Jesus is the Guiding Star
Sunday January 2 2022
The Feast of the Epiphany
The Epiphany is all about Jesus leading us by his Light to his Light. The theme is light and motion — guided by a vision of glory.
Light and joy go together. Joy and praise go together. This is a feast of Light which we will experience as joy if we celebrate it with praise.
Joy without praise, joy unexpressed, is like a smoldering fire. It is real but not exuberant. If it is not shared, it is not fully experienced. It is stifled happiness.
The way to suffocate a house fire is to close all the windows. If someone opens one, the fire will explode outward and become an inferno. The fire of light and love that is God’s grace within us follows the same law of nature. If it is not expressed it is suppressed.
Today's Entrance Antiphon announces, “The Lord has come: kingship is in his grasp.” But the antiphon will leave us cold unless we express a response to it. The best response is to join in the proclamation, make it our own. The way to hear the Good News is to proclaim it. If we do, the message will inflame the messenger.
In the Opening Prayer today, we ask God to, “Lead us to behold the beauty of your sublime glory.” The Alternate Opening Prayer specifies: “Draw us beyond the limits which this world imposes, to the life where your Spirit makes all life complete.” Faith is a light from beyond this world — a sharing in the knowing act of God himself — and it is leading us to a “glory” that is also beyond this world, the glory of God himself. Does this make us poignantly, painfully aware of how limited the lives are of those who have never had, or who have given up, the faith? They are still bound in, enclosed within “the limits which this world imposes.” Limited knowledge, limited understanding, limited hopes, a limited sense of destiny, and nothing to love except the limited goodness of creatures evoking a limited response — with every relationship terminating in death. Enclosed within that darkness, the best they can have is a dim view of everything — even when they experience it as brilliance.
But if we don’t express our faith, give praise to God for what we see — praise him publicly, enthusiastically, authentically — others have no way of suspecting the “more.” In this context the expression “to damn with faint praise” takes on new and sobering meaning.
That is why we celebrate the Epiphany: to remind us and to reflect to others the Light we have received, the Light by which we journey, the Light that is leading us “beyond the limits which this world imposes” into the fullness of life that is found in sharing the “grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.” To him we proclaim in the Gloria:
You alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.
We need to proclaim this to the world
Daily Practice: Spend time in prayer thinking about what guides you in life. What do you use from day to day to keep you on course toward your life’s goals? Do you have more than one goal in life? If so, what unifies or harmonizes them?
Prayer: Pray the Gloria slowly, pondering over each phrase.