Monday, January 9, 2012

Epiphany and Modern Paganism

The Birth of the Lord took place inconspicuously under the shadows of that silent night, holy night. No one knew of His birth except for our Lady, St. Joseph, and some shepherds who were keeping watch of their flock that night.. Today, guided by a star, magi came and prostrated themselves in homage before the new-born King and they offered him gifts of gold in recognition of his royalty, frankinscense in recognition of his Divinity, and myrrh in recognition of the sacrificial character of his mission.. The coming of the magi brings to fulfillment what Isaiah said: “the wealth of nations shall be brought to you. Caravans of camels shall fill you; dromedaries from Midian and Ephah; all from Sheba shall come, bearing gold and frankinscence, and proclaiming the praises of the Lord.”

Today, the Lord appears to all nations and He invites them to His light. The Magi, coming from the superstitions of their pagan faith, have searched for the true God and found Him in the arms of the Virgin Mary. Guided by the elements of nature, they have discovered the Word through whom all things were made and apart from whom nothing came to be. Because they were deprived of Divine Revelation, they groped in the dark but thanks to signs in the sky, the found the true Light that dispels all darkness and all ignorance. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. The Magi began a procession of nations towards the one true Redeemer. And we ourselves are part of that procession for we have accepted the light of the Christian Faith and thus, we emerged from darkness into the Lord’s wonderful light. Thanks to the Cross which the Spanish missionaries planted on Philippine soil, we no longer grope in the dark. Rather, we bask in the light of the Christian Faith. Christianity is the best gift which the Lord has ever bestowed upon our nation for, as the Holy Father said, “Belief in Jesus Christ is the way to arrive definitively at salvation.”

Epiphany, being one of the 4 highest feasts of the Church, must be restored to its original place of prominence in the liturgical year. Unfortunately, Epiphany has become an inconspicuous ending to a holiday season that the world has higly commercialized. Epiphany must once again find its rightful place because its message is ever more relevant today because we find ourselves again in a world that is beset with paganism. The people that once sat in darkness and saw a great light are once again returning to the darkness they came from. And worse, the return to darkness is now disguised as intellectual enlightenment. Christianity is now being packaged as superstition and paganism as the new wisdom. “We cannot accept that salt should become tasteless or the light be kept hidden,” said the Holy Father, “the people of today can still experience the need… to hear Jesus, who invites us to believe in him and to draw upon the sources of living water welling up within him.” “The door of faith is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church. It is possible to cross that threshold when the word of God is proclaimed and the heart allows itself to be shaped by transforming grace. To enter through that door is to set out on a journey that lasts a lifetime. It begins with baptism…and ends with the passage through death to eternal life…To profess faith in the Trinity…is to believe in one God who is Love: the Father, who in the fullness of time, sent his Son for our salvation, Jesus Christ, who in the mystery of his death and resurrection redeemed the world; the Holy Spirit, who leads the Church across the centuries as we await the Lord’s glorious return.”

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