Homily – The Epiphany of the Lord, Year A

Epiphany, Year A
Isaiah 60:1-6
Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6
Matthew 2:1-12
January 5, 2014

The magi see a star and knew it signified the birth of a newborn king and not just any king but a newborn king of the Jews.

In those days, it was not uncommon for people to believe that a star would appear when a new king was born.  What is amazing is the magi are willing to travel a great distance to see the newborn king of the Jews and they aren’t even Jewish.  They are Gentiles!

When the new prince was born in England last summer, many people watched the news across the world but didn’t travel a great distance to see him.  The Magi did for Jesus.

Where are the Jews who should be coming to see their newborn king?  This is something they have been waiting a long time for.

Anyone could have seen the star.  It is the Gentile Magi who respond and come to see this Epiphany.

What is it that they see?  They gazed upon the scene depicted in our nativity, the scene of the birth of our Savior.  They looked upon Jesus.

Why did they come?  Some come to see a king to ask some for something.  They asked Jesus for nothing.  In fact, they came bearing gifts.

Seeing Jesus they saw an epiphany of the Lord, a life changing event.  An epiphany is a revelation or manifestation of God.  We call this scene, The Epiphany but we can read of other epiphanies of the Lord in the Old Testament, like the burning bush.

Won’t it be wonderful to have such an epiphany?

It would be a life changing moment.

Sometimes when we feel like we are living in darkness, we pray for God’s light.  The darkness can be caused by a range of things, the death of a loved one, cancer, something in our children’s or spouse’s lives.

When we see such darkness, we seek light but it can seem difficult or impossible to find.  We want to see the burning bush or the baby Jesus or an angel with a message.

We don’t get it.

Does that mean God isn’t appearing to us?  Does it mean that God isn’t present with us?  Absolutely not!

God is always with us.  It’s just hard to see.  Sometimes we have too many distractions.  Sometimes we are looking in the wrong places.

We look for God to whisk away all our problems when sometimes God wants to lead us through them.

Here I think of the days I have where it seems there is too much work to do.  I pray that God would just whisk some of the work away.  He doesn’t.  That doesn’t mean that God doesn’t help me with my work (especially since my work is God’s ministry!).

When I reflect on those tough days, often only after the fact do I see God’s presence in a few ways.  First, the work doesn’t disappear but sometimes it gets done faster than I expected.  Sometimes, when the work is done, I realize how amazing it is that it got done.  In either of these cases, I realize God’s grace in getting the work done.

There can also be days when I have a lot to get done and never get to it because something else comes up like an unexpected call to the hospital.  I go and realize that the emergency call is more important in God’s eyes than the “other stuff.”

So, when I am having a bad day, I remember the times like these and realize I can count on God to help me.  I don’t get the huge epiphany I am looking for but I can live with an “attitude of gratitude” knowing that God will always help me.

We can come to Jesus as a king to ask for something (and we should express our needs) but then to trust in him with an “attitude of gratitude” and seek to use our gifts to serve God.

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