A secret is not a real mystery, because secrets are usually shared, eventually. Mysteries cannot be displayed or understood in their totality. God is a mystery, which is too much for the limited space on our human “hard-drives”. As has been said, the whole ocean cannot be put into a single bucket.
Parts of a mystery can be grasped and today’s liturgy is about how this mysterious God, Who is Love, Loves the entire human race beginning with little Israel and focused on a very small stable where a Light has been lit for all nations. Why and how God loves remains the deepest part of God’s mystery, but we get a view of part, anyway.
Isaiah will sing out to Jerusalem in our First Reading. Jerusalem will be the center of interest and activity for all nations will stream to Her and to Her God. They will bring their gifts from afar and their praises to the God Who is near.
In our Second Reading, we will hear the next implication of God’s way of loving all. The light, which has been given within the Jewish tradition, is meant to be shared with the Gentiles or strangers as well. To those who were far off, Christ has also come close. The author of this Epistle, who was a Jew, boldly proclaims that the “mystery” has been made known and shared with all. Part of the “mystery” has been made known and shared through the Gospel’s being preached, but not all, that would make God a secret or problem or puzzle. The great news is that in Christ, we are all one and quite loved family.
The Gospel today is a dramatic story of faith, search and arrival. Matthew pictures the three Magi or wizards, as fulfilling the prophecy of the First Reading. They have studied, pondered, then followed their decisions and with God’s help, they arrive on their knees before the New Light, which is not an idea, but a person.
Epiphany means “Manifestation” or “display”. Picture a globe in total darkness. Now take a flashlight and shine its beam on one section. The Epiphany is the widening of that light and embrace of the whole human race. The Magi represent us all, and their gifts, as rich as they may be, represent our human poverty. What light do we have to offer to the Infinite Light of God? Jesus is the fullest revelation of the mystery of God, but not the revelation of the infinite mystery that is the God Who is Love.
Jesus is the Light and in that Light we have come to know just a bit of what God “thinks” of us. Because of this, kings, shepherds and all in between have had a little of our own mysteries manifested as well. We all come out of darkness, kneel before the Light and that Light illumines us to ourselves and others to us as well. The near and far, the rich and poor, the Light shines upon us, within us and then through us.
We become then, the continuation of the Epiphany, but only when we
have spent time close to the Light, who is Jesus. He was manifested
to us all and then sent out from that stable to shine with the splendor
of God. The Magi returned by “another way”. To their own country.
There was more than one birth then at the stable. We take our turns
being born anew in the Light of Jesus so that we might return to our part
of the enlightened world by “another way”.
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