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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
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.