Epiphany of the Lord
The Irish playwright and poet Oscar Wilde, (fellow Dubliner), wrote: “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord which refers to the manifestation of Jesus to the world represented by the three kings. Epiphany means “manifestation” or “showing forth.” The Gospels paint a truly beautiful and sentimental picture of the birth of the Lord. A miraculous star, Angel choirs, shepherds watching over the sheep, the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, sheep, cattle, three wise men (Kings), a humble stable and a lowly donkey. It’s the stuff of poetry. And at the center of it all is a small child, a baby, in fact, and that is Jesus. With all the beautiful details we can be in danger of losing sight of what is being revealed, of what is most important. First, God the Creator of all things, who cannot be held or encompassed by anything He has created, makes Himself a creature, a child, one of us. God, who is pure spirit, or pure being, takes on a created form in flesh – that is what “Incarnation” means, fleshed. Second, God does this because of our need for salvation and, most importantly, and even more astonishingly, because He loves us. This is what is being revealed, manifested, shown forth – God, the uncreated became a creature, and came into the world to save me because He loves me.
How should we respond to this love of God? As Wilde observed many people simply manage to “get through life.” Many rarely say what they want to say, do what they want to do, live the life they want to live, or be the people they feel in their hearts they were created, by God, to be. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating that people simply live as they like in some sort of simple hedonism. To “live” as Wilde suggests, is to realize the full potential of who we are and to overcome the fears that prevent us from being who we are created to be and live the life we are created to life.
The truth is that God created us, and God created us for a purpose. The very reason for being is to be loved by God and to love God. This is our purpose and meaning for being/existing. It is not a simple response to God’s love, or two sides of a coin. No! We are created, in our very nature, our very DNA, our very being and our reason for being, is to be loved by God and to love God. When we do this, we will truly know what life is meant to be about, what life truly is, who we truly are. When we live like this we will manifest, or show forth, our true self, that is an Epiphany. That is what God does at the Feast of the Epiphany – He shows forth His true self – a God who is willing to become a creature (child) in order to save the children, He loves.
The proper response to this love of God is to dare to be who God created us to be and live as He created us to live. When we dare to be who God wants us to be, we are making present in the world a gift from God, we are fulfilling our purpose, we are manifesting something God wants to reveal. That is an Epiphany. “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” Life is too short to simply just exist – dare to live – dare to be who God created you to be.