The Path of Life

The Path of Life

Monday, January 7, 2013

Your light has come

Solemnity of the Epiphany
January 2013

Isaiah 60:1-6
Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6
Matthew 2:1-12

“Raise your eyes and look about,” Isaiah tells us in the first reading at Mass on Sunday. “Your light has come. Upon you the Lord shines.” We must keep our gaze on heaven above but also “look about,” to the circumstances and people on earth through whom the light of Christ shines. He is in each of us, all around us, yet we must first raise our eyes, viewing everything from an eternal perspective that reveals God’s immense love, mercy, and compassion.

Elsewhere, St. Paul tells us, “If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth” (Colossians 3:1-2). As baptized Christians, we are raised with Christ in his baptism (which we celebrate this coming Sunday), on his cross, and in his resurrection. Raised with Christ in this light, God’s glory shines upon us, and as Isaiah says, we then become radiant at what we see, and our hearts will throb and overflow.

This is illustrated for us in the Gospel story of the Magi. In Jerusalem, very near the town of Bethlehem where Christ is born, King Herod looks all about, but not above, and therefore is “greatly troubled.” The light of Christ is close by, but he cannot see it. On the other hand, the three Magi from a distant land have their eyes uplifted to see Christ’s star at its rising. So, they are impelled to look about for him, guided by the light above. They knew who they were looking for, and in a spirit of humility, gratitude, and joy, they found him and gave themselves to him by presenting their treasures.

The Magi’s encounter—God revealed to foreigners in a strange land through the newborn Christ—made them stewards of God’s grace and co-partners in God’s promise of eternal salvation revealed through the gospel. Herod, though a native of the land, remained troubled. Fearfully looking all about but without raising his eyes to heaven, he attempts to kill all the newborn children in Bethlehem to preserve his own treasures. In doing so, he remains in the dark, unable to see the light so visible to the Magi from so far away—and eventually loses everything.

As we reflect on the mystery of the Epiphany—God’s manifestation to all peoples through Christ’s birth, his visit from the Magi, his baptism, and his first miracle of changing water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana—we do well to ask ourselves these questions:

n      Are we greatly troubled?
n      Have we first raised our eyes to heaven?
n      Do we then look about the earth for the light of Christ with humility, gratitude and joy, eager to find him in the most unlikely of people and places, and offer there our greatest treasures?

May our encounter with Christ make us radiant at what we see, our hearts throbbing and overflowing with the gift of God’s grace manifested to all the earth. Let us raise our eyes and then look about. Then this light, this life, will be ours forever, and likewise will be offered to all around us who are greatly troubled. May we all become co-partners in God's promise of eternal salvation revealed through the gospel.

“Your light has come. Upon you the Lord shines.”

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