Epiphany 2018

     The three wise men are some of the most mysterious characters in the bible. Why would these rich people from the east leave the comfort of their homes to set off on a journey into the unknown simply to follow a star? What was it that prompted them to take such a dangerous journey? Ultimately it was their insatiable passion for the truth which gave them the courage to set out after the star and discovered Him who is truth itself. Today as we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany, the Church holds up the magi for our admiration and imitation. She calls us to become like the magi and with humility and courage set out on a quest of faith to discover Him who is “the way, the truth, and the life.”[1]

     While the magi lived over 2,000 years ago, I think perhaps more than ever they are true models for our time. It seems to me, that we live in a society that reduces the notion of truth to the point that truth is simply what someone things or feels it should be. Rather than have logical and civil discussion about our differences we seem so afraid to offend anyone that we have resolved to simply go back to our individual corners and allow everyone to live based on how they feel or think.

     I don’t know about you, but I am far from perfect, and so I want to rise above my own thoughts, feelings and desires which are prone to mistakes to live in conformity with the truth. You see while our thoughts, and feelings have some importance, basing our life decisions on those thoughts and feelings is extremely dangerous. After all I can feel like having pizza for every meal, but if I acted on that feeling I would be very unhealthy or when someone makes me really mad, I can fee like killing them, but killing them would still be wrong. Likewise, I can think I have the power to fly, but when I jump out of an airplane that thought doesn’t save me and I’ll end up dead or I can think I have created a new and advanced parachute, but that thought will not save me if I jump out of a plane only to discover the parachute doesn’t work like I thought it would. I don’t know about you, but I want the courage and humility of the Magi to search for the truth and not settle for the comfort of what I think the truth should be. Like the wise men we should desire the courage to set out on the journey of faith, with the humility to follow where it leads us, trusting that the truth will set us free,[2] that it will lead us to true joy and peace.

     As we start out on this journey of faith, we are invited to look to the Church as our star. For while there have been may great thinkers and founders of churches and religions, none of them compare to Jesus who founded the Catholic Church on the rock of St. Peter.[3] Like Jesus all of those great thinkers and founders of churches died and while they stayed dead, Jesus is the one person in human history who rose from the dead. I don’t know about you, but when I die, I want to rise to the glory of heaven and so even when our faith challenges me, or other churches seem more entertaining or relevant, I would rather place my trust in Jesus who proved himself by rising from the dead and surrender my own thoughts, feelings and desires to the wisdom of the Catholic Church that He founded.

     My friends, during Advent we were promised that God would come to seek us out, on Christmas He came as promised and today’s feast of the Epiphany invites us to seek out Him who first came to us at Christmas. It begs us to ask if we will be like the magi from the east or like Herod and his wise men. The magi saw that shinning star and left the comforts of their own thoughts, feelings, and desires to pursue the truth and were lead to a deep personal encounter with Jesus Christ. Herod and his wise men were given that same invitation but feared surrendering their will to the truth and thus missed the opportunity to have a life changing relationship with Jesus Christ. Just as the star in the sky invited the magi to seek after Jesus, who is the way, the truth and the life[4] so to the Catholic Church stands as that star shinning brightly in the darkness of todays world inviting us to find true peace, love and joy. We can be like Herod and allow our own thoughts, feelings, and desires to paralyze us or we can be willing to move beyond our prideful selves and journey with the magi towards the truth which Jesus left us in our Church.

[1] Jn 14:6

[2] Jn 8:32

[3] Mt 16:18

[4] Jn 14:6

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