Daily Reflection
January 2nd, 2000
Larry Gillick, S.J.
Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.
The Epiphany of the Lord
Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalms 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-13
Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6
Matthew 2:1-12

The good tends to defuse itself like light.  A light cannot shine only upon itself, but illumines objects around it.  Infinite light, infinite good is meant for all to see and receive.  Today is the feast of Jesus' being presented, not in the temple as last week, but to the "nations" or all the world.  It is the celebration of the dignity of Israel as God's chosen people  being shared with all of God's family.

Isaiah proclaims to Jerusalem that she has received the light which will enlighten all those who had walked in darkness.  Nations will come towards her seeking that radiance and in that, know who they are.  They will bring great wealth as offerings of thanksgiving and praise. 

The author of the second reading confidently announces that the mystery of God's plan has been made known and the Gentiles are co-heirs with the Jews and, "members of the same body and sharers of the promise through the preaching of the gospel."  The sacred secret and special relationship that God has had with the jewish people through the covenants is now extended to all who have received the secret through the life and preaching of Jesus.  He is the light Who enlightens all the nations.

The Three Kings make their appearance to highlight the epiphany or appearance of Jesus.  Matthew knows the ancient prophesy of Isaiah which we have heard in the first reading and so they come, guided by a star and offer gifts of great worth in recognition of their acknowledgement of His total dominion. 

It is the second day of the new year of the new century.  What surprises we have had in our lives and in the world these past one hundred years.  Humans flew and then flew faster than sound and then flew to the moon.  We heard recorded sound, then real voices on the radio, then real persons we could hear and see on tv.  It takes humility to be surprised and often, skepticism prevents enthusiasm for the revelation of the new.  Humility allows for the possible to become more than perhaps.

Does God surprise us?  The Three Kings make a journey, not of doubt, but of longing.  They humble themselves in adoration and acknowledgement that for all their wisdom, they had the sense that they did not have the answer, but only the hunger for the light of truth.

God does surprise us with the humbling truth that God knows our hearts.  We long for truth and the light to live by that truth.  God knows that if we would locate the truth as a body of facts, then we would become like God and that's what got us into trouble in the very first place.  We need the humility of the Kings to search for the Light and live by the Light, but not expect to possess the light in Its totality. 

The Kings left for home after leaving their gifts of humble awareness.  The people who walked in darkness have seen the Light and they continue their journey.  God's surprises continue in our lives as long as we keep searching.  Our humble gifts of longing, wondering and even doubting, we present at the stable entrance.  We have been given a glimpse here and a sight there, but the sacredness of our journey is so reverenced by God, that we are encouraged, like the Kings to return home, "by another route". 

Our "other route" is faith and the faith that does something.  We did not know much about the moon, so we traveled to find out.  In everything else we seek to know.  God opens up a huge area of truth in manifesting to the nations that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  We learned as much as we wanted to about the moon and haven't gone back.  We will never learn all we want to about God and that is why we keep coming back to the stable door, humbly admitting that we are blest searchers.  With the Epiphany God manifests the Light and God's wisdom; we manifest our limited knowledge and our search for the Light and pray to be faithful to the journey.

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