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The Feast Of The Epiphany: A Reflection by Fr. Isidore Clarke O.P.

The Feast Of The Epiphany: A Reflection by Fr. Isidore Clarke O.P.

Greetings from Fr. Isidore Clarke.Today we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany -God manifesting Himself in the person of the baby Jesus.

At Christmas we rejoiced that angels had called shepherds to come from the nearby hills to worship the new-born Jesus.Although they were uneducated, poor, despised Jews God chose to reveal Himself first to them; they were the first people to recognise and welcome Jesus as their Lord and God, their Saviour.

On today's feast of the Epiphany we celebrate God revealing Himself to another very different group of people- pagan wise men - who had travelled from a distant land.They were Magi -highly respected scholars renowned for their knowledge of the planets and stars.Building on that interest, God used a star to guide them from modern Iraq or Iran, to the babe at Bethlehem.

God moved them to follow that star, make a long journey into the unknown.When they reached the infant Jesus, God inspired them to make an enormous leap of faith.Seeing a normal baby, they believed that He was truly God.The wise students of the stars worshiped the Creator of Heaven and Earth!

When they returned home the Magi would have told their people what they had seen and heard.That would make them the first missionaries to the pagan world!This comes at the very beginning of Matthew's Gospel; at the very end the risen Lord commissioned the disciples to preach the Good News to the whole world.God became man out of an urgent desire that people of every race and class should share His life and happiness.No-one was to be excluded.Such is the wonderful Good News we celebrate on the feast of the Epiphany.

Like the Magi, we are called to make a journey of discovering Christ.God will lead each of us by different routes, depending on our backgrounds and interests…the Magi one way, shepherds another way!

Certainly, most of us have already set out on that journey towards learning to know and love Christ.Not one of us has yet completed that journey, nor will we, till we see God face to face in heaven.In the meantime, we, like the Magi, must follow whatever star God uses to guide us.

It's important to note that for the Magi to find the baby Jesus they required not only the guidance of a star, but also that of the Scriptures. These were provided by, of all people, Herod's religious advisers.Though human reason can teach us much about God, we need Divine Revelation to help us discover Christ and the wonder of the salvation He has planned for us.

At the manger, we see both Jews and pagans, rich and poor.They represent all of us.The Son of God shared our human life, lived among us and died for every one of us.Though each of us has a different starting point we share a common finishing point – Jesus. As He draws us to Himself He builds on what we already have; He comes to us where we are; He leads us to where we should be -with Him.

We're told that the Magi came with gifts.The gold represents Christ's kingship, the frankincense His priesthood and the myrrh His burial. These would find their fulfilment in Christ's Passion through which He would save both Jews and pagans, as represented at the manger.

In return for these gifts Jesus gave the Magi and the whole world an infinitely greater gift -His very self. Let us, with the shepherds and magi, welcome Christ's gift of Himself to each one of us.

In return, with the Magi and the shepherds, come, let us give ourselves in silent adoration and loving service of the babe in the manger, the Son of God Himself. Especially on the feast of the Epiphany let us rejoice that God has revealed Himself to the pagan world and wants all of us to be saved, no matter what our background.

A final thought. Each of us is called to be an epiphany –someone revealing what it means to love and follow Christ. Our lives -how we behave - may be the only way most people will get to know what it means to be a Christian.

I wish you a happy feast and a blessed New Year! God bless you.

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