Monday, January 09, 2012

Epiphany Homily

(This is from memory, I had a mental outline...)

I started by explaining how Epiphany completes the Christmas Season, more or less (technically the Baptism of the Lord does; however that's not celebrated on a Sunday this year). I explained how it represents the fulfillment of prophecy--Isaiah spoke about a light to the nations, and all the nations would come to worship the one true God. Little Judah, about to snuffed out in Isaiah's time, seems an improbable means for that; but when the Magi arrive--standing for all the Gentiles that would come to believe in Jesus--then the promise is fulfilled. I pointed out that 1/3 of the world believes in Jesus, so it's come true; except that another 2/3rds remain to be reached.

Then I talked about the theme of light--and joked about all the candles we had lit. And I pointed out that if God wanted to fill the world with brilliant light, he could do that easily by causing our sun, or a nearby star, to blow up--and we'd go out in a blaze of glory! God's courtesy is to ask our cooperation in filling hearts with light.

So, how will we increase light in ourselves--and in then in others--this coming year?

I offered three practical suggestions:

> Forgive. I talked about the difficulty of forgiving and steps to overcome that. I explained that when we forgive, we aren't saying what others did wrong was OK, but we are turning them over to God to deal with, and letting go ourselves. I asked, what if God called you and said, "I understand So-and-so owes you a big debt--what if I repay it?" And of course we know what comes next if we agree: God has already paid!

> I said that one way to make forgiving easier is to experience forgiveness--i.e., in the sacrament of reconciliation. The more we appreciate how much God has forgiven us, the easier we will find it to give forgiveness. And I recalled our Lord's words that the measure we use, will be used for us; so forgiveness is practical; measure mercy to others generously, so we can receive it in the same measure.

> And I concluded by saying, to help with both of these, try encountering the Light of Christ at the source--visit our chapel (where we have perpetual exposition). I reminded folks the chapel was open 24 hours, and a short visit with kids would be well worthwhile. But I cautioned that a direct encounter with the Lord might change things, just like it changed the Magi. Once we see him, what might he ask?

That's my best recollection.

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