Recognizing the Messiah in our Lives.
So how did you survive all the festivities of the past few weeks? It was great to be able to share so much quality time with loved ones and neighbors, but it will also be great to slow down and get our breath back.
This weekend’s feast, the Epiphany, marks the traditional end of Christmas. It used to always fall on the 6th of January which made it the ‘12th day of Christmas’ - hence the carol of the Twelve Day of Christmas. In recent years it has been transferred to the Sunday after the Sunday after Christmas (if you follow all those ‘afters’!)
We don’t know for sure whether there were in fact Three Wise Men (or kings as they are often called) who travelled from the East in search of the Infant King of the Jews who was to be the Savior of the world. But the Bible isn’t trying to teach us history or give us a newspaper account of what happened.St. Matthew, throughout his Gospel, goes out of his way to show us that Jesus of Nazareth is the fulfillment of the promises that God made to His people through the prophets. One of his favorite phrases is: “This happened to fulfill the words of the prophet …”
What Matthew wants to tell us through his story about the three wise men is that even the pagans recognize the birth of the Messiah, while those who should have known - the leaders of the Jewish people - didn’t. In fact they go out of their way to do their best to destroy him.
It’s all too easy for us to imagine that we are among those who recognize Jesus for Who He is - the Divine Son of God and that of course we wouldn’t have rejected Him. But we need to ask ourselves if that’s really true. It isn’t necessary to go around slaughtering two-year-old boys to reject God. We can do it by simply saying “O, don’t worry about it; everybody does it” or “I don’t want to get involved,” or ‘there’s nothing I can do about it.”
You can’t really imagine one of the kings saying “You guys go ahead. I’ll catch up with you….” and yet when the Holy Father asks us to exercise Mercy as God our Father does we react with conditions - ‘well, I’ll be merciful to those who deserve it but those others…..”
This is the time of the year for resolutions and beginning some self-improvement regimen. How about just looking at our Sunday worship? You must have noticed that we are very, very short of ministers at all our Masses. We need Eucharistic Ministers, Ushers, Greeters, Altar Servers, Sacristans, Choir Members and Lectors. And the only people who can help are you. Maybe you think you can’t sing - but surely you can volunteer to come ten minutes early and then greet people with a smile and say “welcome to St. Luke’s.” Maybe you don’t feel called to be a Minister of the Eucharist, but can’t you help take up the collection?
On this Feast of the Epiphany, as we celebrate the revelation of the Messiah to the nations, let’s show that we do indeed recognize His presence in our lives by reaching out to the Church, the place and the community where we find Him.