A Cycle – Feast of Epiphany 20
Mt. 2: 1 – 12
If you take the time to think about your faith, you must admit that life gets in the way of our desire to attain that comforting assurance we are in good standing with our God. When I say life, I mean the demands on us to pay bills, work demands, demands of spouses, children, grandchildren, siblings and parents. The daily routine of life to grocery shop, take care of the maintenance of home and vehicles, health issues, entertainment. These things and more cut into our available time making it very difficult to do anything to grow spiritually but show up on Sunday and perhaps do some ministry.
We know we should be doing more to grow spiritually, and we want to do more but every time we resolve to make time for spiritual growth, we find ourselves falling back into our established routine. It is not a bad routine, nor is it a routine that satisfies that longing in our hearts to connect with God.
Yes, we have a longing, even if we do not acknowledge it, we are all seeking something to satisfy that longing and typically we seek it outside of religion. God designed us to yearn for a connection with our creator, But we Instead of seeking to encounter the creator, we an understanding about our creator. The story of the magi is a good example of how we look at externals and in doing so we miss the path that leads us to the joys of experiencing God’s love and forgiveness.
If you take the time to read the scriptures, you will find no mention of how many magi were traveling from afar and the old testament reference (Is.60: 6) refers to gold and frankincense only. Yet we focus on three and name them when there are no names in the scriptures. We focus on the meaning of the three gifts and the long journey of the magi. We focus on their encounter with Herod.
We find ourselves spending our time in the minutia instead of the very thing they point to – Jesus Christ. What we need to reflect on is the glaring fact these magi were immersed in the scriptures and they believed the promises they held. The scriptures pointed the way to the Messiah and the magi acted on the great sign God said would lead them to encounter the One who would restore the kingdom of God and redeem us. It was their belief in the promises of God that motivated them to set out on a journey.
They had their epiphany and it motivated them to stand before Jesus Christ. That night they were not caught up in angles singing, the squalor of the manger, the lack of response by the people gathered in the town for the census, or the simple shepherds motivated by the announcement. These magi had to see the object of their faith and were not put off by the trials and tribulations of Herod, the journey, or the people surrounding them. They had to see for themselves, the shepherds had to see for themselves.
What are we looking for today as we celebrate the Feast of Epiphany? Is a good liturgy enough? Is good music and a good homily enough? Is the fact the kids behave enough? Or like so many is it important that the mass is only 45 minutes.
God has made it clear He desires our hearts.
The real issue for us on this day we call Epiphany, is how do we respond to what God desires of us. Our faith is not about following the rules, the laws, the ritual. Those are things we can do blindly but following God takes more than blind faith. No, it is about following God’s will for us.
We in truth do not know how to give God our hearts, so we give him a portion of our time but not the focus of our life’s quest for the more we know exists. This feast should make us question if our response to Jesus is to seek Him as the magi did or to seek Him in the same manner as Herod did. Yes, you are right, Herod did not truly want to give Jesus homage so how can we compare what we seek to Herod. I think it is a proper comparison because we are satisfied without seeking an encounter with Christ instead we avoid any personal encounter by seeking to “understand” things about Christ.
An epiphany is needed by all of us. We need to seek that living water Christ offered us, the one thing that will satisfy our thirst for more. To begin this quest we must be willing to stand before Christ as the magi did, as the woman at the well did, as the woman caught in adultery did, as Peter did on the shore of Galilee and allow him to ask us the same questions He asked each of them. If you do not know that question, then go pick up a bible and read each encounter.
If you take the time to read the scriptures the question is clear, do we dare receive what he offers us, or do we keep trying to find a way to Him by some other path.
There is only one path to the Father’s heart and that is through Jesus Christ. The infant we see today is the Savior who hung on the cross for our sins. He is the way, the truth and the life. All else we do is giving us an opportunity to acknowledge Him as Lord.