January 7, 2018
Solemnity of The Epiphany of the Lord
The Gospel Today
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. John Paul S. Adia)
In a depiction of Jesus’ Epiphany, it is always on a dark night and only the radiant star gave the bright light to the wise men for them to find the manger where the Savior was born. It is a good starting point on how we can understand our faith. Even the event can explain more how much God would want to experience the totality of our humanity – its fragility, helplessness, but also its simplicity.
God came to the world in the darkest hour of the day. The time when everybody does not bother on what is happening around as long as they are secured inside their house. But God allowed Himself to be born outside our most comfortable place – our homes. He was rejected for so many times and ended up with that state of poverty, no one accepted Him. Aside from the fact that a God chose to be born as man, His rejections and His nativity are also His early kenosis or self-emptying.
Dark night is characterized by our painful experiences, and in spirituality, it is the seemingly “absence” of God in our life. It constitutes absence of things perceived by our senses or even our mind. But God is never absent. Even this darkness is not the end of everything. We need to look at the bright star by which we are led to go and follow.
Jesus was born in that dark night. This darkness promises the coming glimpse of the day light which will brighten our day. Our life is indeed experiencing dark nights. But God is never absent in these experiences. We have our own experiences of rejections, failures and difficulties. These might prevent us from recognizing God’s presence in our lives.
In the end, Jesus’ birth made God look at man above Him while man looked down at him. He stoop down to that level that man may get closer to Him and encounter Him. May we allow ourselves to have that encounter and be hopeful that in every dark night comes the dawn of the new beginning.