“Arise, shine out Jerusalem, for your light has come, the glory of the Lord is rising on you, though night still covers the earth and darkness the people. The nations come to your light and kings to your dawning brightness.”
Throughout the scriptures the contrasting images of light and darkness uniquely describe the human condition. The consequence of sin is a darkness of the spirit, an inner blindness searching for light and meaning. Without God we, and our world, are a people that walk in darkness. Christ came as the true light, a light enlightening the heart of man, a light that the darkness could not overpower. We rejoice that, in Christ, we are reborn as children of the light.
On this solemnity of the Epiphany, Christ’s shining forth, we pray that Christ might shed his light upon our hearts, leading us through the shadows of this world and bringing us to the brightness of our eternal home. We bring to the Father the darkness of our sinful world, searching for light in the shadows of violence and alienation. Our lives, in all their complexity, are a pilgrimage into the light.
We are invited to accompany the pilgrimage of the Wise Men described in Matthew’s Gospel. Their journey began far from the presence of God. He was, at first, no more than a faint glimmer, a faint star at the very limits of their understanding. They remained faithful to his light, bypassing the glamour and dangers of Herod’s court, until his rising star brought them into the presence of God. “The sight of the Star filled them with delight, and going into the house they saw the child with his mother, and falling to their knees they did him homage.”
On this feast of the Epiphany, let us bring our darkness to Christ’s dawning light. In patient prayer let us search for the light of his presence. At first that light might appear distant and neglected, lost in the tinsel of distracted lives. Let us remain faithful to his light, that we might be filled with the glory of God’s only Son, full of grace and truth.
This article first appeared in the Catholic Herald magazine (02/01/15)