January 8, 2012
Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
Listen to the podcast version here.
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in
the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east
arrived in Jerusalem, saying, "Where is the newborn king of
the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and
have come to do him homage." When King Herod heard
this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the
people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to
be born. They said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea,
for thus it has been written through the prophet: ´And
you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least
among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come
a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.´" Then
Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the
time of the star´s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem
and said, "Go and search diligently for the child. When
you have found him, bring me word, that I too
may go and do him homage." After their audience with
the king they set out. And behold, the star that
they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it
came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering
the house they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened
their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and
myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to
return to Herod, they departed for their country by another
Introductory Prayer: Lord, thank you for your perfect
gift of yourself: coming as a humble child born of
Mary. The thought of you as a helpless little babe
lying in a manger fills my heart with confidence. I
know that you could never be capable of deceiving me,
since you have divested yourself of all greatness so that
I can gaze upon you. You deserve all my hope
and all my love, which I humbly offer you now.
Petition: Lord, I ask you for a heart truly
receptive to your message.
1. We Saw His Star:
Those who are sincere of heart find God in their
life. In the case of the Magi, their sincerity is
shown by what they are willing to sacrifice to attain
their goal. The journey required abandoning the comforts of their
homeland, the needs of their family members, and the pursuit
of wealth. The intention was pure, not muddled with self-centered
wants, for it was nothing less than the desire to
encounter God’s living presence. Their openness of heart permitted God
to speak through many things in their world—from astrology to
Herod, from the star to the child in the crib.
What will it take for me to find God today?
I must put aside all but him and let his
hand lead me to that definitive encounter with his divine
2. Warned Not to Return to Herod:
No star is offered to Herod or to the worldly,
only darkness. The worldly may like the idea of God,
and even be curious about him, but they disregard his
call. They rarely leave their palace, sacrifice their time, or
place themselves at the service of the divine. The prideful
lovers of comfort leave their palaces and then oddly claim
God is nowhere to be found in the world. They
fear the loss of a comfortable world. I pray that
my heart be open to all that the living Gospel
requires in my life. May Christ find no obstacle in
me; rather, may he find in me the will to
leave my palace so that I might find and follow
3. Then They Opened Their Treasures: In
order to give love, I must have been impacted by
love. How can I hold to the demands that others
place upon me? How can I keep true to my
vocation and mission when little affirmation and support come my
way? Every morning I need to seek out the God
who gives unconditionally so that his giving may impact me.
Be it at Mass, in prayer, or in the workings
of divine providence, every day a necessary epiphany awaits me.
It empowers me to open my coffer and bring forth
the gift of self. If I do not experience this
love, my life remains closed—no interior strength is found to
give myself totally. John tells us: “In this is love,
not that we love God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son to be an atoning sacrifice for
our sins. Brothers, if God so loved us, we too
ought to love each other…. We love because he first
loved us” (1 John 4:8, 20).
Christ: Christ, your love for me compels me to give
myself and hold nothing back. I have touched a moment
in human history that overwhelms my comprehension and conquers my
heart for you. May I give myself as you give
yourself to me: at Mass, in prayer, and in souls
you call me to serve.
Resolution: I will work
to improve my charity with the members of my family
today, loving them as Christ does.