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Sunday, 7 January 2018

Epiphany of the Lord 2018 A Reflection

Epiphany of the Lord 2018 A Reflection

This week is our transition Sunday, from here we move into Ordinary time. The White vestments from Christmas are out away. We return to green vestments tomorrow. But today we celebrate Jesus’s first public appearance; the Wise men visit.

First Reading Isaiah 60:1-6
Responsorial Psalm 72 1-2, 7-13 Response 11b
Second Reading Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6
Gospel Matthew 2:1-12

In having read over this week’s readings a few times now, there are number of different things that stick out to me. In the first reading it is the outpouring of blessings. And each seems more lavish than the last. But in our day and age we see that as spiritual blessings. I do not see it as literal financial windfall. I do not believe in the health and wealth gospel that some preach. But I do believe that God does bless us abundantly.

In the second reading we have the good news. The message of the messiah has begun to spread to the gentiles. We have been adopted into the family of God. We are now heirs and members of Christ’s one body. This short passage from Paul has 4 themes, or a fourfold focus. They are commission, grace, mystery and revelation. And the four working together nurture and support our faith. The revelation of Christ is the message that is preached, it is the good news that all the others are based upon. Taking that message and bearing witness to it is the next part, that is the commission. That call is both personal and corporate. We each witness every day by our lives, by what we do, and what we choose not to do, by what we say and what we choose not to say. But also as a community, as a parish, a diocese, as a conference and as the universal Catholic Church. But we can only be effective in that mission by living in grace, and living the mystery of the Catholic faith.

In the gospel reading we have the sense of homage, and I have been thinking about how I honour Father, spirit and Son in my own life. Do I seek ways to grow in my faith? To be of witness? Do I love joy? If I am honest I would say it is a struggle. I pray daily to live more joy. And yet I still have a long way to go. I cannot say I am ‘overwhelmed with joy’ but I want to be. So like elsewhere in the new testament I pray ‘Lord help me believe’. And our gospel passage ends with the gifts offered to God. The gold and frankincense mirror those from our first reading. But the myrrh is something new. From these gifts I wonder what to I offer God. Do I offer him my best, my treasures? Or does he get what is left when I am done with the rest of my day? 

And finally, the wise men were warned in a dream and returned home a different way. I wonder am I listening to God. Do I let him lead me? If he were to speak to me directly would I recognize his voice?  And that is my prayer for you my readers, and myself as well, that you learn to listen to the call of God and follow it. For in all truth nothing else really matters.


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