“The mystery was made known to me by revelation…” (Eph 3,3) St. Paul leads us to the center of our experience of faith and the foundation of our life in Christ. The mystery of life, divine and human life, eternal life, has been made visible to us in Jesus Christ, the Incarnation of the Eternal Word of Life. This life can only be known, received and lived as a gift from God the Father, the author of life. The meaning, purpose, direction, beauty and perfection of our life is hidden in God who created all things and knows all things by their true names, their true nature and their true destiny. God gives us the gift of faith to be able to penetrate this cloud of mystery that surrounds us and to know the truth of who we are, what we were created for and what our eternal destiny will be. This gift of faith offers us “evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11,1), not seen in the cloud and darkness of our human senses but now revealed to us in faith. The gift of faith is a divine light that shines through the darkness of our human experiences and allows us to receive and believe in the revelation offered us in Jesus Christ, the light of the world.
Our experience of the world is often one of darkness. Isaiah describes it: “See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the LORD shines, and over you appears his glory.” (Is 60:2) The darkness that we experience in the world is caused by sin that has blinded us to the Lord’s presence and glory in the world. Our experience in the world is often of suffering, struggle, divisions, hatreds, violence, loss and death. In this cloud of darkness we cannot experience the beauty of life that God intended for us. Jesus the Christ, the Incarnation of the Eternal Word of Life, has been sent into our world to be a light for all peoples, to illumine a way that leads us out of darkness and into his eternal light, a light that reveals to us a hidden beauty of life that God wants us to live. God created the world to be a place of beauty, light and life, a place to be lived in and in which we might encounter God as our loving Father who watches over us and protects us in his love, providing for us all that we need for an abundant life. If we are to know this world in which God dwells as a light for all peoples then we must walk in faith and leave behind the darkness of sin and death and walk in a new way of light as children of the light.
This mystery of life in abundance and beauty has been made available to all peoples through revelation. God has made a divine “showing”, a revelation of his glory, a manifestation of the fullness of life and light in the birth of Jesus the Christ. Now the entire world and our life experience can be an epiphany of light that reveals to us the love of God that is manifest in the history of all peoples. Today we celebrate this “epiphany” of beauty, meaning and fullness in life. The celebration of Epiphany points us to events in our human history that can direct us to manifestations of God’s glory that when received in faith and lived in spirit and truth will lead us to eternal life. Our traditional celebration of Epiphany presents us with three major revelations of God’s glory.
The first revelation is to the magi who represent all the people of the world. This revelation shows us that God’s love is meant for all people and all people have access to the gifts of the Christ child through faith. St. Paul describes it in his letter to the Ephesians: “that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” (Eph 3,6) God’s promise is given to all people, not just to a few chosen people. This light of revelation shows us that we are all meant to be one family of faith on the earth.
The second revelation is the baptism of Jesus. This reveals to us a way of new life. In baptism we are reborn into a life of the Spirit through the gift of the Holy Spirit that Jesus brings and that we receive in baptism. Jesus points out to Nicodemus that , “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit.” (Jn 3,5f) In baptism we become a new person and we are called to live a new life in the Spirit.
The third revelation is the Wedding Feast of Cana in which Jesus manifests his glory by the miracle that he works at this wedding feast. In this epiphany we see how God blesses married life and intends marriage to be a source of grace and blessing for the couple. Marriage is important to God and is one of his original blessings in creation. Jesus turns water into wine, just as he transforms an ordinary relationship into a life-giving and sacramental relationship of love.
Through these epiphanies God gives us light to be able to see and believe in the life that he intends for us. This light and life is Jesus and the more that we live in him the more we live in the light of love. Just as the wise men were, “overjoyed at seeing the star”, so shall we find joy in the manifestations of light in Epiphany and live in the wisdom of a new way of life.