When I started seminary in 2012, I had so much doubt as to if I could actually go through all that schooling (seven years seemed like a lifetime). If I could be happy without the things I sold and got rid of. If I would be able to do what would be expected of me. There was no light at the end of that tunnel, only concern, doubt and unworthiness. Much like 2020, I was unsure if I would even make it through.
And now 7 years later I come to enjoy my first year as pastor celebrating the Epiphany . . . the day on which we recall the incredible story of the Magi embarking on an adventure, a search to find the newborn King of the Jews. And in this story, light plays a dominant role. These three men were looking for a light, for a sign in the sky that would signal something special, something out of the ordinary. And they followed that light wherever it led them. We can presume that this was not an easy quest. Traveling in ancient times was never easy or safe. And of course, ultimately they get to gaze upon and do homage to the Light of the World
“Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you.”
So says the prophet Isaiah in today’s First Reading. It’s easy to see a sort of foreshadowing in his words, a kind of prophecy that would be realized centuries later. Isaiah seemed to understand that a kind of darkness had crept into the world . . . into their hearts and into them as a people. And what would make things right, what would make things better, what would heal what needed to be healed, was not a conqueror, but rather a light . . . a light that would dispel the darkness, a light which was God himself shining down upon them and with them and through them.
Life takes us in so many different directions. And because of our free will, we can make choices freely, right or wrong, it’s our choice. Just think, why did the Magi feel it was so important to follow this star? Why would they venture out not knowing exactly where they were going or even how long it would take? Who would they encounter along the way, friend or foe?
Like all of us, something in their hearts lead them to the Savior. Something in their whole being drew them to venture out and experience something that would change their lives forever.
The same is happening for each of us as we celebrate this Epiphany. A light has shown and will guide us to what truly matters. We will set out on a certain, particular path. Will we follow it? Will we open our hearts to where God is leading us? Come journey with me and the Church as we embark on another year to discover something special, about our Almighty God, about Jesus his Son, about each other, and most importantly, about ourselves.
May God continue to bless you and this New Year, 2021, we embark upon.