January 8, 2012 – The Epiphany of the Lord
Is. 60:1-6; Ps. 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13; Eph. 3:2, 3a, 5-6; Mt. 2:1-12
The theme of this Sunday’s Scripture readings is two-fold: God manifests Himself, and man responds to that manifestation with gifts of gratitude and conversion of heart.
The Magi, who were likely astrologers and magicians, made the long journey from somewhere far away to see the Savior, and when they saw him, they gave Him themselves. The gold, frankincense and myrrh were likely “tricks of the trade” that they surrendered to the Lord upon meeting Him.
They had an encounter with Christ that fateful day and, upon recognizing him as Lord and Savior, they offered Him the gifts of themselves. Then, the Gospel tells us, they departed from another way.
Such language tells us, not simply that the Magi traveled home on a different route, but on a deeper level, that their lives were changed that day. Their encounter with Christ made a huge impact on their lives, calling them to give of themselves and then to live the remainder of their lives accordingly.
Their story is a great example to all of us. It speaks of some universal truths.
God manifests himself in innumerable ways. We see Him in the beauty and wonder of creation, we see him in the goodness of others, and we see his goodness in the many gifts we have been given – all of which come by way of gift from Him. As stewards, we are called to recognize His greatness and His generosity and respond to Him in gratitude, offering Him the first fruits of our time, talent, and treasure. In this, we offer Him the gift of ourselves, much like the Magi.
God became man so that we might have salvation. He offered us the greatest possible gift, and, through our gifts of time, talent, and treasure, we respond with gratitude for the gifts He has given. He has given Himself, and we give Him ourselves in return.
This exchange leads to a conversion of heart. As the first reading tells us, “Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow.”
Having recognized and received God’s gifts gratefully, our lives should become a witness to others as we share the gifts He has given us. We call others to Him hoping that, through the way we live our lives others might encounter Christ and be changed.
As Christian stewards, we live for God. Everything we do and say ought to proclaim the Gospel and bring others closer to Christ so that one day, as the psalmist sings “Every nation on Earth will adore” Him.
God has given each one of us many good gifts. As stewards, let us use the gifts He has given us – our time, our talent, and our treasure – at home, at church, at work, and wherever else we find ourselves, to glorify Him and, in so doing, call others to encounter Christ and live for Him.