Solemnity of the Epiphany – Cycle B
Reflecting on Matthew 2:1-12
And so we come back to the beautiful story of those wise men from the East. And our questions arise as surely as the Star.
How is it that they observed the Star at its rising? Why did they, Gentiles who knew nothing of the promised Messiah, leave everything to seek a newborn King of Judea? And, the harder question: if the Star hovered over the house where the Holy Family stayed in Bethlehem, with none of the Jews in the City of David noticing it, how did the Gentiles see it clearly from afar and find the Messiah through its Light?
St. Matthew (the only one of the four Gospel writers who knows this Epiphany story) is telling his Jewish/Christian community something beautiful: those who seek Jesus will surely find Him, whether born into the right bloodlines or not.
And there’s something else here too: are we ready to follow the Stars that arise in our lives, to be utterly open to the Surprising Love of the One who meets us in our comings and goings, our dreaming and our rising, our instinctive drawing near to him who drew so near to us? In this new year let’s resolve again to keep our eyes wide open for the Christ who comes to us in a thousand different ways, bidden and unbidden, searching for us as earnestly as we are searching for him.
Many thanks to young Kathleen Sullivan, who encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and seek broader and wider for the true meaning of the Epiphany. Just like the Wise Men.
In what ways do you sense that God is seeking you?
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).
I talked to friend I haven’t seen in a while. She asked, “How are you? Where have you been?” In some ways I’ve gone into a cave to grieve. The last year and a half has been a time of great loss for me. I know when it feels safe to come out and look into the sun. I love the darkness of night because somehow it creates the environment for me to get in touch with the depth of my emotions and feelings. It’s the quiet that lets the craziness of me surface and be seen. I have to be alone to notice.
I do this with God, too. With all that’s happened, there are times I just want to shout at God, “Enough, already!” But something inside me doesn’t scream as loudly as I might. My faith reminds me that God is making space inside me. When I am at bare bones, when there is no thing left, I will know that God has finally found me, or that I’ve let myself be found. I will have stopped hiding. There will be no barriers between God and me. What an alleluia moment that will be!
So what makes me hide from God? Those old thoughts of not being good enough…or not being lovable…. Sometimes it’s the preached theology that proposes all the answers about who God is, limiting the names that God wants to reveal to me/us. Sin-redemption theology makes me want to hide because I know I will never be worthy. Incarnational theology brings me out into the light. It reconnects me to a Trinitarian God who loves humanity so much and enough to say, “I want to be one of them.” This is the God who loves me and has made me lovable and loving. This God calls me Precious and Beloved and whispers to me, “I am your Lover. Come.” Who can hide from a God like this?
The truth be known, God does seek me out. I know it in Scripture and Liturgy. God welcomes me through the voice of my spiritual director and the women in my bible study group. Occasionally there is a message from God in the local comic strip, in an email from a friend or one of those rare letters that finds its way to my mailbox. In conversation with others, something often surfaces that intrigues me and invites me to a deeper relationship with God. Of course, the poor and the marginalized call me to see the face of Christ in them. And then, there is the mirror in my own bedroom… Oh, God is seeking me all the time saying, “Here I am, waiting for you and wanting you.”
There’s a chapel in the pastoral center where I work. Lately, when some downtime presents itself, from out of the blue, I would feel the urge to come to the third floor chapel “just to hug Jesus”. (am able to do this because the chapel is freqently empty and no one would be seeing me hugging the tabernacle.) Then I go right back to my office on the second floor. – – Cris
Oh, Cris, how wonderful to embrace and be in the embrace of the Lord!