Sunday, January 3, 2010  We pray that we will continue to serve and discover Jesus in our journey through life.

Homily, January 3, 2010

Fr. Ed Oen, C.PP.S.

Two hundred fifty million Orthodox Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus on the Feast of the Epiphany. Rather, we have chosen Christmas, December 25.  Today, we celebrate along with all those Christians in the near east as they celebrate the birth of Jesus.

This feast emphasizes Christ’s manifestation or showing of Himself to the Magi. The word “epiphany” means showing, a demonstration or manifestation.

Today’s gospel tells us how the Magi followed the light of the star of faith that God had given them. The feast of the Epiphany highlights the fact that Jesus came into life to save everyone. It was not just the Jews. In today’s second reading by St. Paul to the Ephesians, St. Paul tells about God’s secret plan to try to gain the salvation of everyone. The Jews thought they were the chosen race; they thought they were the only ones who would be saved – that they were the only ones that God loved. But Jesus revealed that He loves everyone. And we are all co-heirs with the Jews.

God gave us life, faith and happiness. This happiness helps us find Jesus everywhere as we journey through life. God reveals Himself to us in new ways every day of our lives. The journey of faith can be exciting because Jesus manifests Himself in common things day after day.  If we were to take one of these little snowflakes and look at it under a microscope, it would look different from any other. God is of infinite variety. God has all kinds of things for us to discover. Jesus is here in our midst, in our homes, at work. Jesus is always with your families. It is our task to keep rediscovering Him.

Where are some of the obvious places that Jesus manifests Himself? Here in Church, we can easily find Jesus in sacred scripture. We find Jesus when we read God’s word. Or, we read scripture at home. Scripture challenges us, comforts us. Sometimes when we read scripture we try to find comfort but all of a sudden we realize that Jesus is confronting us and telling us to change something in our life. Some people put the Bible away because they are looking for comfort right off the bat. But Jesus comes along and confronts us with our sins. And then He challenges us to move on – and then He gives us comfort.

We are blind, and slow in understanding. Sometimes it is very difficult to understand what the Lord is trying to tell us.

Jesus is especially present this morning in Holy Communion. We have to open our hearts to the Lord; we cannot expect Him to just come on in. Our act of faith comes when we bow and we answer “Amen!” before receiving Communion. Some people come to Communion and do not bow or say Amen. One wonders what they are thinking.  Jesus is coming to them; we need to bow to Him. A bow of the head says, “I understand”.

Jesus is present in all the sacraments, especially Reconciliation, the Anointing o the Sick, the Sacrament of Marriage.

Some of the other obvious places that Jesus is present?  Jesus is present in the poor. The lonely, the hungry, the sick – and even our enemies. Jesus was on some of the most unexpected faces. Sometimes we learn things from our enemies because they will tell us things that no one else will tell us. So, there is always a need for enemies to help us get to where we are going. We don’t like to have enemies but they are the ones who open our eyes and help us understand that we have a lot of rough edges.

Jesus is present in sickness and sorrow. Each time we meet Jesus, He changes us. Just as the Magi took every road to meet Jesus, so we take every route to meet the Lord. We meet Him with a different outlook. We pray that we will continue to serve and discover Jesus in our journey through life. Jesus tries to get our attention in millions of ways. He comes from this angle and if we don’t notice it, He comes from another angle.  And, finally, one day, we hear the Lord’s voice. But, it is usually in silence – although it is not always that way. Jesus can speak to us through a television program or a movie or especially through other people. Or He can speak to us through the quietness of your day when you are alone. God finds ways to enter our lives. What we pray for today is to be like the Magi, to have faith that will lead us closer to Jesus, to understand how much the Lord loves us, how much He is trying to teach us day in and day out – whether it’s a snow flake or a person .. or whether it’s just looking at the stars – God is always speaking to us. We thank God this morning for providing the star of light that we might follow it through that faith which He gives to each and every one of us.

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