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Sunday, January 4, 2015

EPIPHANY! Let the Light of Christ Shine in the Deepest Places of Your Own Heart

Sermon by Rev. John Paul Shea
Feast of the Epiphany, Jan 4, 2015
Saints Peter & Paul Parish, Tucson, AZ

Today the Church celebrates the awesome and mysterious  Epiphany!

The word, “Epiphany,” means “Manifestation."  In Ancient Greek the word for Epiphany is “Theophany,” meaning, "vision of God.” This describes Moses' experience while he was on Mount Sinai where he received the Ten Commandments.  

Moses experienced a fiery flame, reaching to the sky, and  loud notes of a trumpet!  The whole mountain was wrapped in smoke, and trembled violently! It was a scary and awesome sight, and the people watching at the bottom of the mountain trembled in fear. 

In today’s Gospel (Matt 2:1-12), we hear of another  epiphany. The magi, who were astrologers or what we would call “wise men,” had their eyes trained on the heavens looking for  signs of God, and they recognized His work in the manifestation of a mysterious star. They followed this star at its rising, and it led them to our Lord. So they went to pay homage to Jesus, "the newborn King of the Jews.” 

Today’s Gospel passage is a call for each one of us to strive to recognize God’s light in our lives. God wants each one of us to experience our own epiphany, our own manifestation of His love and His truth.  He wants to guide us by His light. But we must to be docile and receptive to His in inspirations.

As the magi in today’s Gospel looked into the heavens, we need to look into our hearts. Our souls are a huge place with a lot to discover. Many are afraid to look into their souls because they do not want to acknowledge the dark places.  But, if we don't shine the Light of Christ into the contents of these hidden places, He cannot  heal the wounds and sins that lurk within us.

Sometimes God allows things in our lives in order to “shake us up” so that we will draw closer to Him. This is what happened in my own life, an epiphany that led me to the Catholic Church.

It is often when we experience these tempests in our lives that we turn to the Lord. We realize that we have no other choice. But when we turn to God with all our heart, He brings good out of difficulties. Often it is right in the midst of the darkest moments of our lives that we discover Christ quietly supporting us in ways that we couldn't imagine. 

My brothers and sisters, God is real! He wants to dwell intimately with each one of us! We become distracted by the false lights of the world, and these block us from God’s manifestation in our lives.

This is what happened to King Herod in today's reading.  Unlike the magi, who kept their eyes focused on the heavens, King Herod kept his eyes on the earth.  The Child that the magi honored with gifts is the same Child that Herod sought to kill out of envy and political gain.

There are many false lights in our culture that can lead us away from the Lord -- riches, sex, power, glory, and fame. When we allow these worldly lights to dominate and manipulate our lives, then it becomes easy to close our hearts to the true Light that has come and is coming into the world! When we get too caught up in things of the world, we become blind to the ways in which God is leading us, His Star of Truth.

Today’s celebration of the Epiphany calls us to raise our minds and hearts on what is above! God has entered into our world to renew humanity. He has come to renew the face of the earth. And as we prepare for the second coming of our Lord, God continues to manifest His signs to His Church in many ways, through the clear revelation of the Catholic Church, God's actions in historical events and privately through apparitions of our Blessed Mother, and other miracles and healings. 

All of these are signs that God is calling us to conversion. Let us open our eyes and hearts to recognize His light and ask for the grace to follow Him. 
Three Wise Surfers follow the Light of Christ 

Did you enjoy this Homily? There are lots more by Fr. John Paul Shea. Perhaps you'd enjoy THE HOLY FAMILY: Model for all Human Families

1 comment:

  1. Thank-you for posting this sermon. Yes, the Three Kings should inspire us to seek and hold to truth and wisdom. I think of the refusal to search for the Truth here in Canada. Hard as it is to believe - in reality it should not be hard if the State and population have become brutalized - we have in Canada, right now, a young woman in prison (Mary Wagner) for distributing roses at an abortion mill. This good, gentle kindly woman has also been abandoned by those who should care for her the most. A great, and I would say - evil - silence has enveloped Canada. perhaps it reflects the same "silence" that fell over the land when Jesus was on the Cross...