Praise, Reverence, and Serve God
By Jean Francky Guerrier, SJ
Through the birth of the child Jesus, the Almighty God makes the journey towards humankind. This journey is an Epiphany. As sons and daughters of God, we are also called to journey to the encounter with Christ. Our life is a journey, in spite of the difficulties on the road. In spite of the fact that the star is hidden. We must journey and not rest until we meet the King, the child Jesus. The light of the Epiphany invites us to walk towards God, to praise, reverence and serve Him with our whole being. In today’s Gospel (Matthew 2:1-12), Matthew tells us that the Wise Men had to travel a long way to encounter the Messiah. They decided to journey in search of God, who has already revealed Himself to them. Although they were considered as foreigners, the Wise Men came to tell the Jews, the heirs, that the Savior had already come to us.
Today we are called to embrace this good new and journey without personal desires, with open heart, because with the birth of Jesus, we come to have a new vision of the manifestation of God in the life and reality of all people, it is a true Epiphany. Jesus makes us part of the community of believers, the church, and we journey together. No one travels alone. We all need a star to guide us. We are all at different stages of the journey. The important thing is to reach the goal and contemplate the face of the Messiah.
Epiphany, feast of hope, feast of light for all, feast of the manifestation of God’s presence to the world reminds us that with the arrival of the Wise Men, the child of Bethlehem has been recognized as the God of all. This was a scandal for the people of Israel, the chosen people. The birth of Jesus shows that we all have the same dignity before God, therefore Saint Paul in the letter to the Ephesians (3.2-3a, 5-6) says that “the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.” As we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord, we know that we are all called to become part of the church, the new people of God.
The Wise Men, when they encountered the child Jesus, the worshipped Him and offered Him “gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Today what Jesus is asking from us, is a little more peace for the world, a little more love for families broken by violence, a little more justice and charity among us, a little more tenderness in our interpersonal relationships, a little more hope.
Last year on the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord Pope Francis states: “if we can fall on our knees before Jesus, we will overcome the temptation to set off on our own path. For worship involves making an exodus from the greatest form of bondage: slavery to oneself. Worship means putting the Lord at the centre, not ourselves…It is about discovering that joy and peace increase with praise and thanksgiving.”
Brothers, and sisters, as we begin the new year, let us begin the journey of the great Epiphany of prayer, reverence and service to God. We must devote ourselves to God through prayer and the service of those in need. Let us be a “sacrament” of the manifestation of God to all people. Remember that we are called to be a real and effective sign of the manifestation of God’s love for all those around us.
Let us make the year 2021 a real Epiphany. As we journey, let us remember those who are alone, those who are sick, those who suffer, we remember them, and we pray for them. Amen!