Fr. Roy Cimagala
Epiphany means manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi. (cfr Mt 2,1-12) It means that he is meant for all people, and not just to the Jews, the chosen people. The feast reminds us that we all need him, for he is not only the pattern of our humanity, but also the savior of our damaged humanity.
It can also mean, as a corollary, that everything that we do, that is, all our human affairs, from the physical to the technical, from the personal to the social, from the local to the global, etc., need to be related to him, for he is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
May this feast not only be treated as one more feast, given some celebratory activities, but really without true and lasting impact on our lives. It should leave us with a deeply felt hunger and thirst for Christ, and recognizing Christ as he really is, and not just some kind of psychological crutch or religious ornament in our lives.
We need to deliberately stir up this hunger for Christ that requires the impulses of our faith, the dynamics of grace and the cooperation of our spiritual faculties, that is, our intelligence and will, before all the other human faculties get involved.
We can be sure that on the part of God, everything is already given so that we can have this proper hunger for Christ. Even in the worst scenario that we can be in, God’s infinite mercy will always be there to bring us back to him. Remember St. Paul saying: “Where sin has abounded, grace has abounded even more.” (Rom 5,20)
Things now just depend on us, on how we react to all this goodness of God. We simply have to reflect on this wonderful truth of our faith, so that we can be more aware of it, and by being so, be better motivated to act on it.
That is why we really would need to spend time knowing Christ more by praying, studying and meditating on his word, cultivating a certain fondness for him, having regular recourse to the sacraments where he makes himself very available to us, etc.
We have to be wary of the many factors that tend to deaden our appetite for Christ. We have to be properly guarded, since we can very easily fall into an inordinate fascination for worldly pleasures, be it food and drinks, sex, sports, etc.
That’s why Christ told us that if we want to follow him, we need to deny ourselves and carry the cross. We have to be wary of how we are exercising our freedom, because we have the tendency to abuse it, using it at the impulse of our selfishness rather than giving glory to God and loving others.
We have to learn to find Christ in all the events of life, big and small, special and ordinary. We have to learn how relate everything to him and not to be carried away merely by impulses of our instincts and emotion and by those of the worldly values alone.
We have to relate everything to Christ through our faith expressed in a working piety. This is a great challenge to all of us.
It should be something normal to all of us to feel Christ’s presence and his providence in all things, especially in the little ordinary events of our day. This ideal is not only for some people who we usually regard as mystics and very special people.
We can always start by finding Christ in the little things of our day, so that in some sense we can truly say that we are with Christ at every moment. We need to remind ourselves that we cannot be in the right way, we cannot find the truth about ourselves and everything else, we cannot have true eternal life, without him.
That’s why we need to exercise our faith, more than just depending on our senses, feelings and our common estimation of things in general. We need to enter into the wonderful reality that Christ is actually in us always. We are never alone actually.
We should realize that we will always need him. We can never outgrow our need for him. In fact, the older we get, the more knowledge and experience we gain, the more dependent we ought to be on Christ. And that’s simply because our growth in status, knowledge and experience will always lead us to a more complicated situations.
This is what the feast of the Epiphany should remind us of.