Feast of the Epiphany- 2021

Feast of the Epiphany

Today we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany! Have you ever said in a moment of joy, a moment of enthusiastic exclamation, “I’ve just had an epiphany!” What was that moment like for you? What were you trying to communicate? Most likely if you used that phrase, you were trying to say that your mind had been illumined. You were trying to communicate that something exciting and new had revealed to you. Suddenly you had come upon a wonderful thing – most likely in response to a problem you were trying to solve. If you had an epiphany then you would probably say that the light suddenly came on – referring to some bright and illuminating understanding that you had reached.

We can understand such moments in our personal lives. And yet today is the feast of the ultimate Epiphany. Today we celebrate God revealed. We celebrate God born among us.

In today’s Gospel, we hear of the Epiphany experienced by the three wise men, the three kings, the three Magi.

We have heard this story so many times that perhaps we assume that it was an easy thing for these wise men to simply locate the birthplace of the Christ child and due Him homage.

However let’s think about the personal faith journey of these men so that we can follow their good example. These were three kings. They were powerful. They had every convenience and comfort of their day. They wanted for nothing according to the time in which they lived. And yet despite all of their power, wealth, and comfort – despite the fact that they had all the world could offer- they were wise enough to realize that their souls crave something more. The human soul craves connection to the Divine.

They were wise enough to go to Scripture for guidance. This demonstrates an openness to be guided. Although they were kings, they did not claim to know it at all. They were not arrogant or self-centered enough to think that they had all the knowledge. They sought counsel from Scripture. They were able to ascertain the time of the Christ child’s birth. And they were able to allow themselves to be guided by God‘s plan. They allowed themselves to be guided by the sign provided by God, namely the Bethlehem star.

This is an important point in our own faith journey. Do we think we know it all? Or if we have a true desire to connect with God, do we have the wisdom to seek the counsel and guidance of Scripture? Do we allow ourselves to be guided by the wisdom of the Church?

Upon finding the Christ child, the three kings due Him homage. They prostrate themselves. This also is an important point in our personal faith journey. It is a call to humility. Humility is not putting ourselves down or thinking that we are worthless. Rather, humility is seeing things in terms of proper order, in terms of proper relationship. It acknowledges that God is God and that we are not. It is a position that gives thanks and praise to God because He is our Almighty Creator. Also, humility involves a spirit of gratitude. It is a desire to give back to God as a means of showing thankfulness for all His blessings bestowed upon us.

Do we have a spirit of humility in our relationship with God? Do we give God thanks and praise simply because He has created us? Do we easily see and recognize blessings bestowed?

And what do we give back to God? What of ourselves do we offer to the Lord? Like the wise men, we can allow ourselves to be guided. We can give God our trust. We can give God our openness. Like the Magi, we can look for God’s messages in our lives. The Magi recognized God’s activity with the sign of the Bethlehem star. They recognized God‘s message in the dream I wonder how many messages God is sending to you in your life. Some may be easy to see and others may require more effort. Some may be obvious and some may be subtle

When thinking about what you can give back to God, in addition to a spirit of gratitude, what else comes to mind? In challenging moments can you give God your patience applied to the moment or to those in your life? To say it another way, if you are frustrated by someone you can say in a moment of prayer, “Lord for You, I will be patient in this moment”.

Can we give God a spirit of joy throughout our day? Waking and starting the day determined to smile and lift the spirits of others as best we can.

Today as we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany, may we together be open to God‘s messages in our lives. May we together allow ourselves to be guided by Scripture and God‘s plan. And may we always together recognize the great gift and revelation of the love that our God has for us. Then we shall be radiant at what we see, our hearts shall throb and overflow – proclaiming the praises of the Lord!

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah

Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come,
the glory of the Lord shines upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth,
and thick clouds cover the peoples;
but upon you the LORD shines,
and over you appears his glory.
Nations shall walk by your light,
and kings by your shining radiance.
Raise your eyes and look about;
they all gather and come to you:
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.

Then you shall be radiant at what you see,
your heart shall throb and overflow,
for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you,
the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.
Caravans of camels shall fill you,
dromedaries from Midian and Ephah;
all from Sheba shall come
bearing gold and frankincense,
and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.

Ps 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13

R. (cf. 11) Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

O God, with your judgment endow the king,
   and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
   and your afflicted ones with judgment.

R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Justice shall flower in his days,
   and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
   and from the River to the ends of the earth.

R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

The kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts;
   the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute.
All kings shall pay him homage,
   all nations shall serve him.

R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
   and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
   the lives of the poor he shall save.

R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6 

Now it has been revealed that the Gentiles are coheirs of the promise.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians

Brothers and sisters:
You have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace
   that was given to me for your benefit,
   namely, that the mystery was made known to me by revelation.
It was not made known to people in other generations
   as it has now been revealed
   to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit:
   that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body,
   and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Mt 2:2

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Mt 2:1-12

We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod,
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.”
When King Herod heard this,
he was greatly troubled,
and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people,
he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea,
for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler,
who is to shepherd my people Israel.”
Then Herod called the magi secretly
and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said,
“Go and search diligently for the child.
When you have found him, bring me word,
that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way.

The Gospel of the Lord…

2 thoughts on “Feast of the Epiphany- 2021

  1. Powerful message for our Catholic faith. Thank you Father Andrew Hougan. I will discuss with my pastor. He is a good priest. He loves the Diocese of Rockford. He loves his priesthood. I thank God for you both.


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