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Meditation on Epiphany

BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.

Be in your prayer space, follow the usual steps and settle into silence.

Sit still…..Relax…….Do not rush………

Take a couple of gentle, slow and deep breaths…becoming aware of your breath going in and out… stay focused on this breath of life……

Now from the depth of your heart begin to wish your mind well……….

Take a moment. Bless your day. Let your day Bless you……Take another moment. Bless your world. Let your world bless you……

This meditation focuses on light…….light has come, star has appeared, and God has revealed himself in Jesus…..let us contemplate the divine presence in light……

The Gospel according to Mathew (Mathew 2:1-12) describes the visit of the magi from the East, who traveled to Judah and to Bethlehem, in search of the newborn king of the Jews, whose star they had followed since it’s rising. With this coming of the magi from the east, who were gentile astrologers, the good news of salvation has been revealed to all nations, as prophesied by Isaiah (Isaiah 60:1-6). This is an affirmation and a revelation of God’s concern and love for people as cosmic and not limited to a few chosen people. The feast of Epiphany reminds us of the universality of redemption and salvation. Celebration of Epiphany challenges us to emulate that same universal spirit in all our dealings and relationships with one another.

The Israelites lived in spiritual, social and political darkness for a period of forty years in exile in Babylon. The period of exile was coming to a close and the darkness was going to be dispelled by the radiant light of God’s glory and forgiveness. So the prophet called his people, “Rise up……..your light has come” (Isaiah 60:1-6). Israel was going to return to their own home land……the light of God’s glory would shine……..the exiles would be forgiven, reconciled with God and restored to their own land. As they continue their journey home, they will become light to other nations.

The prophet envisioned residents of Midian, Ephah and Sheba walking by the light of God’s glory that was manifested in the people of God. Israel’s light would also illumine the way for the nations, allowing all the Gentiles to see and travel toward God. On their journey home, the exiles would indeed be traveling epiphanies, through whom others would learn of God’s goodness.

Just as the remnant Israel returning from exile became a “light”, an “epiphany” for other nations, the church must become a “light”, an “epiphany” and the church will never be unless each of us becomes signs of God’s goodness, life, light and love in the world.

Mathew tells us, “suddenly, the star they had seen rising went forward and halted over the place where the child was. The sight of the star filled them with delight” (Mt. 2:9-10).

How awesome it is to stand outside and behold a star-studded night….they stir up a sense of mystery. Artists paint them, poets write and sing about them, the rest of us just wonder and are amazed!

A star marks our path with light and guides us to deeper insights. With deeper insights come new responsibilities and challenges. It is not always easy to follow the star. The star sometimes takes us to places where we would rather not go.

Three wise persons followed the star they saw rising. The star brought them to a baby in a manger in a small insignificant town of Bethlehem. It was the last place on earth one would expect to find the creator of the stars….yet that is where the star shined and we called it Epiphany!

Epiphany is a manifestation of the divine presence in the midst of daily life. We are called to follow the star even when the star seems beyond our reach.

Pope John Paul II saw a star that took him to a prison to forgive the man who did him violence…..it was the star of compassion and forgiveness and love and grace…..

Dorothy Day saw a star that took her to minister to the poor. Martin Luther King saw a star and he followed it to death. Oscar Romero saw a star that urged him speak out against injustice, he spoke and he died….the star still shies for us to see.

The star shines on you wherever you go….you only have to look and see and follow.

They are stars of hope; stars of compassion and mercy; stars of justice and peace; stars of tenderness and love; stars of …….. (You name it and follow it).

We are children of the light. We are friends of the day. Do not continue to sleep like those who have no vision. (I Thess. 5:5-6, paraphrased)

I have come into the world as its light. The light shines on in the darkness and the darkness has no power to overcome it. (John 1, paraphrased)

When Jesus was 40 days old, Mary and Joseph brought him to the temple in Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, according to their tradition, to fulfill what the law had prescribed (Luke 2:22-40). Anna and Simeon, two elderly people of great holiness, recognized Jesus. They were filled with joy. Simeon took Jesus in his arms and sang a beautiful prayer song.

Simeon called Jesus “a light to the nations”. We take time to contemplate Jesus, our light. And Jesus calls us to “be the light of the world”.

Reflect on this call…on the blessing and grace of being in the light of Jesus and on the responsibility that comes with being called to be light to the world.

The light shines on in darkness, a darkness that did not overcome it (John 1:5).

Just as Jesus was a light to other nations, the light that revealed justice and peace through Israel, today the world must experience justice and peace of God through us and our church and our church institutions……..

The Psalmist says “Your word, O Lord, is a lamp to my feet, a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105)…not a flood light that lights up the whole area…not a flash light that lights up what is ahead…but a LAMP TO MY FEET, every step of the way…

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Men do not light a lamp and the put it under a bushel basket. They set it on a stand where it gives light to all in the house. In the same way your light must shine before men so that they may see goodness in your acts and give praise to your heavenly Father (Mathew 5:14-16)

Light makes things visible……

Light gives us warmth……

Light is has the power to heal.……

Light brings us comfort……

Light makes us feel safe……

Reflect on what it means for you to be light for others…….

Each of us must become a witness to the mystery of God’s presence in the world: God’s Light, Justice, Truth, Life, Love…..

Lord, You are the light in which I see all truth,

even the truth that is hard to see,

truth about myself, my character, my strengths, my weaknesses,

truth about the world and all that is in it.

Lord, help me to walk in your light and be your light for others.

 

Fr. Gus Tharappel,msfs