Sunday, January 8, 2012
Today at our church we celebrated Epiphany. I remember hearing that word the first time when I was in the 12th grade. It had no religious connotations to me at all, it simply meant something to the effect of 'a eureka moment.' That moment when you went 'Ah hah!' because you had figured out something you had long been contemplating. It was the name of a poetry magazine/booklet that many of us were very happy to have our words printed in. I don't even remember what I wrote about, just that the word Epiphany was etched on the front.
As a protestant growing up we didn't celebrate these seasons. We only celebrated Christmas and Easter. Christmas was a day, Easter was a day. After the 25th the tree came down, thoughts returned to every day life. It was over till Easter. The Catholic faith has a much different view of life. Christmas is a season! We celebrate not just his birth and death, but his baptism, the assumption, the annunciation of his birth, etc. We celebrate everything about Christ, even when we are in ordinary time. We attempt to make our lives about Christ and reflecting Christ.
So today we discussed Epiphany. Epiphany is the celebration of the wise men journeying/arriving to see the young Jesus. We are reminded that they saw a star in the Heaven's, a mysterious light that led them to the King of the Jews. They came to give him gifts and pay him homage. We don't think about the word homage much. It means something to the effect a public declaration of their allegiance, to show him respect. Isn't it interesting that three magi, three gentiles were one of the first people to come and declare their allegiance to Christ? To bring him gifts?
Epiphany has many deep theological levels, but the one that sticks out the most is that they saw his light, or something that pointed to him, and they kept searching till they found him. Today on this epiphany I am reminded of something my priest said one day, about how that Jesus Christ is inside each of person, even if they aren't aware of it yet. You see we are made in the image of God, and if we look hard enough, we will see his reflection hidden somewhere deep under someones flesh. Jesus reminds us of that when he tells us everything you do for the least of these, you have done for me; and likewise everything you do not do for the least of these, you have not done for me.
Epiphany reminds me to look for that light. That even in the face of someone I cannot stand, I should be looking for their light. That even my enemy deserves the basic dignity of human life, because he is made in the image of my creator. That Jesus is in the world in very special ways, and I should be looking for him. Searching for him every single day. Until I arrive at his feet, bringing what meager gifts I can muster up, to pay him homage.
Help me Lord to find you both in prayer, in my heart, and in the faces of the broken and bruised of this world. Help me to see your face and to remember that I when I am looking into the eyes of a brokenhearted, angry, or sad individual that I am looking not only at them, but through them to the reflection of you inside. Help me to go out of my way to help them find that image in them, that they too will be led to go out searching for you. Until searching for you becomes our very existence. I pray for a world where everyone searches for you so fully, that to find you in our world we only have to turn and look to the very next person we see.