Epiphany, Another Christmas
Last year the Christmas celebrations were in disarray. But this year we could get together for a good celebration, though many parishioners were a bit apprehensive of crowding. A couple of times, after the Carols and the Christmas Vigil Mass, NSW Health informed of one COVID positive person visiting the church each time. Therefore, NSW Health advised to clean the church and continue the “business”, and we did precisely that. I myself went for a PCR test before Christmas to make sure I will not be exposing COVID to the parishioners. So far my tests have been negative. But it is important for all of us to keep up the safety protocols and hygiene practices. I believe that two factors, the high vaccination rate and the mildness of the variant spreading now, COVID is on its way out. In any case let us reclaim the usual routine of life, as much as we can.
The season of Christmas is continuing for us. Today we are celebrating another Christmas namely the Feast of Epiphany. The term ‘epiphany’ means manifestation of God. Matthew 2:1-12 is about finding child Jesus in Bethlehem as God incarnate by the wise men. The search in Jerusalem and in the palace of King Herod for the new born “king of the Jews” was futile. The magi had to follow the star of divine guidance to the poor manger in Bethlehem to meet God incarnate, baby Jesus. It was the star, the symbol of God’s fidelity to his people through King David that led the magi to their God experience. The magi from the East represent the gentile world who were not part of the first chosen people of God. Matthew is well versed in Bible. His narration of Jesus’ infancy is full of allusions to the Old Testament. A great deal of the language used in the infancy narrative is symbolic. This awareness should help us to read and to meditate on the Gospel profitably. Now meditate on the following points.
The magi came to Bethlehem bearing gifts. What are the precious gifts you are bearing to God? Selfishly keeping the God given talents to yourselves is not the way to pay homage to God’s manifestation. What is the star, the vision or purpose, which lights up your life journey? What are the clouds that have obscured your star, your vision, your hope? Who or what, might be Herod for you now? What forces, within or without, could subvert your dream or purpose?
The magi, after paying homage to child Jesus, went home another way, distancing themselves from the evil king Herod. Your God experience also will make you leave the ungodly ways of the past and follow a new way of life from now on. Having met Jesus in the fragility of the world today, have you commenced a new way in this New Year?