January 3, 2016

The Gospel Today

The Epiphany of the Lord

Matthew 2:1-12

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod,
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.”
When King Herod heard this,
he was greatly troubled,
and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people,
He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea,
for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler,
who is to shepherd my people Israel.”
Then Herod called the magi secretly
and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said,
“Go and search diligently for the child.
When you have found him, bring me word,
that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way.

Reflection (Sem. Eldrick S. Pena)

Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Lord’s epiphany. The Word has finally become flesh and is seen by the magi and everyone that paid Him homage. The God who went down from heaven finally has a human form, flesh and bones; and born in a human family. God finally has a face, He can be seen, He can be touched, He can be experienced, for He is really present.

What then is the significance of the Epiphany to our day-to-day life as Christians? It reminds us that God manifests Himself concretely in our lives! He is present in human history – in our daily life. God can be experienced in the context of our ordinary life. He is indeed a God of presence. He is there in our achievements and successes, as well as in our failures and loneliness.

In my case, I really experienced His presence more during the toughest and most turbulent times in my life. It was there that I became convinced that God never really abandons those who have put their trust in Him. It is true that light is more appreciated in darkness and that is how Christ, the light, has manifested Himself more concretely, guiding me through the darkest nights.

Jesus is also really present in the Eucharist, where we come to partake of His body and blood. He offers Himself, His presence to provide us spiritual nourishment. He is like saying, “I am the God of presence, the God who always seeks and pursues you.”
Jesus manifests Himself in various ways, even in difficulties and trials we encounter. How has He manifested Himself to you recently?

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