My Dear Sisters and Brothers! The Great Solemnity of Epiphany captures this restlessness of the human heart searching for God. Blessed Charles hasn’t been the only one asking the big question: “Does God exist?” What we celebrate today is the answer to that question.
In the Cambridge Dictionary epiphany is defined as “a moment when you feel that you understand, or suddenly become conscious of, something that is very important to you.” The same dictionary also identifies epiphany as “a powerful religious experience.” That day in the late October 1886 when Charles de Foucauld entered the church of St Augustine in Paris and ended up going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation meets the criteria set up by the Cambridge Dictionary as does the visit of the Magi to the Infant Jesus. The Wise Men understood, while they were still in their home country, far away from Bethlehem, that the New Born King of the Jews was very important to them. That’s why they set out for such a long journey. This Child of the Virgin Mary had become the centre of their Universe. The Wise Men, who watched stars and planets, had become like the planets of the Solar System which orbit the Sun. After they saw the star in the East their life trajectory was in relation to the Saviour. St Matthew gives us the story of those men following the star but ultimately the star they followed was the One whom the Bible calls the Rising Star, Jesus Christ. The Rising Star, Jesus Christ is the reason for the arrival to Bethlehem and the reason for them returning to their own country by a different way. They arrived to Bethlehem because the Child was very important to them. They longed to see him. They returned home by a different way because the Child was very important to them. They wanted to protect him. It was their powerful religious experience. But some may ask: “How does it help those who still search for God?” Dear Friends, let’s return to our second reading from the Letter to the Ephesians. St Paul speaks about the mystery “that has been revealed through the Spirit.” Epiphany for us Christians, is the revelation or manifestation of God. What we celebrate today is that God makes the first move to address our unbelief. It was God who gave the sign to the Wise Men first. They made their journey to the City of David because it was revealed to them. God who has become man for us and for our salvation, doesn’t play hide and go seek with us. But as he revealed his Nativity to the shepherds and the Magi, he also reveals himself to us. Should we feel sorry for ourselves that there is no shining star in the sky to help our lack of faith? Not at all. We have been given the Rising Star, Jesus Christ, who revealed himself to Charles de Faucould when a random priest he met at St Augustin church invited him to go to the Reconciliation instead of having a dispute on the existence of God. In that church in Paris there is still a little plaque saying “ici” which means “right here.”
As we contemplate the Matthew passage for this Solemnity of Epiphany we can detect that the Magi were given a revelation of God, that God made his first move which than moved them. However the Magi are not the only people in the story who were given such a revelation. King Herod, his royal court and all the VIPs in Jerusalem were given a divine revelation through the ministry of the Wise Men. God who revealed his Nativity to the Magi directed the star in such a way that the Magi brought the news of the newborn Saviour to Jerusalem. That news kept the Wise Men going but as we remember it didn’t move Herod and his people out of their comfortable living at all. They said No to what was revealed to them because it would challenge their own lifestyle. They didn’t want to be another planet orbiting Jesus. They remained self-focused.
As we are concluding the Christmastide, there is still one day to go, let us ask ourselves whether we are humble enough to appreciate the ways God reveals himself to us. Let us also ask ourselves what or who hinders us from becoming a planet orbiting Jesus Christ, a planet which can tell others that Jesus Christ, our Rising Star is the centre not only our life but the whole Universe. Amen.