The Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord
"Where is the newborn king of the Jews?" (Mt 2:1-12) As we reflect on the Epiphany of the Lord, let me remind you that Epiphany means a moment in which you suddenly see or understand something new. Some people see Epiphany as a divine appearance of the Holy Spirit manifested in one's life. Upon further reflection on our gospel reading, I was stunned by the words, "Where is the newborn King of the Jews?" After all, we had a glorious liturgical celebration last week for the birth of Christ. We also celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Holy Family incorporated into our liturgy. And yet, the inspiring words from our gospel texts challenged me. I had to flip the question to engage in this gospel passage. For me, the question became a personal reflection, "Where is the newborn king of the Jews in my life?" In other words, after praying with all the Advent prayer groups, singing psalms, and spiritual hymns, I started contemplating on whether the newborn King of the Jew manifested His holy presence in my life? Did I have an ah-ha! moment, or an illuminating discovery of Christ born new in my life? What was spiritually different this year compared to 2020? The Pandemic is still here. Did I encounter the Star of David inwardly? Did I miss my Epiphany? Was something distinct last week because God manifested His glorious presence in my life in a more profound life-changing way? Or did I return to life as usual? You know what I am talking about; we opened gifts, shared cheers, and thanked God because we made it through another Christmas, hopefully not broke. Some call this spiritual boredom or just spiritual burn-out. I just went through the motions in my worship. Fortunately for me, these words spoken by the prophet Isaiah from our first reading directed me to see Christ manifested in my life in a new way. The prophet Isaiah said the following, "Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come; the glory of the Lord shines upon you" (Is. 60:1-2). When switching the pronoun Jerusalem and personalizing the text, I experienced an ah-ha! moment. I am to rise in splendor, my light, the newborn King of the Jews, the glory of the Lord is shining on me. Hallelujah! It gets better. The prophet said darkness would cover the earth, and thick clouds would cover the people. But here is the actual truth. We must raise our eyes and look about and see sons and daughters coming Christ-like, the newborn King of the Jews, in the midst of darkness. Jesus already told us, "In the world, you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world" (Jn. 16:33). The prophet tells us clearly that we shall be radiant. When we open our eyes and see Jesus in each other, this will make our hearts throb and overflow with joy. Therefore, like, astrologers and prophets of old, we need to raise our eyes and look about. God fulfilled the promise made; the promised King of the Jews manifested his light amid our darkness. It does not matter how big your light might be. Any light is strong enough to cast out the darkness in our lives and our friends' lives with Christ living in us. "Where is the newborn king of the Jews?" He is living in me.
Manifest Him – Way-maker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper, Light in the darkness. My God that is who You are! Author: Evangelist Michael P. Howard, MACS