Homily (Reflection) for the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (A,B,C) (3rd January, 2016) on the Gospel and the Solemnity
Ps 71:1-2.7-8.10-13 (R. cf. v.11)
While reflecting on this gospel, I remembered one of the games we played during our childhood days. The game can be played by two or more children. No matter the number, only one of them stands at a time with sand placed round his or her legs. The rest will gradually reduce the sand that was placed around his or her legs while singing: “onye kwụrụ ọtọ, egbutuo ya, sọ m bụ eze ga-akwụ ọtọ”, meaning that whoever stands must be brought down except ‘I’, the king. This certainly might serve as a reminder of the good olden days? Such is life. We have left the stage for others just like those before us did and the children on the stage now must in turn leave it for others whether they like it or not.
Topic: Your reign will not be eternal
The wise men from the East came to Jerusalem and asked:
“‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’ When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him” (Matt 2:2-3).
Today is the solemnity of the manifestation of Jesus, the newborn king, to the whole world. This brought joy and sadness, calmness and agitation, peace and upset, and so on. One gift with different effects on the recipients, cf. Jn 4:10; Rom 5:15; 6:23; Heb 6:4.
Have you ever looked back to see what you were yesterday? No matter what you are today, do not forget what you were yesterday. There was a time you were not, today you are, and tomorrow you will not.
These men from the East saw a star and followed it. They are rightly called wise ones because they recognized the star of the new born king when they saw it. The said star could not have been visible to the wise men alone but they were the people who recognized it. It might do us good if we reflect on whether we have ever seen any star.
Which star are we talking about? I remember those days we spent time looking upwards with the intention of seeing the star that led the wise men. While one points to one direction the rest will also be pointing to other directions. Sometimes, we solve the problem with a quarrel. No doubt, it might sound funny solving a problem with a problem (quarrel). Well, it worked for us. When one hears or reads about the star that made the magi leave the East, one’s mind might go to those luminous bodies very far away. You might be right but in this homily, we shall shift our minds a little beat so as to get the message better. Looking into the sky might not affect our lives in any way. People are gifted differently, cf. 1Cor 12:4; Eph 4:11; Heb 2:4. In many fields, we have stars. Therefore, let us not think that the star is just something very far away. You have yours, I have mine, and the rest have theirs. But when one sees someone’s star, what does he or she do? We all do not have the same star, cf. 1Cor 12:1-31. But we are called to use our stars for the collective good, cf. 1Cor 10:24. At the appearance of other’s star/s, do you act like the wise men, like the chief priests and scribes of the people or like Herod and his likes, cf. Matt 2:2-6?
While reflecting on this gospel pericope, one of the questions that came to me is what happened to that star that made the wise men ask questions about the newborn King? Well, the scripture did not say anything on that but I see the disappearance of the star as an opportunity for Herod and others in Jerusalem to recognize the Saviour. However, they did not make anything good out of it, cf. Jn 1:11; Acts 13:26-28.
Herod’s reign has both a beginning and an end. If we can always be conscious of the fact that whatever we are today we were not yesterday, and will not be tomorrow, why do we waste opportunities creating what will hunt both the ‘creator’ and others? What we create out of today will either save or destroy us tomorrow. We must be conscious of the legacy we leave behind.
My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord always remember that what you are today, you were not yesterday, and will not be tomorrow and make the best out of today. Again, do not waste your time trying to stop other buds from coming up for fear of taking over from you. You will not reign forever. Despite all the atrocities Herod committed he did not reign forever. Encourage others to come up. One star will be even brighter with other star/s beside it. The more you struggle to stop others from coming up, the more enemies you create for yourself and whatever is yours and more dangerous your retirement will be. Furthermore, be happy when you see other people’s stars. This will bring out your own star/s. When you try to stop or cover-up others’ stars, you will end up covering yours. Every star that deserves the name is of God and as a result, no mortal can stop it. “E jighị aka ekpuchi ọnwa”, meaning that no one can cover the moon with mere hands, cf. Rom 13:1; 1Cor 7:7; 11:12. Do not fight against God, cf. Acts 9:4; Acts 5:35, 39.
Bible Readings: Gen 37; Gen 41:37-57; Gen 45; Matt 2: 13-23; Acts 13: 26-52; Deut 11; 1Sam 17; 1Sam 18; 1Sam 31; 2Sam 2; 2Sam 5. 1Cor 12:1-31
Thought for today: Whatever you are today, you were not yesterday, and will not be forever. What you create out of today will either save or destroy you tomorrow.
Let us Pray: Heavenly father, help us to remember always how short our span is, to know that no material thing will be eternal, and to make out of all your gifts what will save and not what will destroy. We ask this through Christ, our Lord – Amen!
May the star that led the wise men from the East to the new born King be your guide now and forever + AMEN!
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