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Saturday, January 04, 2014

Epiphany - January 6

Feast of the Epiphany not only reminds us of the historical event described in today's Gospel according to St. Matthew. This ceremony draws our attention to the fact much more significant and unusual, namely the fact that God wants to reveal himself to his people. This revelation of God repeatedly described in the Old Testament is final and ultimate in the Incarnate Word of God, Jesus Christ. The author of the Letter to the Hebrews puts it very clearly when he writes: "In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has  spoken unto us by his Son" (Hebrews 1:1-2). It is a matter of cardinal importance the recognition of the importance of the fact of God's revelation in the Son. God Himself decided that the best and most appropriate way of self-revelation to man is a revelation in Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God.

This self-revelation of God is very often presented in Scripture as the Enlightenment, the coming of light "for enlightenment." Simeon says in the temple at the time of sacrifice: "Now, Master, you may let your servant depart in peace, according to your word. 'because my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel." (Luke 2:29-32). And St. John writes in the prologue to his Gospel: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men, and the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." (John 1:1-5). Also, Christ himself says of himself: "I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me may not remain in darkness." (John 12:46)

You could even say that this is the most important element of faith. God decided to "enlighten" his people, "enlighten" a man living in the darkness of sin and therefore revealed himself as Jesus Christ - God incarnate. If you negate the fact of the incarnation, if you negate the truth that Jesus Christ is the Incarnate Son of God, the self-revelation of God, then all our faith is shattered, because we then deny also that He is the Messiah, the Savior, Redeemer, Liberator. And then there is no salvation, no eternal life, there is no Divine Mercy, and everything is an illusion and misunderstanding.

That is why Christians from the beginning so much defended the truth of the self-revelation of God through the Incarnation. And this is why today this truth is most strongly eradicated by unbelievers and atheists. Satan is constantly trying to convince us that Jesus is NOT the incarnate Son of God and He is only unusual (but only) man, a wise guru, a teacher, an itinerant preacher. If Jesus is not the final word of God spoken to man, if He is not the Light of the World, then we still live in the darkness, and the darkness engulfed us, we still live in the darkness of sin, because there is no Redeemer, no one who by "enlightenment" moves us out of darkness.

But there is one more important element of this divine pedagogy of enlightenment. Namely, that  actually to be enlightened one must recognize and accept the One by Whom the enlightenment  is performed. Magi from the East in today's Gospel are looking for light, looking for the newly-born Son of God, they recognize and welcome Him, offering Him homage. But not all follow the wise example. As in the second part of the prologue St. Jan writes: "The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world knew him not. (LIGHT) came to his own, but his own did not receive Him." (John 1:9-11) And that's why so many people continue to live in darkness and hopelessness.

In an interview with Nicodemus, Jesus also says sadly, "... the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil" (John 3:19). It is unfortunately still true for many of those who have rejected and continue to reject the light, even in our times. This is true of those who loved darkness because their deeds are evil. And because they are afraid of light, afraid of the Incarnate Son of God and the truth that they do not want to accept. So on today's Solemnity of the Epiphany ask yourself this very important question: Can I say that according to the expression of St.. Paul "We are all sons of light and sons of the day", are not rather that we are the sons "of the night and darkness?" (1 Thessalonians 5:5). Is the light of Jesus Christ illuminating the darkness of my life? Is it transforming and illuminating? For as long as I live in sin, I reject the truth of the Incarnation of the Son of God, until I  give up myself to the sanctifying and purifying action of light, I do not live in light and darkness still envelops me.

Pope Benedict XVI criticized the "cool academic approach" of the Scripture, which leads to the "vivisection secrecy" with "ignoring the dimension of the supernatural". "These were taught, off those whom found the Magi coming from the East to Bethlehem, the Pharisees. They knew where the child was born, but the message has not touched their lives. They could provide information, but it has not contributed to the formation of their own lives, "

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