In much the same way that a movie director shouts “Lights! Camera! Action!” our Epiphany acclamation is “Light! Inclusivity! Epiphany!” Epiphanies are manifestations of a divine or supernatural being. The Epiphany of the Lord Jesus Christ manifests the light that God shines on our world, a loving light that is utterly inclusive. Ephesians proclaims: “the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (Ephesians 3:6). A faithful Jew in Jesus’ day would find these words unthinkable, but they are not unthinkable to the God whom Jesus revealed. They can challenge our world, which often wants to exclude some of God’s children. The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World states: “Respect and love ought to be extended also to those who think or act differently than we do in social, political and even religious matters. In fact, the more deeply we come to understand their ways of thinking through such courtesy and love, the more easily will we be able to enter into dialogue with them (#27). These words renew the meaning of Epiphany for our day and time. God is utterly inclusive. Isaiah addresses people who experienced darkness covering the earth. Many would say our day is similar: fires, hurricanes, racial and ethnic division, increasing talk about nuclear arms, terrorist acts, exploding cases of sexual misconduct, and more. Yet, we celebrate that the light has come to lessen the darkness we experience by turning to the light of Christ. Herod fed fear and slaughtered the innocents. Christ feeds hope. His birth in Bethlehem, the least among the rulers of Judah, signals that hope. Nothing is small in the service of God. Turn to Christ. Follow his star. Do him homage by letting his light dispel your darkness. Shine with and find his light in all life’s situations. Light! Inclusivity! Epiphany!
Thanks to Laurie Brink, O.P. and Paul Colloton, O.S.F.S.