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May the light of faith guide you to eternal life!

We celebrate the Epiphany this weekend, which means “manifestation.”  It refers to the events around Christ’s birth that show how God is revealing his plan of salvation for the whole human race; not just the Jewish people.  The first reading prophecies that a ruler shall arise from the assembly of faith who will truly be like a great light in the heavens.  This ruler will establish true justice, peace, and he will govern with heavenly wisdom and be recognized by all nations and peoples as a gift from God.  St. Paul speaks of a stewardship of God’s grace that was given him by God in order that he may continue guiding all nations in the light of the Gospel: God’s love and mercy shown toward the human race in Jesus.

The Gospel story depicts Wise Men from the East.  They saw a light in the heavens that they had never seen before and they believed that this star signaled a very important and great king had been born.  The journey of the Magi speaks of the yearning in every human heart through history to find higher wisdom.  They represent all those who seek the truth in hope of healing, peace and salvation.  Herod, on the other hand, represents those who feel threatened by an authority and wisdom other than their own.  They only want to follow their own desires and plans.  This also pertains to the fallen part of human nature and the selfish inclination to advance only our own fulfillment in the world with little or no regard for God or others.  We are given an example of the forces at work within ourselves through the characters of the story.  We may seek the truth and be guided by God’s heavenly wisdom that leads to peace, justice and love or we can turn away, like Herod.  The conclusion of the story is that the Wise Men experienced Jesus in humble simplicity and were enriched by him in a profound, mystical way.  They went away in a new direction because they had been changed by experiencing his love.  Herod remained hardened and dark.  Let us pray that we too will seek God’s wisdom so that we will shine more brightly with the joy and peace found only in Jesus.  Let us ask Jesus to touch others with his light through us.  God bless you always! +++ Fr. Peter