Homily – Epiphany 2020 – Fr. James Conner

Epiphany  – 2020

“We have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship Him”. With these words, the three Magi, coming from the East, make known to us and all peoples that great Mystery which Paul reveals to us in the second reading today: the Mystery made known now to all peoples of the world. It is not made known only to the Jewish people, the chosen People of God, but to ALL peoples: Jew and Gentile, who were originally called by God when the triune God declared: “Let us made man in our image and likeness”.

But mankind failed to recognize itself as being in the image of God and tried to make all things in THEIR own image. In so doing, they created a world filled with pain and suffering right up to this present day. But God has not chosen to leave us in this way, but has come among us, as one like us in all things but sin. In this way He comes as the second Adam – the true image of God without sin or pain or suffering. He comes to free us from the suffering which we have inflicted on ourselves and one another throughout time and history.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is Himself the Star in the East, who makes known to us what our true destiny is to be. We also are called to be sons and daughters of God – in His very own image and likeness. He comes as the revelation that God is a God who is Love Itself, and consequently the only command that He gave us is to love one another as He has loved us. If this were to be realized, then the world would be a very different place.

Just yesterday our community had a communal dialogue on the issue of suffering in life and the ways to deal with it in daily affairs. Today gives us the full answer to that. We are to deal with suffering only by keeping our eye on the Star in the East – or in the words of St. Benedict, we are to “prefer nothing whatever to Christ”. If we were truly to live in the image of God in which we were created, then we would be like God and be the image of Love within this world. Then truly, as Isaiah foretold, all suffering would be removed from the world and we would realize the full meaning of God being one with us.

Then all humanity and all creation would be that true Image of God, that Star in the East, that manifestation of God within time and space. Jesus Christ has come among us and absorbed all the pain and suffering of all time I His own suffering and death. He has willed that now we should also share in His own joy when He prayed: “Father, glorify your Son – your sons and daughters – that your sons and daughters may glorify You. I have manifested your name to those whom You have given Me. I am praying for them whom you have given Me. I am no more in the world, but they are in the world. I pray that they may be one even as we are One, so that they may be that Star in the East which reveals our presence to the world and their presence to one another, that the love with which You have loved Me may be in them and I in them.”

This is the full manifestation – Epiphany  – of God present in the world and in one another. Then there will be not simply a Star in the East, but the living presence of the living and loving God and all creation and all peoples in that same image and likeness.