Climbing The Mountain: Homily for Epiphany

A recent survey determined the 5 most popular “New Year’s Resolutions:”

  1. Get in shape.
  2. Lose weight.
  3. Spend more time for oneself.
  4. Spend less and save more money.
  5. Spend more time with family.

Do this and you will “make it” in terms of personal success.

There are a number of similar items to consider if you’re going to “make it” to the top of Mount Everest.

  1. It’s hard and dangerous - for everybody. No exceptions.
  2. A lot of factors outside of your control have to come together for you to make it.
  3. You need to accept assistance and support from others.
  4. You need to give assistance and support to others.
  5. You have to choose a “route.”

Philosophy Professor Eleonore Stump of Saint Louis University examines the factors that had to come together in order for the Christ Child to “make it” at the beginning of his life.

  • Signs in the heavens.
  • Miraculously helpful strangers.
  • Messengers from God sent with special messages.
  • Rich gifts.
  • Dreams of warnings.
  • Divine protection against powerfully bad people.

Jesus did make it, along with Mary and Joseph. Yet all of these factors had to come together to make that happen. When we read the story of the massacre of the Holy Innocents, we realize that many children of Jesus’ time didn’t make it. Why didn’t they make it? Could something have happened to prevent that terrible event from occurring?

What does that have to do with you today, at the beginning of 2020?

Look at the Second Reading today from Ephesians. Place yourself in place of Saint Paul. Imagine you speaking to family and friends, neighbors and colleagues:

Brothers and sisters: You have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me. This was given to me for your benefit. The mystery of God’s grace was made known to me by God’s revelation. It was not made known to people in other generations - as it has now been revealed today in 2020. It has been given in this year to me, to other holy apostles and to his prophets by the Holy Spirit.

Eleanore asks, “How many children die today who might have been saved if even one of these things had been done for them?”

  • A sign that brings help from afar.
  • A special instruction from God.
  • Huge amounts of money.
  • A dream that protects them from the bad guys.

These things are not enough to keep all children from an early death, but surely many children could have been saved by any of these means.

Are there people in our circle who are spiritually dying and need to hear a saving message from us? Are there gifts that you now carry, that the Lord wants you to bring to someone in a spiritually far-off land?

God calls his people so he can shepherd them—but he will not force them. Meanwhile, he sends Magi today, messengers with gifts to people who might be near to us in proximity, but still far away from God.

You are the Magi of today.

Pope Francis said this:

pope-at-desk-writing-1140x684.jpgI would like to say to those who feel far from God and from the Church––I would like to say respectively––to all those who are fearful or indifferent: the Lord is also calling you to be a part of his people and he does so with deep respect and love! The Lord is calling you. The Lord is seeking you. The Lord is waiting for you. The Lord does not proselytize, he loves, and this love seeks you, waits for you, you who at this moment do not believe or are far away. This is the love of God. (Pope Francis, Angelus, St. Peter’s Square, January 6, 2014)

Here are 5 messages for the celebration of Epiphany. The first two are factors to consider:

  1. Life is hard and perilous - for everybody. There are no exceptions. Whether you believe in God or not; whether you are faithful to Christ and his church or not.
  2. A lot of factors have to come together for you to “make it.” Many of these factors are outside of your control.
  3. You choose the route. The route you choose determines whether you make it.

Here are 2 tasks that we can take home from the celebration of Epiphany:

  1. You need to accept assistance and support from others.
  2. You need to give assistance and support to others. You are the Magi. You have been given gifts and talents and resources. They are not just for you. They are to be given to Christ for the benefit of his brothers and sisters - your brothers and sisters.











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