Sunday, January 6, 2019
Epiphany of the Lord
The Revised Common Lectionary passages for the Lord’s Day are:
First Reading: Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalm: 72:1-7, 10-14
Second Reading: Ephesians 3:1-12
Gospel Reading: Matthew 2:1-12
The liturgical color for the day is: White
Epiphany means appearance. Another way to think of appearance is to frame it as influences. In Matthew’s account of the birth of Christ there are both outside influences and inside influences. Those influences are not neutral.
No influences, no appearances, no epiphanies are neutral. The Wise Ones—they are an outside influence. Their influence makes it more clear who this Jesus is. This is a remarkable child and an extraordinary event.
Herod—he is an outside influence with a threat.
All the epiphanies, all the appearances, all the influences are not merely outside ones—there are internal influences too. The Magi have one—“and having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod they returned to their own country by another way.”
“In a dream…” It isn’t about paying attention to dreams, but it is about listening to the inside voice—to that discerning spirit that is within us—that IS the Holy Spirit.
It is that same influence that caused Mary and Joseph to get up and flee to Egypt in the night: “Take the child and flee into Egypt.” They trusted that influence. They followed that influence.
That influence/appearance/epiphany/wisdom is in us. But to heed it we are called to pay attention. We are called to see/discern and be attentive to that presence that is God-Within-Us.
The Feast of the Epiphany is a day when we celebrate the appearance/influence within the Magi, Mary and Joseph, and within us for the message is clear: God-IS-With-Us.