Homily – January 3, 2016

This feast of the Epiphany is the feast of the curious, the seeker. We see the Wise Men travelling from a far country seeking the new born king of the Jewish wanting to pay him homage. We the curious and threatened King Herod seeking this king too but not to do him homage but to do him harm.

There was a home in the area and its only Christmas decoration was a siloete in their picture widow of the Wise Men and the star and the caption – the wise still seek him. The wise still want to know more and more about Jesus. Jesus born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth, died in Jerusalem. The wise want to come to know the deepest meaning of his parables. The wise want to see the power for good that Jesus had with the men and women of his time.

The wise want to share in the deep compassion Jesus had for those who came to him for help, for understanding and for healing. The wise still want to have the courage to live out the full challenge of his new commandment, ’love one another as I have loved you’. The wise seek to dig deeper into the awesome wonder of his words,’ take eat, this is my body, take drink this is my blood, do this in remembrance of me. The wise seek to mesh into the living of their own lives the reality of this truth, God loved the world, God loved me, so much that God sent his son into the world and the Son loved me so much he gave his life for me.

Are we among the wise that still seek him, find him and have him transform our lives as he did those Wise Men from the East? Are we among the wise who seek to understand the meaning of this feast?

The great meaning of Epiphany is expressed in our second reading from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, ‘The Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

The Jewish people were and still the people of God. They treasured and protected their privileged place in God’s eyes. They never forgot the ancient promise spoken so many times in their scriptures ‘I will be you God and you will be my people.

Today we are asked to see beyond that promise and be happy that we and all peoples have become fellow heirs and members and sharers in the promises of Christ, in and through the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus.

St. Peter put another after his encounter with gentile centurion, ‘The thing I have come to realize is this, and that any person of any nationality who does what is right is acceptable to God’

Are we wise enough to live this truth of Epiphany and love and accept and respect men and women of different faiths and no faith, men and women of different social and racial and cultural backgrounds, men and women of different life styles? This can be a constant challenge to each of us every day of life.

May our prayer for each other today be that we all be wise enough to seek a deeper understanding of Jesus Christ and what he taught and what he did? May each of us see him more clearly, follow him more nearly, and love him more dearly.