Epiphany Is Recognizing the Lord Revealed

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The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe, 08 January 2017
Isaiah 60:1-6//Ephesians 3:2-3,5-6//Matthew 2:1-12

Last Christmas – no need to sing – I have offered you for reflection that Christmas is more of being “out” than being “in.” Here is a part of what I have told Jesus during my prayer period before Christmas: “How ironic when we rejoice on Your birthday, we unconsciously leave You behind… Inasmuch as we try so hard to be “in”, the more we actually push You “out”! The more we celebrate, the more we think of our very selves, the more we forget You among the little ones. We are so concerned with everything new and beautiful when You did come for what is old and worned out like the sinful, the outcasts, the marginalized… Christmas is not about being “in” but being “out” with You when we think less of ourselves and think more of Your love and mercy that we search for You outside our comfort zones. Christmas is making that decision to get out from our inside to meet You outside.”

That is still the meaning of our celebration today, the Epiphany or Manifestation of the Lord to the Nations of the world represented by the magi. We are still in the Christmas season due to come to a close tomorrow when we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord and return to the Ordinary Time. For us to find the Lord who manifests Himself in so many ways daily, we need to get out of ourselves like the magi and avoid being locked inside and held captive by our fears like King Herod and the people of Jerusalem.

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. (Mt.2:1-3)

If somebody today would come inquiring where is the newborn king or lord and master of Christians, how would we feel? Would we feel “greatly troubled” like King Herod and the rest of Jerusalem? Don’t you find it very odd that when the magi asked about the whereabouts of the newborn king of the Jews, Herod and the people were troubled instead of at least checking on their statements like looking up to see the star or ask for clarification about what king were they talking about? Instead of being troubled, perhaps the strongest feeling one could have would be perplexed or baffled, with the familiar reactions of “what?” or “duh…” or “huh” or as we would always say, “ha, ano daw iyon?”

This is what I have been saying since last Christmas: instead of going out to check on the inquiry by the magi, to look up on the sky to see for themselves about the star, Herod and the people of Jerusalem went inside themselves and got locked-in in their positions! They were troubled because they felt the status quo would be disturbed that could throw them off their comfort zones. And the biggest irony is that they who have the answers in the scriptures remained locked inside their own selfish worlds, refusing to get out and meet the newborn king! How often does it happen with us especially in our parish, in our Church, in our families that we are so stuck into our old beliefs even traditions that we refuse to go out and meet Jesus Christ Who have come into the world more than 2000 years ago to set us free from all forms of slavery caused by sins. Herod and the rest of Jerusalem were troubled precisely because they were not interested with Jesus Christ. And let us not be complacent that it could only happen 2000 years ago; it continues to happen to this day in many instances in our lives, in our families, and in our parishes and the Church when we no longer search for Christ, pursuing so many other things for personal fame and glory.

Epiphany in Greek means manifestation, appearance and revelation. On Christmas day, we celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ while Epiphany today is telling us the identity and mission of the Lord, that is, He is the Son of God, the Messiah or “Anointed One” (Christos in Greek) who had come to set all people free from sins! He fulfills the longings of the people since the Old Testament time as heralded by Isaiah’s prophecy in the first reading which St. Paul beautifully explains in the second reading in his concept of “the mystery made known by God to him.” Mystery in this sense is not something hidden but revealed so that in Christ Jesus, the mystery of God, His plan for us is revealed or made known for everyone not only the Jews but for all peoples of the world represented by the magi. Today’s celebration of the Epiphany is reminding us how Jesus Christ had come to manifest Himself to us more than 2000 years ago and continues to reveal Himself to us today in our daily lives to lead us back to the Father. Are we willing to be like the magi who dared to leave everything behind, unmindful of the long and perilous journey to make in order to meet Jesus Christ? In meeting the Lord like the magi, are we willing to give up everything we have especially the most precious ones and offer these to Him? Most of all, upon finding God, are we willing to go back home by “another way” like the magi as instructed in a dream never to return to Herod? The Lord continues to manifest Himself to us in so many ways every day, often in the simplest occasions and things. May we have the courage to meet Jesus Christ so that we may see the light and beauty of this New Year He has for us. Before embarking on any search or journey this New Year, let us begin first with the Lord Who manifests Himself to us always. After all, He is also our very end. Next week, from January 16-20, the Fourth World Apostolic Congress on Mercy will be held in Manila, Batangas, Bulacan, and Bataan. Go out and meet Jesus Christ in the catechesis and sharings at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion on January 17, then on Wednesday, go to confession the whole day in any of the 200 priests at the National Shrine of San Padre Pio in Sto. Tomas, Batangas. Likewise on the fourth day in Bulacan, try to visit any of the 15 Houses of Mercy to experience how the Diocese of Malolos works in silence to care for orphans, street children, abused children, the aged, drug dependents, the mentally ill, and indigenous peoples. Last day would be in Bataan for reflections in encountering God in nature. As Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos said, “WACOM4 is both a grace and a gift for us Filipinos.” A grace to host this event to deepen our awareness of the manifestation of God in mercy and a gift we need to share to the rest of the world.

“Lord Jesus Christ, give us the courage to leave our baggages of 2016: the pains and hurts, the sins, the failures and disappointments so that we may meet You this New Year 2017. Teach us to give up our worldly treasures so that we could truly know You, love You, and follow You in Your many epiphanies of love and kindness, mercy and forgiveness through the people we meet. Amen.”
Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Parokya ni San Juan Apostol at Ebanghelista
Gov. Halili Ave., Bagbaguin, Sta. Maria, Bulacan

Veritas Editorial

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

President of Radio Veritas

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