Epiphany - Fr. Pete Iorio
January 2, 2021 - 5:00 PM
January 3, 2021 - 11:00 AM
According to Bishop Robert Baron, Epiphany offers us a spiritual plan by looking at the actions of the Magi. I propose it for this unfolding year.
- Magi were astronomers and astrologers who looked at the stars for signs of God’s deepest intentions and purpose. They studied and they prayed. This characteristic invites us to be most attentive to the spiritual life. How much time do you pray and study our faith? You can start with the book the parish gives for Christmas, I Heard God Laugh. (available in the narthex) Matthew Kelly is a writer who is easy to understand, and from there, you can develop a hunger for more. If you do not like to read, can you listen to excellent Catholic speakers on myriad websites?
- Once they saw the Star, a sign from God, they acted. They set out on a perilous journey. Travel was difficult and dangerous in those days. Can you imagine sitting on the back of a camel for days and sleeping in tents worrying about robbers? The Magi were courageously resolved to take the next step of action after they contemplated God’s will. Study and prayer must lead to action, not merely a cerebral enlightenment because our faith is incarnational. It means that God is enfleshed and works through in and through you.
- They not only faced difficulty by taking the journey, but the Magi also faced opposition from King Herod who faked interest in their quest, and who used them for his own desire to stay in power and kill any threat to his ego and his throne. In the spiritual life, we will always face opposition. How come? We live in a fallen world and tend toward selfishness and sin. People will put us down for following God’s path and so will the “Accuser” who makes us doubt ourselves and God’s will for us. “Who do you think you are so good and holy? You are not good or smart enough or patient enough to complete the task. Just give it up.” Sometimes inner opposition is louder than opposition from others.
- The Magi present gifts to God. They opened their treasures and gave Him their best. What is the best of my mind, my heart, my thoughts and my soul that I can offer to God? Or do I hold back? Remember the law of the Gift: the more you give your life away in love, the more it grows exponentially.
- Having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way. Of course, in the spiritual life, once you have encountered Christ the Son of God in a profound union and having given of your best self, you cannot go back the same way. He came to make us new creations. We will be radically transformed. That is the deepest purpose of the spiritual journey – to be transformed to be more like Him whom we seek.
I can simply say that my journey as a young man to become a priest included these 5 elements. My life and my path changed radically when I was ordained. But I tell you that the spiritual journey did not end on August 6, 1993. The examples of the Magi give me an awesome epiphany or revelation that I can and have become more Christlike: (not perfect, but growing to be more patient, more compassionate towards others, more humiliated and therefore humbler. I see myself as being less judgmental, less controlling, less needing to understand what is wrong with others.
My prayer is that the baby Jesus grow more fully in stature to become the Christ He desires to be in everyone who calls themselves Christian.