The Epiphany Star

January 2, 2022
The Epiphany of the Lord 

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we discover a star!

Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem!  Your light has come,
the glory of the Lord shines upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth,
and thick clouds cover the peoples;
but upon you the LORD shines,
and over you appears his glory.

Isaiah 60:1-2

The journey to the Epiphany is repeated in each our lives – many times over. As we – like young Jesus – grow in age and grace, God continually calls us to new Lights, ever deeper into Love’s Divine Universe.

And we, like the determined Wise Ones, move closer – by whatever means we can – to the Promised Revelation. We have our own trusted “camels” which carry us toward Truth: meditation, spiritual reading, sacred song, prayerful journaling, holy silence, merciful service, Gospel love.

Faithful commitment to our soul’s journey leads us to God’s beautiful promise. It is a difficult and sometimes challenging journey, as our poem will attest. But it is not a hopeless, pointless, or endless one:

Then you shall be radiant at what you see,
your heart shall throb and overflow,
for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you,
the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.

Isaiah 60

In our second reading, Paul describes that “wealth” in these words:

“that we are heirs and partners 
in God’s promise in Christ 
through the Gospel.”

Ephesians 3:6

Poetry: Nativity Poem – Joseph Brodsky

Imagine striking a match that night in the cave:
Imagine crockery, try to make use of its glaze
To feel cold cracks in the floor, the blankness of hunger.
Imagine the desert – but the desert is everywhere.

Imagine striking a match in that midnight cave,
The fire, the farm beasts in outline, the farm tools and stuff;
And imagine, as you towel your face in the enveloping folds,
Mary, Joseph, and the Infant in swaddling clothes.

Imagine the kings, the caravans’ stilted procession
As they make for the cave, or, rather, three beams closing in
And in on the star, the creaking of loads, the clink of a cowbell;
(No thronging of Heaven as yet, no peal of the bell

That will ring in the end for the infant once he has earned it).
Imagine the Lord, for the first time, from darkness, and stranded
Immensely in distance, recognizing Himself in the Son
Of Man: His homelessness plain to him now in a homeless one.

Music: Magi Veniunt – Sistine Choir

Magi veniunt ab oriente Ierosolimam
quaerentes et dicentes:
Ubi est qui natus est [Rex Judaeorum]
cujus stellam vídimus?
Vidimus stellam eius in oriente,
et venimus [cum muneribus] adorare Dominum.
Interrogabit magos Herodes quod signum vidissent
super natum regem? Stellam magnam fulgentem
cuius splendor illuminat mundum et nos cognovimus.
Vidimus et venimus adorare Dominum

The wise men came from the East to Jerusalem
asking questions and saying:
Where is he that is born [King of the Jews],
whose star we have seen?
We have seen that star in the East,
and we have come [with gifts] to worship the Lord.
Herod questioned the magi what sign they had seen
above the new-born king? We recognized that brightly shining star
whose lustre lights the world and us.
We have seen, and have come to worship the Lord

Do or Do Not

Monday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

August 19, 2019

Click here for readings

Today, in Mercy, our readings are about possessions – in every sense of that word.

In today’s reading from Judges, the first of a few this week, we see Israel in the years between entering the Promised Land to the rise of Saul as king. During these four hundred years, a series of judges tries to keep Israel on track with God. It is a frustrating assignment!

As today’s passage describes, the Israelites get caught in an endlessly repeating cycle:

  • worship false gods
  • get zapped by true God
  • feel really bad, say sorry
  • be forgiven
  • repeat cycle

Hmm! I’ve seen this pattern somewhere before. Oh, yeah! It’s just like the one describing all my good intentions that never quite materialized!

do or do not

Many of us can identify with the rich young man in the Gospel. We want to take our relationship with God up a notch. We would like to be better, holier people. But we may also, like the young man, like the ancient Israelites, be caught in a cycle of behaviors and choices which inhibit us.

Mt19_22many possessions

Jesus tells this young man to get rid of his possessions, freeing him to really follow Jesus.

What possesses us, holding us back from that radical following? 

It is not always material goods. They are easy to identify and dispatch. It is our tightly held and hidden illusions, resentments, prejudices, assumptions, entitlements, fears, jealousies, disappointments, angers. These are the heavy chains that cling to us as we try to move deeper into God.

May we be inspired by Matthew’s young man to recognize and break through the cycles that bind us by hearing God’s invitation to wholeness – an invitation always deep within our life circumstances.

Music: Out of the Deep – Julie Bernstein