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Epiphany

Today we continue our celebration of the birth of Christ, and I want to look at that special event from the viewpoint of the magi.


Perhaps you have noticed that the magi have finally made it into our nativity scene. The magi were scientists who were following the path of a new star in the sky. They believed that every king has his own star. So, the appearance of a new star told them that there must be a new king somewhere. They came from the east and they travelled only at night and every night they searched the sky until they found their star. And then they would continue their pilgrimage. The magi followed that star more than 500 miles until they finally came to the place where Jesus was born.


Whenever we hear that story, we should remember that the magi represent all people of all nations - including us. Yes. We are in the Christmas story because the magi represent all people. No one is excluded. We are making a pilgrimage just as the magi were making a pilgrimage. We are following a star which guides us through the darkness and our star is a person. Jesus of Nazareth is our star. The Lord Jesus is the bright light that guides us through the dark times of our lives.


Matthew says in his gospel that Jesus is the light that shines upon the people and takes away their darkness. (4:16) And in John’s gospel Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (8:12) The darkness that surrounds us is a spiritual darkness.


We are living in darkness because we fail to do the good things that we want to do, and we do the evil things that we said that we would never do. We are living in darkness because our selfishness controls us more than we would like to admit. We say that we love everyone but we show favoritism to those who are nice to us and we stay away from those who rub us the wrong way.


Sometimes we ask ourselves: Where does this darkness come from? Some people say that it comes from original sin. Some say that it comes from Satan. Some say that it is the after effect of the selfish decisions that we make. I believe that spiritual darkness is caused by a combination of all three of these factors.


The spiritual darkness is caused partially by original sin and partially by Satan and partially by the after effects of our selfish decisions. However, when all is said and done, the spiritual darkness turns out to be powerless when it comes face to face with the light of the world.


Chapter One of John’s Gospel says it so well: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Jesus is the light shining in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome him.


Our normal everyday experience tells us that light takes away darkness… every time. The darkness never jumps up and put the light out. The light always takes away the darkness. That means that those who turn away from sin and follow the Gospel are living in the light… And the light is Christ.


Saint John says that we are not forced to live in the light. We have free will. In Chapter One he says: “The light came to His own people but His own people did not accept Him. But to those who did accept Him He gave the power to become children of God.” So the choice is ours to make. We are free to stay in the darkness of sin or turn away from the darkness and live in the light. And the light is a person: the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. I will close by once again quoting from Matthew’s Gospel and John’s Gospel.


Matthew 4:16 says that Jesus is the light that shines upon the people and takes away their darkness. And in John 8:12 Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”


We pray now for the grace that we need to follow Jesus and live in His light. We live in His light when we follow His commandments and follow His beatitudes.

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