January 3, 2020 – Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/010321.cfm)
The birth of a child within a family is life-changing. Upon child’s birth, life is transformed and became anew not only for the couple as parents but also includes the life of whole family, neighborhood & community. Not only a new life is added & included into the family life, but also each & every members of the family have to take on a new responsibility as grandparents, parents, uncles & aunties, siblings & relatives for the baby. The birth of the child will surely bring about not only great joy but also promises great change within the family for it entails great responsibility.
Same way as we struggle & mature with life-challenges like illnesses, crises, disasters, pandemic and other life-transitions, the normal birth of a child into our life is indeed life-changing, life-transforming. And it challenges us to live life not again & anymore same as before, but to live life anew in a new normal way with new direction, perspective, responsibility, lifestyle & meaning in life.
On this first Sunday of the New Year, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. Known also to us as Three Kings Sunday, we worship & praise the saving act of God in making known Himself to Us All through His Son, Jesus Christ as well as our consent & faith of welcoming, accepting & witnessing God into our lives now. Epiphany is God’s revelation – both made known to us and acknowledged & believed by us. His son Jesus is God’s greatest gift of grace given to us. Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promise long-awaited by the forefathers of our faith but now we have found in us & with us. By giving us His son Jesus & by our reception of His son Jesus into our lives now, we become & take on the honor of being & becoming ourselves God’s children and now recipient & benefactors of God’s grace of salvation.
In our gospel today, we are reminded of the events that happened when the three kings found the poor child Jesus lying on the manger in Bethlehem. Guided by the stars, with great joy they have finally found the place where the child Jesus is, & then through the child, they adore & pay homage to God. Their encounter of the child Jesus on a manger with His family in Bethlehem brought about great joy & praise since they have finally found what they have searched & long-waited for. With their offered gifts, they honor and thank God’s saving work in the child Jesus. Through the child Jesus, the world is now Blessed & forever will be.
Along with this, we should also credit that after the journey & experiences that the three kings & the Jewish people had to go through to search & find God’s blessing to the world, “warned in a dream, they departed for their country by another way.” Meaning, as they found, acknowledged & accepted God’s grace into their lives, they go back home not on their normal usual way but by another new way of life.
In other words, with their encounter with the child Jesus, unconsciously through their dreams & not only out of fear for Herod, they have to change their ways, & transform their lives for the child. They will not anymore follow the usual normal path in life again, but now they change their ways, paths, plan, thinking, responsibility & will in life. Same way with the birthing of a child with a family, their meeting with the child Jesus has brought a lot of changes into their lives – Great change in their responsibility, meaning, & outlook in life. Their lives now are not anymore same as before, but their lives now are anew & better than before in a new normal, new identity, attitude, meaning & lifestyle.
In the same way, as we encounter God, as we recognize God who makes Himself known to us, our lives will never remain the same again. As we welcome & accept God’s gift the child Jesus as Our Lord of our life, we also take on the responsibility to change our lives in accordance with His orientation, ways, meaning, attitude & lifestyle. Same way with the three kings, the family who welcomes a new baby in the family & us now during these pandemic times, we are challenged also to recognize, receive, and allow the child Jesus to be part of our lives now. This would mean that we have to change our normal lives & attune our New normal lives with the life-changing Child Jesus Christ, and be part of His mission of making known & share the fullness of God’s promise of blessing & salvation to all.
Today, we thank God for His grace of His child Jesus, and we ask Him that we may always be steadfast in our faith & responsibility to parent & share His child Jesus to all, on this new year of our lives. Amen.