Isaiah 60:1-6; Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6: Matthew 2:1-12
“Your light has come. The glory of God shines upon you.”
Advent, Christmastide, and Epiphany form the season of light, light that is afar off, light that interrupts and explodes into night’s darkest hour, light that is set loose in the world. This season of light reaches an apex today, the feast of the Epiphany, a commemoration of the manifestation of God to all the nations. Today gives us another opportunity to reflect on the wonder of the Incarnation, the reality that Christ truly came to save the whole world.
Fertile imagination has embellished the gospel story of astrologers, Magi, led by a star. They left their homeland to seek the newly born king of the Jews. These travelers had been attentive to the marvels of the universe, and they had read signs in the heavens. They came searching, wanting to offer their gifts and homage and to align themselves with what is being born.
Light and darkness are juxtaposed in the readings as we consider the Magi and Herod. The stargazers trusted their dreams and let go of routines and personal creeds to follow an unexplored path. Herod, on the other hand, only cared about his place in the world, and had already killed a number of his relatives to secure his powerful position. The Magi saw new life as promised, and they blessed it; Herod saw new life as a threat, and he cursed it.
The Magi followed the light, the star, because of their faith in the possibility of a new world, of a new humanity. They set off on a journey with a destination known and unknown at the same time.
What of us, today, this feast of the Epiphany? Like the Magi, we are called to journey to seek signs of God’s activity in our moment of history. We are called to be the light in this time of chaos and uncertainty in our world. This feast calls us to a powerful counter-message. Our field of vision and inclusion must be much larger than that of the status-quo. Each of us is called to bring our light to the darkened areas of our world. It is time for us to be shining stars to lead all people to God.
Loving God, God of light and love, may we be instruments of your light shining among us.
Sister Mary Ann Collins, O.P.