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News & Resources

Gospel Reflection: January 8, 2023 - Feast of the Epiphany

January 7, 2023

Matthew 2:1-12

This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany. Most of what we think we KNOW about this event actually comes more from tradition and artists’ rendering than Scripture. Scripture tells us only that magi came from the east. (Magi is a Greek term which referred to a kind of subclass of Persian priests.) They stopped by King Herod for directions (bad choice) and then went on to follow the star to the place where the child was. The majority of paintings show three men (we don’t really know how many) in a stable shortly after Jesus’ birth. Most scholars agree that the magi probably found Jesus at home in Nazareth after the family had returned. We don’t know when they first saw the star, how long they traveled before the ill-advised encounter with Herod, how long it took them to then find Jesus afterward, or how long they remained with/near the Holy Family. It can sometimes seem like a centuries-long game of telephone.

All that said, we can’t get caught up in the contradictions of faith, tradition, and poorly re-told stories. Rather, we need to focus on the core messages held within. These individuals came a considerable distance seeking God. They left behind all that was familiar and comfortable to discover a greater truth. Despite obstacles, they didn’t abandon their search, but continued in solidarity to the end of the journey. When the star came to rest over a tiny house in a small, backwater town, they didn’t question the ways of God and declare it impossible, but took it at face-value. And, when all was said and done, they did what was necessary to protect God. So, what is our take-away from all this? Several questions to ponder on this great feast:

  • What am I willing to sacrifice to seek God?
  • Can I put aside my expectations and let God be found where God wants to be found?
  • Do I recognize God within every part of creation and each person I meet?
  • Am I willing to protect God within creation and all persons? The weak, the vulnerable, the voiceless?

Sister Danielle Jacob, CSFN

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