January 6, 2019 — The Epiphany of the Lord
As we continue our celebration of the Christmas season, today we observe the great Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord. The word “epiphany” means “manifestation,” and throughout the Christmas readings, we have seen that the newborn King is eager to reveal Himself to all those willing to accept His presence in their lives.
From poor and humble shepherds, to the international group of magi featured in today’s Gospel passage, Jesus makes it clear that He offers Himself as a gift to everyone.
We also see throughout the scriptures that God uses what is familiar to us to draw us to Himself. He calls to fisherman using boats and nets and a great haul of fish. When speaking to farmers, He uses images of seeds and soil. In the case of the magi — or, astrologers — He uses a star. Our Lord continues to speak to each one of us today.
But we must be alert to “hear” and “see” Him in our daily lives.
How can we become better attuned to the ways God is speaking to us? We must strengthen our spiritual senses by spending time with the Lord in prayer every single day. In the same way that we set professional goals or exercise goals, we can set spiritual goals to ensure that we are taking the time to listen intentionally to God daily. This could be through 10 minutes of early morning Gospel reflection before the rest of the family is up for the day; it could be few moments at your desk at work before grabbing lunch; it could be a daily Rosary after dinner.
When we establish a regular and intentional time for prayer, we will find the Lord continues to speak to us throughout the day. We will more easily recognize the “stars” He places before us to draw us into closer relationship with Him. We will begin to see that He is indeed present in our lives at every moment.
Once we recognize His loving presence in our lives, we can take inspiration from the magi. Recognizing Jesus as King, they fell prostrate before Him in worship and awe. We, too, should be awestruck at the greatness of our God who has given us all that we have and whose love sustains our very existence. And, like the magi, we should offer Him gifts in gratitude for such great love. Rather than gold, frankincense and myrrh, the gifts that are most pleasing to the Lord from us are the gifts of our time (through prayer), our talents, and a trusting return of the material gifts with which He has blessed us.
In this next week as so many people around us are making New Year’s resolutions, let us make a spiritual resolution — to be more intentional about our prayer lives. The more time we spend with our Lord, the more we will become aware of His presence in our lives. We will find that our daily lives are filled with “epiphanies” of His love and, in addition to our time, we will gladly offer our talents and treasure to Him in grateful response.