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Monday, January 21, 2013

Epiphany

Traditionally Epiphany celebrates three events in Christ’s life. The adoration of the Magi, the baptism in the Jordan, and the wedding feast in Cana, Galilee, yet in all these, the message is the same: this is the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One. It is a message highly important both then and now.

As the magi arrive in Jerusalem we hear them saying, “where is he born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East and have come to worship him.” And so following the star they come to the manger hoping to find the new-born king, and as they draw near, I would like to put the words of Christ’s heavenly Father at the baptism on the lips of St. Joseph, his earthly father spoken to the approaching Magi, “Behold, my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” The magi, who for us symbolize the gentiles or the non-Jewish people of the world, found the king of the Jews in the son of Joseph, the son of David, and they paid him homage with gifts. Yet doing so they must have looked to the woman holding the child, to Mary, with great reverence knowing her to be the mother of the new-born king, and if we were to hear her say to them those words that inaugurated our Lord’s earthly ministry at a wedding in Cana, we would surely find the Magi repeating them in silent wonder, “do whatever he tells you…” And like any devoted subject of a true king, they would. In fact, a tradition tells us that they were among the first Christians of the early Church.

Its true that a linear timeline is unique to the experience of the material world, and if we bend the rules with the Church to encounter these three moments at once in a hyperbolic scene as beautiful in its encompassing grandeur as it is potent in its tender intimacy, we find ourselves at the heart of the mystery of this special feast: God has broken into our history. The magi came from afar to adore a baby born, the beloved son of the Eternal Father, the son of Mary, who in turn implores us to be obedient to the always present in-breaking of God in our world. And so we rejoice because Jesus, in his birth, in his assuming of the human experience, in his ministry on earth has given us new access to the life of God, and we like the Magi before us must go to him in gratitude and humble adoration.

May his Holy Name be praised.

God bless you,
Br. Joseph Michael Fino, CFR

Most Blessed Sacrament Friary
Newark, NJ
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