Today we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord Jesus Christ

“O Lord, we pray, speak in this place, in the calming of our minds, the longing of our hearts, by the words of my lips and in the thoughts we form. Speak, O Lord, for your servants are listening. Amen!”

Today we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord Jesus Christ… By
definition an epiphany means: A sudden intuitive leap of understanding,
especially through an ordinary but remarkable occurrence.

The world has received an Epiphany, a sudden revelation, an awareness
Has come to humankind that the Lord has been born to us, God is with
us. God appears in the world, enfleshed in the human person of Jesus
Christ, The Son of God, The Almighty Himself breaks into the
everyday life of the Jewish People, to begin the journey to his destiny
and to our salvation.
 
St Matthew in today’s Gospel passage makes it very clear God is among
us. It is this that we celebrate. For God has stepped into our reality,
our history in the person of Jesus Christ. The Gospel tells us that
Three Kings search for the infant Jesus. They believed a new star
signaled the birth of a new king. By the Magi coming, the Gospel is
telling us, even the Gentiles recognized something incredibly different
had happened.

These far away travelers bring the baby Jesus Gifts. Gold is offered,
Gold for the One who gives the kingdom to the poor in spirit. A gift of
frankincense, an expensive perfume for the one who tells us the meek
shall inherit the earth. And as an omen of the cruel death Jesus would
suffer, the Magi present myrrh, the traditional herb for the burial of
the dead given to the one who conquers death. Christ is born. Jesus
the Messiah has been born for us, as the prophet Isaiah predicted, the
Epiphany is here. Matthew implores us: Do not miss the light of God
shining in this world.

But the Magi came a long time ago. The Christmas season is coming to
an end. In our world, in our country, in our cities, in too many of our
communities poverty continues its deadly walk…for too many here in
America poverty is a familiar companion. The twin demons of
hopelessness and drugs roam our streets with arrogance. Wars and
famine pock-mark the world landscape. It is now that we must ask: how
does God manifest himself today? In the face of the pain and anguish
that affect so many…so many suffer, so many struggle with grave
illnesses, it is not unreasonable to ask God for another Epiphany…We
need something… It is not unreasonable to ask, but it would be wrong.
Because the answer we need lies in a great spiritual truth:  
“The God we cannot see shines through in the
love of those we can see.”
You see, we, you and I are to be today’s epiphany in a world that
desperately needs it. You and I are to make God present and visible to
the people who need it so desperately, if we first find the love and
mercy of God within ourselves. It is when we accept that the very first
place to see God made manifest, is in ourselves, that we experience a
revelation, an Epiphany, a sudden and remarkable realization of God’s
undeniable love and mercy for us all. When we are willing to reach out
and risk rejection or are rebuffed, or when we stretch our hands out in
friendship and forgiveness and it is refused and we don’t stop trying,
don’t stop loving one another…God is present.

When we are willing to embrace this God-given love, we then are freed
to see the love and mercy God has for all of His children. For all of us
are made in the image of God. And to that end he has given each of us,
every single one of us something special that is His gift to the
community. This gift whatever it maybe, is to be used to build up His
kingdom.

God gives each of us talents, puts interests within us, guides us in our
experiences. Even in difficult times as a community of believers we can
come together so that all of the members of God’s family are
comforted.
 
That explains the manner in which we are to live. Because we are all of
the same body, that of Christ, we are to love completely one another.
 Loving one another with a love that is strong, a love that is generous, a
love that is not selfish. I believe that we are called to be an Epiphany
of Christ to everyone, not only those who we know and love, but to
those we don’t know and have yet to love.

A few Christmases ago when I was still at ST. Michael’s Church in

Hartford we were devastated to discover a break in…it happened right
after Christmas. I tell you about this because the church community

responded in an incredible way

In the spirit of Christmas… the spirit of the Epiphany …the spirit of

the mercy, they not only prayed for those that broke into the

church…But also prayed for their own forgiveness, because

despite all the work that St. Michael’s does in the community, despite

the clothes given away…despite the groceries that are given weekly,

despite the soup and gifts and help given …someone did not know that

all they needed to do to get what they needed was to ask… So the

people at St. Michael’s church stayed after that Mass of the Epiphany

and prayed for forgiveness and reconciliation so that they might do a

better job of letting all the people in the community know they are

children of God. All of us are … This poem by Rev Howard Thurman was

the center of their prayer…

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and the princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among the children of God,
To make music in the heart.

May this New Year…bring you your own epiphany…