First Reading: Isaiah 60:1-6; Second Reading: Ephesians 3:2-3; 5-6; Gospel Matthew 2:1-12.
THEME: THE GLORIOUS SPLENDOR OF GOD ALMIGHTY IS ALWAYS WITH YOU!
God is ubiquitous as well as multidimensional, but He freely manifests or reveals His Glorious Splendor to anyone who seeks Him sincerely, and also guides the person throughout his or her endeavors.
Meanwhile, in order to keep the hope of the Israel’s exilic returnees alive, prophet Isaiah in the FIRST READING envisioned the splendor of the future Jerusalem, which the Special Radiance of God 🔥✨💥 will illuminate, and all the nations will come to share in it, bearing their gifts. That the gloom of sadness and despair which enveloped the derelict Jerusalem during their exile will give way to a heavenly brightness, for God will dwell within it once more. So that the gentiles would forsake their idols and partake in that light. The light of the world that shines in darkness and dispels it (John 8:12; 1:5). This light mostly comes through the Word of God (Jesus Christ – Revelation 19:13). Just as the scripture says, “The entrance of the Word of God brings light” (Psalm 119:130).
Gloriously, the prophecy of Isaiah has been fulfilled in today’s Feast of Epiphany (manifestation or appearance of a Special thing or a Person). It is the Feast that commemorates the manifestation of God to all humanity through the Gentiles without limitation. God Manifested Himself to the Gentiles through the Magi (Wise Men/ Astrologers). These Magi who were named Mechoir, Caspar and Balthazar were the learned scientists from Persia, India and Arabia respectively, who superstitiously believed that each person has a star, and the person’s fate is being governed by that star (horoscopes). This is not true, it is only God that controls people’s destiny (Jeremiah 29:12-13).
However, God used the Magi’s superstition to teach them the truth, and in response to the Spirit of God, their lives were transformed. This revelation to the Gentiles implies that God can use any means to reveal Himself to anyone He chooses. Also, we should not monopolize God, like the Jews who believed that the Messiah is for them only, and not for others, thinking that we have it all and no other people or persons have the knowledge of God.
Furthermore, in the GOSPEL, the Magi (Astrologers) wouldn’t have experienced the Full Splendor of the Divine Light 💥 (New Born King) only with their human knowledge, predictions or superstitions if they had not consulted the Scriptures, which finally led them to Christ. This implies that our talents, culture, and academic qualifications alone are limited, and cannot truly help us to experience Divine Revelation/ Manifestation, until we allow the Light of the Holy Spirit to guide us through the Scriptures. For the Word of God is Power (Romans 1:16), which has the ability to transform us and push away the frontiers of ignorance and darkness in our lives.
Unfortunately, instead of seeing jubilant people, rather the Magi found suspicion, indifference and hatred in the reigning King (Herod) – a hatred which later culminated to the Massacre of Holy Innocents (Matthew 2:16-18). Among the religious leaders they found knowledge of their past history, but utter indifference as regards the present and the future. These leaders knew the birth place of the Messiah, that is, Bethlehem, but refused to admit the truth. Subsequently, in some years later, they tried to stifle the propagation of the good news brought by Jesus Christ; refusing to admit Him as the Messiah. This is what happens when we are over ambitious.
Moreover, some of our leaders today are like Herod who doesn’t want rivals on his way. They see talented persons as threats and thus, using subtle techniques to discredit or subdue them, yet smile before them. Some of them are sadists, they are always angry and embittered when they see people around them progressing. Some go to the extent of committing murder either directly (physical killing) or indirectly (character assassination) so as to ensure that they get rid of their rivals or someone they feel that is shining or progressing more than them. Just Imagine!
Nevertheless, there are no powers or plans of the evil one that will be able to stop the destiny (star) of anyone that is being guided by God Almighty; for no weapon formed against the person will be able to prosper (Isaiah 54:17). So, if God is for us, no man, woman, powers or forces can be against us, or stop us from fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives (Romans 8:31). Even if they try to stop us, God will still outsmart them the way He tricked Herod and his household in today’s Gospel. For the scripture says, “they shall plan and gather to attack you, but their plans will be scattered” (Deuteronomy 28:7; Isaiah 54:15).
So brethren, are you one of those standing as Herod in people’s lives? Are you blocking someone’s progress directly or indirectly? Are you denying someone his or her right because you are in authority? God Almighty is watching... Someone’s Destiny (Star ✨⭐) can be delayed, but cannot be denied. It must surely shine 💥 to the Glory of God. Since God’s Glory has shone upon us, no man born of a woman can stop our destiny which has been ordered by God (Isaiah 60:1-3; 44:24-26; Revelation 3:7-10).
Finally, God manifested Himself to the Magi through the Star, but today He manifests Himself to us through His WORDS and SACRAMENTS, especially in the HOLY EUCHARIST. So let us always adore and worship Him with our talents, gifts, resources and most importantly, with our lives forever. For the glorious splendor of God Almighty is always with us!
May the Glory of God guide you and dispel the darkness in your hearts, and protect you and your family from the plans of the evil ones, and may the glorious splendor of God Almighty help you to shine like bright star 💥 and fulfil your destiny triumphantly, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Peace of Christ be with you…
Rev. Fr. Ben Okala, C.S.Sp.