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Epiphany – To Reveal Jesus Christ

Following the season of Christmas, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Epiphany, the Feast of the Three Kings. This Solemnity is one of the most important holy days throughout the Church year as it is one of only five solemnities that is  celebrated with an octave.  For a full eight days this Solemnity is remembered in the prayers during Holy Mass.

Now although the Scripture readings and prayers speak of the visit of the Magi or Kings who have come to worship the infant Jesus, the real reason for the feast is not only the worship of the kings, but is in fact that the acknowledgment of Who Jesus really is is beginning to spread.  Jesus is being revealed to the world.

In fact this revelation or Epiphany is not just one
Solemnity or even just the octave, but it extends through this entire time of year.  If we listen to the preface of the Epiphany, we hear of the three main moments of epiphany that the season hinges upon.  As the preface prayer says, in Epiphany we celebrate His triune revelation.  He was revealed to the Magi from the East, while yet a child He was worshipped.  He was revealed to all people at His baptism in the River Jordan.  You, Father, and the Holy Spirit give witness to His divinity; He revealed Himself to His Apostles in Cana of Galilee, making manifest the power of God through His miracles.”

So in this season of Epiphany Jesus is revealed in many ways.  Not only does God reveal to the Magi, through the shining of a star, that He is doing something special by breaking into our human existence through the birth of His Son, but in the Baptism the Father sends the Holy Spirit upon Jesus as a manifestation of the Trinity and He announces and reveals that Jesus is, “the beloved Son.” Likewise at the first miracle in Cana in Galilee, Jesus manifests His power in the performance of the miracle turning water into wine.  This action reveals that Jesus is inaugurating the kingdom of God through works of power.  During this time of year in the many readings that take place during the weekdays in between these important events, we hear of many other ways in which Jesus is revealed, both in powerful actions and inspired teaching.

One of the most important parts of the miracle in Cana is the very last verse of the Gospel reading which is oftentimes overlooked.  After the completion of the miracle, the Gospel of John tells us, “Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.” (John 2:11)  These two actions permeate the season of Epiphany, Jesus reveals His glory and His disciples believe.

This reminds us all that during the season of Epiphany, we don’t only remember the past events in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we also acknowledge the present action of Jesus in the world today.  And this is especially true within the lives of individual Christians.

If we take a bit of time and really give some thought to God’s action in our lives, we will see that He gives us all many of the same signs that we see in Scripture.  Now, although we may never have seen a bright shining star in the sky to announce the Lord Jesus Christ, God does put a great many small signs in our lives that point us to acknowledge God’s action and presence.  Have we ever considered that the people within our lives, as well as all of the beautiful things that move and affect us, are in fact God putting small stars within our lives for us to see?  And then of course when we see them, we need to take the action of the Magi, we must follow these signs to see where they lead, and of course we know that they lead to the creator of all things, the Lord Jesus Christ “through Whom all things were made.”  And then knowing this we must, as the Epiphany prayer says, “follow until we find Him and finding Him to rejoice.”

Similar things must be considered when we take a look at the Baptism.  We must remember that each and every time we come to church, we place our hands into the Holy Water and then make the sign of the cross, as a remembrance of our own baptism.  In doing this action, we must remember that we are united with Jesus Christ, even in His baptism.  At His baptism the Holy Spirit came upon Him and the Father announced, “this is My beloved Son.”  We must remember that at the moment of our own
baptism the Holy Spirit also came into our hearts and into our lives and God again said, “this is My beloved child.”  It was after this event that Jesus began to call His disciples and spread the message of the coming of the kingdom of God.  In the same way we are called to be disciples and followers of our Lord Jesus Christ and then, like the disciples, we are to announce the kingdom of God and the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

During this season of Epiphany we also contemplate the miracle of the turning of water into wine.  In some ways we are drawn to the miracle where wine then becomes the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.  We know that in this powerful action of God, Jesus again becomes present in the world, and through our gathering at the Eucharist, we together announce the kingdom of God is among us.  Also in many other ways we know that small miracles surround us each and every day in the actions of Jesus in our lives.

In this miracle we also remember the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  It was she who told the waiters at the wedding feast, “Do whatever Jesus tells you.”  This too should be our attitude to all things within our lives, to “do what Jesus tells us.”  Jesus desires that we live lives of faith and service.  In order to bring this to a reality, we must listen to Jesus and put His words, His actions and especially His love into all that we do.

For each of these parts in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ, we should ask ourselves, how does this apply to me today?  How is Jesus being revealed to me and how can I then reveal Jesus to others?  So, my dear brothers and sisters, let us truly celebrate this season of Epiphany.  Don’t let it get lost following the celebration of Christmas.  But as we might say during Christmas time, let’s keep Christ in Christmas, then let us also keep the revelation of Jesus Christ in this season of Epiphany.  Let us not only remember these events of Scripture where Jesus was revealed, but let us also remember to continue to reveal Jesus in our lives and in our world.  Through actions of love, loyalty and service, let us continue to reveal Jesus Who is the Lord and Savior.

 

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