Homily for the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord
Theme: WISE MEN AND WOMEN LAY THEIR TREASURES AT THE FEET OF JESUS, THE HERODS HOAD THEM JELOUSLY AND LOSE ALL
By: Fr. Christian Eze
Homily for Sunday January 5 2020
First reading – Is. 60:1-6
Second reading – Eph. 3:2-3.5-6
Gospel – Matt. 2:1-12
Today, we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord – the visit of the three wise men to the new born King of the universe. There are many striking and interesting things about this feast.
Among the spectacular ones may include the reaction of Herod, the earthly king, when he heard of the noble birth of the Heavenly king. We read in Matt. 2:3: “when King Herod heard [that the infant king of the Jews has been born], he was troubled”. Many versions rendered the block word in such interesting manner like: he was disturbed (NIV), he was perturbed (JB). All of these points to the Greek word ἐταράχθη which could be interpreted as a state of becoming worried over a suspected calamity that would befall someone. The question is: why was King Herod worried this much? The answer to this is not beyond the fact that he had put in so much to get into this position of being the king. Imagine all the money he spent during the election campaign; imagine all the things he gave up and the things he took up in order to win this election. He had invested so much that he could not afford to lose the throne so soon. At this point when he was just struggling to settle his political tugs and the like; how could anyone say to him it is all over? It would be as good as losing his life for he had placed all his life in it.
The unfortunate thing about the glory of this world is that it is vain, and no matter how you guard it, the truth is that if you would not let them leave you, then you must one day leave them. Come to think of that thing you are ready to give up anything, nay anybody, just to secure it. May be you guard that office of yours with the same zeal as Herod guarded his throne. You would frown at any other woman (including the poor ones your husband is assisting) coming close to your husband lest they snatch him away from you. I know a man who never allowed his wife to come out from the house lest another man sees her. A working principle to remedy a sudden heart attack is to regard your most precious thing as something that was never there. St Paul admonishes us: “…those who have wives should live as though they had none, and those who mourn should live as though they had nothing to mourn for; those who are enjoying life should live as though there were nothing to laugh about…because the world as we know it is passing away” 1Cor. 7:29-30. Nothing, therefore, is worth dying for in this world.
One main point, God has His own way of making His purpose come true. Herod’s evil intent did not cause the star of Christ from shining out. Your star must shine as God wants it to.
But you must be wise enough to be ready to have the courage to entrust your treasures to God. What is it that you treasure most? The Magi had treasures. But they were wise. They were courageous to lay their treasures at the feet of Jesus. Who thinks they lost those treasures? They never did. They only showed how truly wise they were. The wise man, the wise woman is the one who entrusts his/her treasures to Christ. It can never be lost.
Whatever you think you value so much, place it under the care of Christ and you are sure it is safe. Yes, it is only then that you could be right to place your heart there without breaking your heart. Jesus warns us: “Do not store up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moths and woodworms destroy them and thieves can break in and steal….for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also – Matt. 619-20. Be wise!