Epiphany Sunday

BlogOur family members, friends, and neighbors may not be Catholic, are they called to come to Christ? If they are, this puts us in a difficult position. Not everyone wants their beliefs or experiences challenged. Because of this, our society is beginning to teach that all faiths, all beliefs, are equal. Do we believe this? Does God simply call a hindu to be the best hindu he can be or does he call all peoples to his Son, near and far? Let us look to the scriptures.

The wise mean came from a different place. They were not part of the Jewish tradition, yet God spoke to them through something high in the sky; something that could be seen by all and from afar. God placed this star in the sky so that they would be called to his Son. They only needed to look in order to see it; they only needed to journey away from their homeland to find where it leads.

In the first reading, we hear that all nations will be called to one location, to Jerusalem. It’s not literally Jerusalem, it’s too his new heavenly kingdom, the Church. A light is shining forth from her, it is God’s own glory. The earth is covered in darkness, but this light is bringing all nations to one Church. The second reading also confirms this saying, Gentiles (all who are not Jewish) are equal partners in receiving the revelation of the gospel and are called to the one Body. Yes, it seems clear that all people are being called to worship the one Savior, Jesus Christ.

This does not mean that we are to be forceful or intimidating. What God does is place a gentle and inviting light in the sky. It is something that all people can see, it is something different and new.  Those who look for it with a good will can see it. They have to look up, they have to recognize its call to them, and they have to allow it to lead them. The star led the wise men to the general vicinity where the child was.  They went to Herod’s house and listened to his scholars.  This indicates that in the course of responding to the light, we may enter places which are not the final destination.  We must continue on until we find Christ himself.  After visiting Herod, scripture says  “Behold” the star reappeared and led them the rest of the way.  Having responded to God’s invitation by following a distant light, he began to lead them ever more closely.  Scripture says that they were led to “the house where the child was with Mary his mother.”  They had finally made it, and what did they find within the house?  Not only Jesus, but his mother Mary.  Obviously the presence of Christ’s mother was important to the early Christian Church, and which faith community carries on this tradition of the apostles?  The Catholic faith.  The Catholic Church is the one house to which God is leading everyone by his light.

Now there are two more things to mention.  The wise men came to Christ offering him gifts  The first reading also says that nations will come to Jerusalem bringing treasures.  What we can tell is that all people are precious and have something to offer when they come.  Young or old, rich or poor; atheist or religious; healthy or sick; regardless of their past.  Any person will enrich the Church when they come.   Secondly, when the wise men had paid Christ homages, scripture says that they left by another way.  Does scripture only mean to say that they didn’t return to Jerusalem or is it saying something more?  No longer do we hear of the wise men being led by the star, no.  The light was now within them.  They returned to their families and neighbors by a different way, not with an external light leading them on, but with the light of Christ within so they could lead others to him.

It is a difficult world in which we live.  Some don’t like that we believe there is one location to which God calls all humanity.  But there is one Savior of humanity, and the story of the wise men makes this clear.  We are all called to a house where we find both Jesus and Mary, the Catholic Church.  You and I have encountered him, and we have received his one Body.  Within us is the light to lead others to him.  A light in the darkness is something helpful to others.  As Catholics we must be helpful to others, consoling, sharing good counsel, offering service and support.  It is enough that all people know we are Catholics and that we are always helpful, that we are loving Catholics.  When others show an interest in pursuing the light, that is when we reveal ourselves and our faith more fully to them.  That is when we allow that light to come close to them, to lead them, and to stop right above the house where we all find both Jesus and Mary.  Some will choose to enter the house, but others may not.

Knowing that God calls all people to his Son, let us allow his light to gently shine through us so his house may be enriched by all people near and far.

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