Reflection for the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
It is a well-known fact that our human condition, oppressed by the pride and avarice behind sinful social structures, continues to wound so many of us to the point of despair and a sorrowful death. We live unjustly, we die unjustly. It is a reality that continues to disturb us in modern times.
In his time and place in history, Jesus gave us the real image of the God of compassion, not of a God of indifference. Jesus revealed to us the “God who cares,” and we who follow him intimately, profess and proclaim him as the “God who lives among us.”
Our service for the kingdom of God must consist of the Christian mission of continuing to reveal – as Jesus did – the God of compassion to all peoples for all time.
The tale of the journey of the Wise Men, is also the tale of our own journey of faith as humanity challenged yet destined to recognize and converge upon the Christ revealed as the true healer of nations, and the keeper of God’s aspired social order of justice and peace. It is a story which proclaims a glorious end to injustice and oppression, and the dawn of the kingdom of God.
It is a story that gives hope to the aspiration that our lifelong service for the kingdom will not be in vain. But the journey of faith is and will not be easy.
Like the Wise Men, we have to travel through the deserts of desolation, through the cities of poverty, alienation and disillusionment. We must endure the inescapable burden of our human condition trapped in its own sinfulness. However, we must not allow ourselves to be drowned in the modern abyss of depression, and we must tenaciously cling on and commit ourselves to “following the star,” our single-minded purpose of discovering the “God who cares” and uncovering the “God who liberates.”
Like the Wise Men, we will have to confront evil, in all its demonic faces of injustice, hatred and violence. We may have misconceptions that evil is so obviously repugnant that it is not difficult to resist, yet we must be forewarned that evil is not ugly. Evil is alluring to the perplexed mind, and tempting to the weak of heart. Evil is always a liar, a deceptive Herodian presence of power and wealth, which can actually pass itself as “being good.” We must not fall, and we must remain steadfastly loyal to the Eucharistic presence of simplicity and humility.
And like the Wise Men, we will come to our journey’s end and we will achieve fulfill our purpose. We will meet Christ, our “caregiver” and our “liberator.” And from him, we will learn how we can enlighten others by listening to his voice in prayer; how we can serve others in joy by challenging the selfishness of the world; and how we can die to ourselves in glory by bearing and burying its transgressions in the hope of eventual renewal.
With his guidance and protection, we will be strengthened for the fight; with his promise, we will return safely and triumphantly to our eternal home.
Brother Jess Matias is a professed brother of the Secular Franciscan Order. He serves as minister of the St. Pio of Pietrelcina Fraternity at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Mandaluyong City, coordinator of the Padre Pio Prayer Groups of the Capuchins in the Philippines and prison counselor and catechist for the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.
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