Reflection: Epiphany of the Lord

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

 Mass is conducted in a mix of Cantonese and Mandarin

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering


[1st Reading – Is.60:1-6,12-14; Ps.71; 2nd Reading – Eph.3:2-3,5-6; Gospel – Mt.2:1-12]

The gospel presents quite a lot of contrasts today: we have the ‘wise men’ in contrast with the ‘chief priests and the scribes’, ‘King Herod’ in contrast with ‘the infant king of the Jews’, ‘the whole of Jerusalem’ in contrast with ‘the house with the child and his mother’.

But despite all these contrasts, our attention is focused on the ‘wise men’ that came to Jerusalem from the east.  Now, we are not told about their number.  We are only told that these were ‘wise men’.  But, one may ask, what kind of wisdom are we talking about?  And where does their wisdom come from?  Surely one cannot deny the possibility that they were wise in Knowledge, as general as this might have been.  The fact that they managed to see in a star the indication of the birth of an infant king, is already a clear indication that they were in fact wise.  But the author of the gospel is not interested in human wisdom here because even the chief priests and the scribes of the people were ‘wise’ (in their own way) and so we must be talking about another type of wisdom.

Just as it happened to these wise men, this same story happens to us and to all those who are wise enough to look for Jesus.  We start to look for Jesus because we know that he is there.  We have heard about him, about his “signs”.  Still, at a certain time in our life, when we are trying to come to Him, we do not let God lead us anymore through his signs.  At this point we discover that we have lost our way and find ourselves somewhere else.  We do not see any sign but since we still want to create this relationship with Jesus, we ask about Him and again we are told what is written in the scriptures.  Once more, we understand that we have to let Him guide us according to His own will and once we do so we notice signs and evidence of His presence.  Once we start “following” these signs again, we arrive at our goal, Jesus, to whom we will be ready to give what we have – toils, problems, joys, sorrows, happiness… everything.

By the way, we did not mention Herod.  We always look at Herod as the one who wanted to know about Jesus because he was jealous of him.  He was afraid that Jesus would take his kingdom from him, and in fact Herod wanted to kill Jesus.  Sometimes, in our life we act like King Herod.  We want to get to know Jesus, but at the same time we are afraid of Him, because since we do not know Him well, we are afraid that He will take away from us what is ours!

We see many signs and indications of the presence of the Lord in our life.  But do we have our eyes open to recognise his presence?

“Lord, sometimes we have so many things to do and so many things on our minds that the simple things which show that you are so near to us passes by right under our nose and yet we do not understand that you are so near.  Lord, give us the wisdom we need to understand the signs of your presence in our daily life.  Thank you Lord!”

Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo )

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