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Solemnity of the Epiphany – Cycle A

Reflecting on Isaiah 60:1-6.  Matthew 2:1-12

More and more, we found ourselves searching the skies.   For the past two years we felt drawn to this particular Star, this particular Light.  It called to us, even in the daylight, and at night it drew us to Itself so intensely that one night we just set out to follow It.

Adoration of the Wise Men - Murillo (1617-1682)

Its light never dimmed, and we felt its heat and healing so strongly that we were actually pulled into It ourselves, so that we shone with a Light we’d never known we possessed.

We arrived in Jerusalem and found ourselves in the land of the Jews, those ancient people we had heard so much about.  Where is your newborn King? we asked, for we too had been longing for him.  King Herod, that violent murderer whose evil deeds had also reached us in the east, summoned us and told us to look for Him in the tiny city of Bethlehem.  Bethlehem!  The very city where their great King David was born!  Then the Star appeared and led us to the very house where we found the tiny King and his mother.

We were radiant at what we saw; our hearts were throbbing and overflowing with joy.  We offered our gifts to the King who called us from a faraway land, from our loneliness and darkness, into His own wonderful light.

We’ve been different ever since.  Our sadness, our emptiness, our addictions, our resentments, our lack of hope for the world and for ourselves―all of that melted away when we found Him whom our hearts had sought.

We didn’t return to Herod.  We went home another way.  That’s what being transformed by the Light can do for you.

Sharing God’s Word at Home:

Are there places, people or things you have left behind in order to follow Him?

What would YOU like to say about this question, or today’s readings, or any of the columns from the past year? The sacred conversations are setting a Pentecost fire! Register here today and join the conversation.

I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).

Christmas - Cycle A

7 Comments to “Solemnity of the Epiphany – Cycle A”

  1. This is my year to travel a different path. To take a different road. The one thing I know for certain is that with the star as my guide, if I am willing to follow it, there is nothing but adventure and learning ahead for me.

  2. Just like any addiction, the addiction to be a people pleaser was/is a very strong addiction for me. Trying to win the approval from the more unpleasable people. Putting them before any moral or sane code of ethics,and even before God Himself. It is something I still struggle with, I’m better at it but it still shows up now and then. Learning to not value other’s opinion of me more then my Lord’s will for me. Living for Eternity not these few minutes on earth, not buying into the New-Age thinking that truth is subjective to each person’s belief. Learning and believeing there are places called Heaven and Hell. And findind an unbelieveable comfort in knowing the stability of God. He isn’t the wishy washy Being that I once believed He was. I hope this won’t offend anyone, but I think anyone who believed as I once did will relate.

  3. Places I left behind? The Philippines upon declaration of Martial Law of 1972, my wife and I fled leaving behind 250 wedding gifts from the marriage celebration 5 months earlier. To leave a country meant leaving behind family, friends, relatives, tropical climate, ethnic food, familiar symbolic sites, one’s native tongue, one’s routine, etc., etc., but if I had not left at the instigation of the Spirit, I would never have met you and all these cyber friends on top of the other friends from Virginia, Texas, Michigan, North Carolina, Colorado, etc…… – – Cris

  4. Nestled between Isaiah’s exuberant prophecy about the glory of Jerusalem and the beloved account of the Magi, today’s second reading sits there almost unnoticed, whispering Paul’s history-changing proclamation that the Gentiles (all peoples!) share in the promise made to the people of Israel. Jesus chose Paul to shatter the notion that there can be any “outsiders” when it comes to the offer of salvation through Christ’s death and resurrection.

    How does this relate to Kathy’s question? I think what I had to leave behind was the belief that any one person or institution owns the authoritative and exclusive right to interpret the revelation of Jesus or decide who can be saved. Each of us bears the burden — and privilege — of wrestling each day with how to live the gospel. We look to the church’s teaching and traditions and prayer to help us on our journey. We reflect on the holy Word of God. We look for models of holy living. But in the end, we look in our own hearts and listen for the stirring of the Spirit to guide our choices. And paradoxically, leaving behind the notion that there is only one authoritative interpretation has brought me back to a stronger love of the beautiful Catholic tradition in which I was formed.

    Like Anne, I pray for the courage to find where the star is leading me this year, and I pray for the strength to leave behind whatever new thing that path demands.

  5. I agree with MichaelCarlos that we “listen for the stirring of the Spirit to guide our choices,” but I have to add that we need to take the responsibility to learn church teaching and scripture, so that we recognize the Spirit’s guidance. St. Paul knew that the authentic teaching comes from Jesus. Not all people or institutions teach Christ’s complete message. Groups have dropped teachings with which they disagree and formulated their own teaching, which is incomplete once they drop the teaching of Christ.

    Take care not to leave behind an authentic teaching of Christ. We wouldn’t be good disciples, if we ignored parts of the message with which we disagree; rather, we should pray and listen to the Spirit to help us understand that with which we don’t agree.

  6. I don’t think we’re disagreeing here. My comments specifically reference an informed conscience, which is founded as I said on the church’s teaching, its constitutive prayer, the saints as models of holiness, and of course the primary source of the scripture. I don’t in any way propose that a subjective/personal conviction can stand without the support of all these sources of authority.

    But still I would maintain that no human institution, not even one established by Christ, can be free from the possibility of error. The Spirit continues to perfect our understanding throughout history. It is our responsibility, both individually and corporately in the churches, to discern that revelation. For me, that communal enterprise is found in the Catholic church, but others will follow Christ where his star has led them, and Paul’s message today reminds me that we don’t get to decide who is invited to salvation or what path He has chosen for them.

  7. I never thought I would choose to do it, but I’ve left behind black and white thinking. When I was younger everything was just that, black or white. Then I began to pray that I might be able to pay attention to shades of gray and learned that there are also shades of black and white. When the slightest light enters the blackness of night, it is no longer dark. Strike a match in a windowless room and you can see.
    Living in the “shades” teaches me compassion and inclusivity. When I lived in black and white, I was “always right.” Or at least I thought I was. Now I’m able to listen and embrace. For me, it’s a way of following Jesus that I couldn’t do before. Call it growing older, maturing, contemplating the experience as Mary did, meeting the newborn King as the magi did. For me, it welcomes the message of the Epiphany. Jesus came for all people, all creation.
    Where will it lead? I don’t know, but I’m open to the newness and the surprise. I am far more willing to live in the question now rather than insist I am secure by holding on to an answer. As I type this, the word parable keeps popping up. Questions, possibilities, hopes, dreams, challenges,… There’s more and I know that Jesus leads me to it because he himself is the Light.
    So there’s more to leave behind, my prejudice, my stubbornness, my insecurity, my doubts, my shame, my disbelief, my judgments, and my anger. Those are part of my darkness and a NEW LIGHT has come.

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