EPIPHANY. Some words used in religious settings tend to be strange and mysterious. Epiphany is one such word, taken from Greek, it means manifestation, revelation, a sudden intuitive perception or insight, a “Now I understand.” But it need not only be religious and it can also be any moment of great or sudden revelation, that could maybe be life-changing.
Life is a journey. Our family theme for January focuses on Beginnings, of families – when does a family start, at marriage or when there are 2 people? In families- maybe a change or a new start, the birth of a new child, maybe beginning a widowed, divorced life, or leaving home or career change. A new understanding about families, is recognizing the family as a little church, a home for God too calling a family to accountability, or a new understanding about all of creation made up of families, reproducing and starting new families and so continuing God’s plan of creation. Could that be an epiphany, sometimes also seen as a “conversion experience?” And calling for deeper commitment or accountability.
The feast of the Epiphany in the Church refers to the journey of the Magi, of wise men who came from afar to search for a new ruler who would bring the radiant light of God’s glory into the darkness that covered the earth. The time of Isaiah, and many other occasions throughout history, have been times of such figurative darkness,
Pope Francis preached on the feast not about the gifts the wise men brought but about the journey of the Magi, the three wise men. We don’t know much about them from the gospel only that they were strangers, from far away, following a star – (could it have been real or figurative) – searching and looking for something, for someone new.
The Holy Father said, “Faith is a journey inspired by restless questioning, fraught with risk, powered by perseverance in prayer and charity, and culminating in the awe, wonder and worship of the Lord. Let us worship God, not ourselves; let us worship God and not the false idols that seduce by the allure of prestige and power, with the fascination of fake news. Let us love God and not bow down before passing things and evil thoughts, seductive yet hollow and empty,”
Life is a journey? Have you or I had any great epiphanies recently? Discovered a life-calling, or clarity in making an important decision, or maybe the answer to a problem, a What, Why or How? A recent News 24 report outlines how “Climate quitters” have decided to give up their regular jobs for more climate-friendly work. Also much in the news has been the death of Pope emeritus Benedict and his very difficult decision in 2013 to resign. A new beginning may be difficult. We may have to struggle to see the way clearly, but after an epiphany, just maybe, it is OK to say, “Enjoy the ride.”
The wise men who came to a stable in Bethlehem brought only gifts. But their presence revealed a new king and a different kingdom. It roused king Herod’s burning jealousy and many innocent children were reportedly murdered. Infants are still murdered for selfish reasons. More babies have died through abortion than in all the wars in human history. Who has the answers? How will Jesus be revealed in 2004? (2023?)
Over the years I have written many short Epiphany reflections for families. This short story dates from 2003 when the theme for the year was “Where have all the children gone?”
The wise men had traveled far. They had come from the west, all the way from the US, across oceans and deserts they had come in their warships and tanks, their troop carriers and fighter planes. An anomaly. In the cause of peace they had come to fight a war, a war against terrorism, against fanaticism. (Iraq) From the east other wise men had come bringing a message of non-violence, of quiet meditation and disciplined action. From the north had come wise men preaching prosperity as the answer to poverty and misery, while from the south cries of misery and demands for rights and for justice and an end to wars resounded. Who has the answers in this modern era?
Will it be in the churches, the temples, mosques and synagogues. Will it be in the democratic courts of justice or humbly in a home, a shack, a flat, any house that love has turned into a home? Has he, will Jesus be revealed in your home? TR FAMILY WEEKLY NEWSLETTER 11 JANUARY 2023