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Reflection – The Epiphany Jan 5, 2024

The Epiphany of the Lord
The Epiphany of the Lord-Reflection
The Epiphany of the Lord-Reflection

The Epiphany

 

Throughout the calendar year, the New Testament biblical narrative is condensed down to fit within the confines of 52 weeks. Two weeks ago, we celebrated the birth of Jesus at Christmas, and naturally, not so long after, we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany.

 

Epiphany comes from the words “epi” (to/upon) + “phainein” (show/ appear/shine). Hence its modern definition: a newfound revelation, an “aha moment”, a grand discovery or appearance.

 

Today’s feast celebrates Jesus’ revelation to the Gentiles (non-Jews) represented by the three Magi who visited from the East.

 

These three magi are often referred to as kings, although we are not told of their occupation in Matthew’s gospel. Magi were understood as people who possessed superior knowledge and experts in their field, in this case probably astronomy. Through the Magi’s experience and expertise, they believed that the heavens marked the birth of great leaders. And so they went off on a journey following a star to where they believed an infant king, who was to be the king of the Jews, would be born.

 

Upon arrival in Bethlehem, the star had led them to a dwelling, and they paid homage to baby Jesus, offering gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They then went home via a different route as they had been warned not to return to King Herod.

 

The story of the magi is very much our story also as we are all on a pilgrimage through life. The star in our lives can be many things, guiding us and leading us to an exciting future. Sometimes it shines brightly, other times we see glimpses here and there. It points us to what is true, good, and beautiful; ultimately leading us to Jesus, whom God desires to reveal to all people.

 

Throughout life we gain realisations about ourselves—little epiphanies. We realise that we were more courageous than we thought, or we hadn’t dealt with something in our past which is holding us back from all we could be, or we realise that there is so much more to life than the narrow worldview that we had. These epiphanies change us; we become transformed into different people. It is the same when we encounter Jesus.

 

When we truly allow God into our lives, (often it begins with praying during the difficult moments only, but I encourage you to pray and invite God into your heart at every moment), we will find realisations and revelations previously unbeknownst to us. Perhaps we realise that God loves us more than we could ever know, or that God’s mercy is greater than our biggest sin. Maybe we even realise the beauty of prayer discover a dialogue with God.

 

Whatever our revelation, like the magi who encountered the infant king Jesus, we first offer gifts; our presence is our present. We then realise that we can’t go back the same way. The epiphany is too great. The revelation has changed us so that our lives are changed for the better.

 

As you journey into 2024, may your pilgrimages be many and your epiphanies be great!

 

Fr Gerard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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