the new star in the sky and knew it represented something grand and glorious, something very powerful and mighty, so much so that they packed up for a very long trip. They brought some of their most prized possessions of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Yet once they finally arrived at the feet of the baby Jesus, what did they do? They gave him praise and worship and presented these gifts to him. To me, the star is the Holy Spirit, God dwelling inside of us, that is guiding the magi to the Christ Child.  They follow the star into Jerusalem and from there, they are given specific directions on how to find Jesus.  Once they find him, they give their praise and thanksgiving for having found him.  Then they give him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  Not once do we hear about them asking Jesus for anything.  Instead, they are transformed from pagans into believers.  After their encounter with Jesus, they return to their homes via a different way. As a last point in my teaching, upon their return to Persia, the three wise men started to spread the good news about Jesus and became Christians.  Some Eastern Orthodox churches consider them saints.           The story may be about the three magi, however, it is really a story about how we are to live out our own spiritual journey on a weekly basis.  Each week, we are drawn to mass by the Holy Spirit.  We come seeking the Lord in the Word of God and in the Eucharist.  Once we encounter him, we too are to give him thanks and praise; then to give him our gifts.  Once we have received the Eucharist, we are to be transformed and return to our homes as a new person, ready to live out our lives as his disciples.

            How many of us in searching for Christ in our own lives spend so much time trying to find him and once we do, do we give him gifts of praise and thanksgiving? More often than not, once we find Jesus we want something from him. We want him to do something for us or help us in so many different ways that we lose sight of the fact that in his humility he became man to suffer and die for us and for our salvation. Isn't that enough? Are we willing to do the same? I don't think so!! They are called wise men because once they find Jesus after their long search, they give to Jesus rather than asking more from him. Today let us be more like the wise man and give thanks to God and to Jesus and to pray that we too can be like the wise man and give back to God like they did. In doing so we can truly spread the good news of Jesus to others in the way that we live our lives; living a life of praise and thanksgiving to God for all that he is done for us.

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