Technically, today is the Epiphany, but for many of us this solemnity is moved to Sunday. So we will be celebrating the Solemnity of the Epiphany this coming Sunday. I have to say that I enjoyed reflecting on this Gospel passage and praying with it. It really forced me to think deeply about relationships. Particularly human relationships versus our relationship with the divine.
I won’t say much more, I don’t want my thoughts to color your own reflections. There is a lot that can be contemplated in this Gospel passage. I initially had thoughts that led me down one path but then God turned me a different direction by the time I read the passage through a second time. That’s part of the beauty of lectio divina: the ability to really listen for what God wants to tell you through the passage you’re reading, which is sometimes different than where you might have gone on your own without listening for God’s guidance.
So let’s get ready. Be sure to have the Gospel passage in front of you, here is an easy link: Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord 2017. If you need a brief review of the steps for lectio divina you can find a nice description from the Saint Meinrad Archabbey Oblates website. Remember to read the Gospel reading before each of the next four sections below and take some time to reflect on the questions before reading my responses. I hope you’ll share some of your thoughts in the comments.
A word or phrase that stuck out to you during your first reading. Mine were:
REFLECT: What is God saying to you?
The magi arrive in Jerusalem looking for the newborn king of the Jews so they can pay him homage. When they finally find him they are overjoyed! I really locked onto the word, “overjoyed.” I’m trying to picture what their reaction was when they finally found the right house. How did they express their excitement and joy when they finally got to their destination? The word overjoyed has a sense of celebration to it, and then they immediately prostrated themselves before the baby Jesus to pay him homage. I can’t help but feel that I should be following their example.
While I do regularly visit Jesus at my local Adoration Chapel, am I overjoyed each time I go? I’ll go ahead and say no. I love that I get to go, but it’s definitely a routine. Can you imagine being overjoyed at the prospect of seeing Jesus each and every time you enter an Adoration Chapel or see Jesus in the Eucharist at an Adoration Hour or at Mass? It all really comes down to relationship. Think about all those relationships you have that give you that feeling of being overjoyed when you see the person. That person you just started dating, your spouse when you see them after a long day apart, that brand new baby that your sister/best friend/neighbor/internet friend had, or that brand new baby that you just had. What about a loved one that lives far away? It’s always exciting when we get a chance to see them in person. And these are all human relationships. How much more important is our relationship with the divine?
God wants a relationship with me. Me! And I want that, too. I want to have that overjoyed feeling when I enter into his presence. Each and every time. Like any relationship I need to spend time with him, I need to bring my own treasures to him (just as the wise men brought treasures to the newborn king), and I need to use my talents for his benefit. This should be my most important relationship, above any other human relationship I have. Developing this relationship needs to be my primary vocation in life.
With the magi as examples, I need to bring that overjoyed feeling into my relationship with Jesus.
RESPOND: What do you want to say to God?
(I wrote the following while sitting in the Adoration Chapel at my church.)
Jesus, I sit here tonight before you and I don’t feel overjoyed. I love being in your presence and I treasure this time, but I want to feel excited each time I’m here. Propped up against the glass surrounding your monstrance a child has left a letter to you. I imagine that child was overjoyed to be so close to you and I can only imagine what he or she has written for you. Help me, Lord, to have more focus to spend my time with you first as my primary relationship. I pray that my time with you will lead to that deeper relationship I seek and my excitement will steadily increase as I spend more time with you. Like the simple, joyful attitude of a child, I pray that I too will be more joyful each time I am here and each time I have the privilege of receiving you in the Blessed Sacrament. Amen.
Read the passage one final time and spend a few moments in quiet contemplation, rest in the words of the Gospel.
What do you feel God is saying to you in this passage? How would you respond to him? Share your thoughts in the comments.