HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF EPIPHANY OF THE LORD – YEAR B
THEME: God’s Self-revelation in Christ
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
God never ceases to reveal Himself to us. God constantly reveals Himself to us because He wants us to know Him and to be transformed completely by our knowledge of Him. To know God begins by opening ourselves to Him because He is the first to open Himself to us. When we open ourselves to God, we begin to recognise the simple ways through which God reveals Himself to us. God does this without any form of discrimination to all those who are sincere in their search to know Him. May we daily discover God in the baby Jesus born for us at Bethlehem; Amen.
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The term _Epiphany_ is from the Greek word _epiphainein_ which means _Revelation, Manifestation or a striking appearance_ . The Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord is a feast of God’s self-revelation in Christ to all peoples. It is the Feast of the manifestation of Christ. One central message of the Feast of the Epiphany is the truth that God is the God of all and He makes Himself known to all, especially to those who seek Him in humility of heart, simplicity of life and openness of the mind. Nobody and no group of persons can lay exclusive claim to God or to the knowledge of God. This is seen in the visit of the Magi who traced the place of birth of Christ through the direction of a Star. To the surprise of many, even those considered to be pagans, “from the east”, that is, outside the confines of God’s mercy and promises, were able to recognise the Light of Christ in the form of a star. The Magi distinguished themselves by their openness to God; “we saw His star as it rose and have come to do Him homage” (Mt 2:1-12). Fortunately, God reveals Himself to us in very simple ways and through means accessible to us. To be a witness to the manifestation or revelation of God in Christ has nothing to with race, tribe, colour, language or social status. God already made this clear through the prophets as we heard in the First Reading (Is 60:1-6); “lift up your eyes and look round: all are assembling and coming towards you, your sons from far away and your daughters being tenderly carried.” To be a witness to the manifestation or revelation of God in Christ has everything to do with humility, simplicity and openness to God because “this mystery that has now been revealed through the Spirit… that pagans now share the same inheritance, that they are parts of the same body, and that the same promise has been made to them, in Jesus Christ” (Eph 3:2-3, 5-6).
The Feast of the Epiphany is the Feast of the simple, the humble and those who are open to God. Only the simple of heart can recognise the indication given by God through very simple things like the star. Only the humble can see and affirm in a very fragile child something superior, royal and divine. Only the humble can act like the Magi; “falling on their knees they did Him homage.” Only one who is open to that which is beyond and above us can bring with them such gifts of inestimable measure; “opening their treasure, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.” As we celebrate this Feast today, we must ask ourselves a very important question; do we recognise the simple ways through which God reveals Himself to us? Sometimes we pay greater attention to things that are loud and imposing that we lose sight of the most important things that come to us in simple and accessible ways. The ability to recognise these simple but most important things is the secret of the Magi and the secret of those who wish to experience God’s self-revelation and the manifestation of God’s glory in Christ.
Eternal King and Father of all, may the rays of Your eternal Light, made visible to our senses in the Baby Jesus, continue to guide and lead us in our search to know You more and more, always attentive to the indications of the Holy Spirit; Amen.
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