The Epiphany, The Manifestation…Continues!
Yesterday we joyfully celebrated the Solemnity of the Epiphany, the “manifestation” of Jesus to the world in the welcoming of the Magi by the humble Holy Family of Bethlehem. Centuries later, 2021, we too proclaim: “Jesus is the loving Savior of all people, without exception!”
Our Gospel selection from Matthew helps us appreciate the entire life of Jesus as a “manifestation” or revelation of God’s power, mercy, and love. Jesus preaches, teaches and calls for personal repentance; He cures disease and illness, even the possessed, the paralyzed, the leprous, those wracked with pain, the outcasts. His love reaches out to everyone!
The Gospel selection goes on to say that great crowds from many parts of the area followed Jesus, no doubt looking for additional “manifestations” via miracles and powerful teachings. Their motivation? Perhaps, like so many of us, they were a bit selfish…
Throughout the centuries, countless women and men have “met” Jesus, then selflessly left everything and followed Jesus — not just to view another miracle or two, but to freely give their lives in promoting the Good News of Jesus. One such rather contemporary disciple is St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the 19th Century foundress of the first women’s religious congregation in the United States — and the first native-born U.S. citizen to be canonized. Her disciple’s love included families, children, the poor of her day; with her life rooted in the person of Jesus, each person she met prompted Mother Seton to be generous in serving their needs
You and I have received that same Epiphany / Jesus-manifestation in our day. We have 21st century sicknesses – the COVID-19 pandemic, our selfishness; our world suffers from violence and lack of respect for all of creation. Jesus today speaks to our hearts as this Christmas Season inspires us, and He challenges us with great human examples such as St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.
The question of the day: Can we say “yes” to Jesus, have a true change of heart, and lovingly serve Him in our day? With the Magi of old, with St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, we have seen the Lord! This Good News needs to be shared!
May God help us credibly say “yes” by our lives, in both word and deed — and may the world find life and hope in the person of Jesus! Amen!!
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is the Vocation Director for Holy Cross Province. He lives at St. Vincent Strambi Community in Chicago, Illinois.