Homily for the Solemnity of Epiphany of the Lord Year C
Theme: The mystery and significance of the birth of Jesus
By: Rev Fr Stephen ‘Dayo Osinkoya
Homily for Sunday January 2 2021
On the Solemnity of Epiphany the Church calls us to contemplate and to celebrate the mystery and significance of the birth of Jesus the Saviour.
By becoming man like us, Jesus the son of God did not only come for the salvation of the people of Israel, but also for the whole of humanity – a many as those who would come to him. that’s why the angel announced his birth to the shepherds who represent the house of Israel, while the stars led the magi who represent the whole of humanity.
Like the wise men, each of us has a journey to make to Jesus because none of us is yet fully converted and each of us has corners in our hearts and lives in need of Jesus’ healing and redemption. But are we like the wise men relying on the grace of God to lead us to the light of Jesus our Saviour?
Instead of being like the wise men, many of us are actually like Herod, a powerful man who saw others solely as rivals to combat. He saw in God also a rival to him, a particularly dangerous rival who would like to deprive men of their vital space, their autonomy, their power; a rival who points out the way to take in life and thus prevents one from doing what one like
Because we see God as a rival who should not be given any breathing space at all, many of us look up to others as the star to guide our feet. And these often never lead us anywhere near Christ; rather, they lead us astray.
The gifts of the Magi are meant to express our human awe and reverence at the true inner nature of the child, Christ born to us. Worldly powers, represented by the Three Kings, along with their powers of government over peoples, are placed at His feet. Gold, the currency of kings, is given to Him. Frankincense is the gift given to priests, bringing us into contact with the world of mystery and transcendence. Myrrh is an ointment used in the preparation of a body for burial; its significance being quite obvious in terms of this child’s destiny, as well as our own human destiny. Death is a mystery we all enter into as equals, regardless of how important or significant our lives have been during our time here on earth. Death also becomes for us a mystery to be lived, not just another problem to be solved.
If Christmas is all about God coming to us to seek us out, then Epiphany is all about our seeking out the God who has come among us. The Wise Men offer us great wisdom. They give us a gift that is priceless. After finding Christ they went home by another route. We too should go by another route this year, different from the path we followed last year.
As the Magi never went back to Herod who asked them to return, we must also, never go back to those sins asking us to return. Let us make New Year resolutions that are realistic. Let us identify the Herod in our lives and never return to it. It could be a life of immorality; it could be hatred and jealousy, anger, irresponsibility, etc. What is your resolve? How have you decided to meet Christ?
Therefore, as we begin this New Year, let us turn a new leaf and let men know that we really encountered Christ at Christmas. So that as the Magi went home rejoicing, the joy of Christ’s birth may always abide with us.
Beloved, let us allow ourselves to be guided by the star, that is the word of God, let us follow it in our lives, walking with the Church in which the Word has pitched his tent. Our road will always be illumined by a light that no other sign can give us. And we too shall become stars for others, because there are so many people looking for direction to Christ in our worlds today and we are called to be that light that would lead them, a reflection of that light which Christ caused to shine upon us. Amen.
*Rev Fr Stephen ‘Dayo Osinkoya*