The Epiphany of the Lord
"They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother" (Mt. 2:1-12).
Stevie Wonder, master balladeer extraordinaire, wrote a song titled, "Overjoyed." This musical selection resonated with me for hours after reading today's Gospel as we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord. Captured in this song is Wonder's ecstasy of a dream come true. He imagines the best love ever by describing in the song that once his significant other comes to know him, she will be overjoyed, over love for him.
Unfortunately, the pandemic shattered many hopes and dreams for our world in 2020. Finding joy was difficult as many of our gatherings were either virtual or canceled. Many of us expected joyful graduations, and yet we were regulated to virtual celebrations, missing the jubilation of the traditional cap tossing in the air. Birthday celebrations turned into drive-by balloons and horns honking, but absent of the hugs, kisses, and hand slaps. This pandemic robbed us from fellowshipping with one another face to face. Stay vacations seemed like the safest activity that families could participate in since recreational parks closed, along with so many travel restrictions. Matters did not get better, primarily when family members and friends learned they could not ritualize their loved ones with final good-byes. Being overjoyed was quite challenging in 2020 and perhaps more arduous as we look at this New Year, 2021.
However, in today's Gospel, the "good news" is that the brothers from the East had a difficult journey similar to our year 2020. They experienced loss and wonderment while searching for the unknown. God only knows what challenges they encountered traveling rough terrain in sandals. And when they finally arrived before the king, they experienced political trickery from a monarch who put out fake news, saying that he wanted to worship the baby Jesus.
These brothers are our witnesses that we are blessed when following the star. They were overjoyed while seeing the manifestation of the baby Jesus. A dream became a reality. "Then you shall see and be radiant, your heart shall throb and overflow. For the riches of the sea shall be poured out before you, the wealth of nations shall come to you. Caravans of camels shall cover you, dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; All from Sheba shall come bearing gold and frankincense, and heralding the praises of the LORD" (Is. 60:5-6). God fulfilled his promise of a Savior who will be radiant and make our hearts throb and overflow with joy. For this reason, the wise men were overjoyed. God kept his promise from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah.
You, too, should be overjoyed after all you have been through in 2020. If it had not been for the Lord on our side, where would we be? Yes, Jesus manifested himself in 2020 and will do it again in 2021. I am overjoyed, over love for Him. I want to give the baby Jesus my talents, treasures, and time. Are you overjoyed over love for Jesus? Give Him your talents, treasures, and time. God will keep his promise to bring your a new year filled with blessings.
"I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage (be of good cheer), I have conquered the world." (Jn 16:33)
Author: Evangelist Michael P. Howard, MACS