GOD’S GLORY WILL SHINE UPON YOU!
The Almighty God is omnipresent but freely manifests His glory in a spectacular way to those who sincerely seek Him. Meanwhile, today, the Catholic Church universally celebrates the Feast of Epiphany or Theophany (the manifestation of God). God manifests Himself to all humanity through the Gentiles—the Magi (wise men or astrologers).
These Magi, whose names are Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar, were learned scientists from Persia, India, and Arabia, respectively. They superstitiously believed that each person’s destiny was governed by the stars (horoscopes). Can this be true? Of course, no! It is only the Almighty God, and He alone knows, controls, or governs people’s destinies (Jeremiah 29:12–13).
WHAT IS OUR HOPE THEN IN THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD?
Our hope lies in the promises of God made through His prophets in the scriptures (Titus 2:13; Psalm 39:7; Romans 15:13). In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah prophesied about the future glory of Jerusalem through the manifestation of God’s presence. The glory that will envelop Jerusalem as well as all the nations will transform the gloom of sadness and despair that befell them during their exile. Thus, giving way to heavenly brightness, for God will dwell within it once more.
Gloriously, the prophecy of Isaiah has been fulfilled in today’s Feast of Epiphany. God used the Magi’s superstition to teach them the truth, and in response to the Spirit of God, their lives were transformed. In fact, this revelation to the Gentiles implies that God can use any means to reveal Himself to whomever He chooses. For that reason, no one should monopolize God like the early Jews. Or think that he alone has exclusive knowledge of God and that no other person does.
CAN HUMAN KNOWLEDGE ALONE BE SUFFICIENT FOR DIVINE REVELATION?
As we can see in the gospel (Matthew 2:1–12), Epiphany of the Lord, the Magi wouldn’t have experienced the full glory of the divine light only with their human knowledge, predictions, or superstitions if they hadn’t consulted the Scriptures, which finally led them to Jesus Christ, the light of the world (John 8:12). This implies that our talents, cultures, and academic qualifications alone are limited and insufficient for us to fully and truly experience divine revelation or manifestation.
We can only experience that if we allow the light of the Holy Spirit to guide us through the Scriptures. As the scripture says, “The entrance of the word of God brings light” (Psalm 119:130). It has the ability to transform us and push away the frontiers of ignorance and darkness in our lives.
KING HEROD’S ATTITUDES IN THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD
Although King Herod initially did not know the birthplace of the Newborn King (Messiah), namely, Bethlehem. Even when he read the scriptures after the Epiphany of the Lord, he refused to admit the truth. He cunningly asked the Magi to go and find out so that he would personally go and pay him homage. This was to cover up his secret scheming before the Magi. But the Magi tricked him and never returned to give him feedback. Consequently, he became jealous and filled with hatred afterward, which later culminated in his Massacre of the Holy Innocents (Matthew 2:16–18).
Regrettably, this is the attitude of most of our leaders today. Whenever some of these leaders see talented people around them, they become jealous. Hence, they may begin to see them as rivals and threats to their position. Most times, they use subtle techniques to discredit or subdue them, yet they smile before them. Sometimes, they may resort to all kinds of wicked acts, such as character assassination, victimization, blackmail, maltreatment, killing, etc., so as to get rid of their rivals or someone they feel is shining or progressing more than them. Just Imagine!
THE GLORY OF GOD WILL SHINE UPON YOU
The glory of God Almighty will always shine upon you (Zechariah 2:5). There are no evil forces that will be able to stop the destiny (star) of anyone who is being guided by the Holy Spirit. If God is for us, no human or spiritual forces (powers) can be against us or stop us from fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives (Romans 8:31). For no weapon projected against the children of God will be able to prosper (Isaiah 54:17).
So, if the Almighty God is protecting us, even when the evil ones try to stop us, God will still outsmart them the way He tricked Herod and his household. The scripture says, “They shall plan and gather to attack you, but their plans will be scattered” (Isaiah 54:15; Deuteronomy 28:7).
DO NOT STAND AS HEROD TO OTHERS: GOD IS WATCHING YOU
So, brethren, are there people standing as Herod in your life? Are you standing as Herod in other people’s lives? Hindering someone’s progress? Are you directly or indirectly destroying someone’s image via gossip, backbiting, character assassination, etc.? Are you maltreating or denying people their rights because you are in authority?
The God Almighty is watching you seriously! Just know that people’s destinies (stars) can be delayed but cannot be denied. They will surely shine to the glory of God at the appointed time. 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).
It is worthy of note that the Almighty God can manifest Himself to anyone who sincerely seeks Him, irrespective of his or her religious or cultural background. As we observed in the Epiphany of the Lord, He manifested Himself to the Magi (gentiles) through the Star. But today, He manifests Himself to us through His Words and Sacraments, especially through the Holy Eucharist.
Finally, every human being is richly blessed and endowed with multifaceted talents. So, by discovering, focusing on, and always developing our own talents, let us arise and shine for the common good. Furthermore, we should not stifle the talents of others but promote them. We should not stand as Herod to those whom we think are more talented or better than us in one way or another. Like the three wise men (Magi), let us always adore and worship the Almighty God with our talents, gifts, resources, and, most importantly, with our lives. When we do this, then, God’s glory will always envelop us forever!
I pray that the glory of God guide you, dispel the darkness in your hearts, and protect you and your family from the schemes of the evil ones. May His glorious splendor help you to shine like a bright star and fulfill your destiny triumphantly through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.
Peace of Christ be with you…
Rev. Fr. Ben Okala, C.S.Sp.