The Epiphany of the Lord
First Reading: Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalm: Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13
Second Reading: Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6
Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12
Usually by this time of year, everyone is sick of Christmas carols, hymns, trees, lights, cookies, parties, wrapping paper, and all kinds of holiday "related" things. I even know people who take down all of their Christmas decorations the day after Christmas, hauling their tree out the door, taking their tinsel down, and even packing away every last Christmas ornament.
It is for this very reason that the Church has the observance Advent. A period of waiting, wanting, and longing for the coming of the Saviour, Jesus Christ. In the Roman Church, the season of Christmastide is celebrated until the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (which falls on January 12 this year).
How have you celebrated this Christmas season? What is it during this Christmas season that has transformed you through the Incarnation of Jesus Christ? I know. You may be in for some pretty heavy thinking at the beginning of 2014.
The prophet Isaiah tells us, "Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you." So what does "rise up" really mean? Does it simply mean to get up and start walking? Or, is there deeper meaning here that we haven't been awakened to yet? I would like to thank the latter. God has called each of us, through the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, to rise up and be the light in the world. Isaiah says that "darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the LORD shines, and over you appears his glory."
What and who do we need to "rise up" in our lives? Did the Maji from the east arrive to rise up? Did they make the journey because they themselves had been called to rise up? I would like to think so. The Maji from the east rose as a caravan and went in serach of the child, with the hopes that the they had found the Messiah, the one who was going to save them from all oppression, harm, and injustice.
Psalm 72 bodly proclaims that 'just shall flower in his days' and "For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out, and the afflicted when he has no one to help him. He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor; the lives of the poor he shall save."
Let us remember this Epihpany that as we go and search for the light - the light in our lives - the light in others - the light in the world - that we must do so with the poor and oppressed at the forefront. Let us lift up those who are bound down in any way.
Let us take to the infant Jesus our own poverty, vulernability, and suffering...