A reflection from Father Tudgay for the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord.
As the Christmas Season unfolds and concludes this week, the celebration of Epiphany captures the seismic impact of the birth of Jesus Christ. The humble origins of Christ’s Earthly birth trigger a series of events that were observed by the meek and powerful alike. For the shepherds, the revelation by the angels about the birth of Christ shows God’s preference to draw people of good will into the mystery of his plan for salvation. Conversely, Herod, insecure and threatened by the birth of a seemingly innocent baby, responds to the “newborn King of the Jews” with a murderous rampage of the firstborn under two years old under his jurisdiction. Christ’s presence is always both amazing and unsettling, depending on which side you choose.
The Magi got it right. Powerful and wealthy in their own right, they responded to Christ’s presence with awe and gratitude. Their gifts, each symbolic in its own way, captures their reverence for the presence of God in their midst. The revelation by the angel not to return to Herod reveals the openness of their hearts to Truth. Their lives were spared, their place in salvation history firmly cemented.
There are those in our world who use the name of Christ as a weapon. While they may not necessarily always belong to the “Herod’s” of the history, their approach is certainly at odds with that of the Magi. True reverence for Christ means that we dispose everything that we have and are before his majesty no matter how messy that majesty may be! The treasures that the Magi brought, ironically, are a gift back to the One who is the Word through whom all creation exists. The finest of what was created was offered back, in gratitude, to its creator. Such reveals the disposition of the heart of the three kings. Herod had good reason to be threatened. The abusive and exploitative in our world should also be threatened…Christ’s love can be scary for some and beautifully bewildering for others. How is it for us?