Jan 4, 2015

A HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD –  CYCLE “B” –  1/4/15  –  SMG

+  Pax et Bonum!   Peace and Goodness to you on this feast of Epiphany!

The Gospel actually tells us very, very little about these magi.  We know that they were from the East.  We know that they caused quite a commotion when they arrived in Jerusalem, even getting King Herod all worked up!  It is the Venerable Bede in the 8th Century who tells us the most about them.  He says that they were  Melchior, the oldest of the wise men, with white hair, who offered gold to our Lord.  And then there was Gaspar, the youngest of the wise men, who was beardless and of a ruddy hue, who offered incense.  And then there was Baltasar, who was said to be of dark complexion and who had a heavy beard, and who offered Jesus the myrrh.  Were they kings?  Were they astronomers?  What countries were they from in the East?  What made them wise?  How long did they travel to reach Bethlehem?  These are things that we don’t know.  We do know that they traveled a great distance, following a star, to find Jesus.  They may have traveled hundreds or even thousands of miles to get there and present their gifts.

What is fun to think about though, is how did God get their attention with a star?  O.K., so this particular star is much, much brighter then usual.  Maybe we’ve seen bright stars in the night sky that stood out and got our attention too.  Or more often than not, what gets our attention are the bright planets, which are closer, and look bigger and brighter.  But whatever was going on up there in the sky, these three magi noticed it, paid attention to it, and when it began to move, all three of them set out from their own countries following its light.   Eventually, the star brought them together, and led them all to Bethlehem.  But there must have been that moment for each of them when they realized, God is talking to us.  God, The Eternal One, who made Heaven and earth, is using one of His stars to get the magi to hit the road.  They had to pay attention.  They had to track the star’s movements, even before they left home.  This was not a burning bush or a pillar of fire.  But make no mistake about it, God was speaking to these three kings, and God was using this bright star to lead them to Himself, and they were wise enough to listen.

Think about this!  What if they had never noticed the star!  What if they had not paid attention closely enough to notice that it was moving?  There must have been some serious tracking going on!    What if they just brushed it all off as an abnormality, or a coincidence?    Certainly they must have had doubts!  Maybe they wanted to make excuses!  God’s not calling me.  God doesn’t want me to follow this star.  Surely, the star has got to be for someone else!  And yet, God didn’t let up.  God would blind them with the light from this star UNTIL they got up out of their recliners, got on their camels, and went to Bethlehem.  We have a very persistent God!

This story today has to make each and every one of us thing about how many ways, in how many things, our God is calling us to come and experience Him!  You think God isn’t still doing this today?  Let me assure you, He is!  He is all around us.  And it might not be a star, but have no doubt, this same God that called the wise men two-thousand years ago, is still using people, and events, and things in our lives, to call us to see Him, and experience Him, and get to know Him!  The real question is ARE we going to be wise enough to do what we need to do, to get to see and experience the same God in our lives?

How is God calling you?  How is He challenging you in your life?  I think it is different for each and every one of us.  It is our vocation.  Follow that star.  Get knocked off your horse.  Cast your nets off the other side of the boat.  Go to Mass.  Go to Confession.  Go on a retreat.  Read a new book.  Our biggest problem today is that so many times God is asking us to do simple things to get to know Him.  We don’t have to be a missionary in China, we don’t have to be a martyr in Uganda, we don’t have to ride a camel for months to find Him.  But we might need to go on a Christ Renews His Parish weekend, or a Cursillo, or be a sponsor for RCIA, or teach PRE, or coach a basketball team in our sport’s ministry.   We like the dramatic stuff.  We like burning bushes and parting seas.  Sometimes God works in much quieter ways, all we have to do is be wise enough, to notice!  All we have to do is pay attention with our hearts!

Oh yeah!  Even in 2015, God is so at work today!  Pay attention.  Watch what He’s doing.  Listen for His call.  He’s at work.  Just make sure that you’re not too busy or too occupied to notice!

May God bless us on this Feast of Epiphany,  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…        AMEN !!!