The Epiphany of the Lord—January 5, 2020Happy 2020! We’ve made it through another calendar year. I am deeply grateful to all of you for bringing us to this point. We had wonderful celebrations of Christmas and New Year. So many people gave hours and hours of their time; others shared their talents and skills, and still others their financial resources to create a spectacular setting for our first holidays back in our historic church. Still others prayed so earnestly for our restora-tion, for the flourishing of the parish, and for the glory of God. To each of you, whether your contribution was filling a spot in a pew, decorating, reading, making music, doing unseen service like cleaning or counting the collection, I can only say a heart-felt THANK YOU!We are all blessed in so many ways.As most years, this first Sunday of the year is Epiphany.
While we quaintly move our statues of the Magi closer in at the man-ger scene, this feast has so much to teach us. The gospel story tells us that wise men came from the East. They would have been non-Jews, people from a different culture and religion, speaking a different language. They traveled far and found the “king of the Jews” in a humble setting in a little backwater town of Judea, not far from Jerusalem. He was not in a palace; he was not in an important city. The Greek word “epiphaneia” means an appearance, a glorious display. God’s Son made an appearance to these foreigners as a helpless little child in hum-ble surroundings.And today, some 2000 years later, God is still making appear-ances among us, in places where we might least expect it. It is so easy to find God in the Blessed Sacrament, or inside the church building. We sometimes see God in the “important” people who lead us. Yet at the end of this Church year we will hear the final judgment passage from Matthew’s gospel, where the risen Christ reminds us that he is to be found in the thirsty, the hungry, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned.
For me, that is the difficult part of my faith. If I am to find the Christ in the child Jesus, in a manger, then I am also called to find him in other humble surroundings: in people with addictions, the homeless, those with mental illnesses. But even that can be romanticized. I also need to find Christ in the one who bothers me, who wants too much of my time. Perhaps Christ is in that person I just tried to avoid seeing in the supermarket or the one I passed on the street.As we begin this year, I invite you to spend a moment in front of the Nativity scene in church or in your home, and to ask our loving God where else he might be making an epiphany. Could it be in the person right next to you?