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Today like the Magi, we come to worship the newborn King! Amen!!!
In the Gospel today, we heard the story of wise individuals who saw the sign of the Good News to the world. They were able to understand that what was happening was big and life changing. They identify the entering into history of the Incarnate Word of God. They identify a moment worthy to stand and walk towards the light and follow the first GPS registered in history. The star that will lead them to the place of the miracle, to witness and honor the New Born King.
This is an exceptional celebration for me as a Puerto Rican. We celebrate this day as one of the most important days in the Puerto Rican culture. El dia de los Reyes Magos (the day of the Magi – Three Kings day). During the night before, all kids go outside and cut some fresh grass for the camels to eat as they stop in the house with the gifts. It is a tradition that represents us and represents the blessing that the Magi are for us. In a sense, it is a way of recognizing the face of God in our children.
We are in the middle of a very challenging time for all the world. What is Epiphany for us? What is the star guiding us? We are invited to follow the star that points to Jesus, the light, and the truth. We need this light more than ever. We need the certainty that we are following the right light. My dear friends, the question that I want to meditate on today is, what did you see? What did you follow? It was not crucial for the sacred author who these individuals were, but they needed to recognize that the New King was born. It was not necessarily the names of these individuals but what was important was the reason of their journey to worship the New Born King. What is my reason today? Why am I following this star today? What do I want to see?
Today we are called more than ever before to follow the light and the truth. We are surrounded by death, sickness, deseption, pain, suffering, power struggle, uncertainty, and disorientation at many levels, in our homes, our church, and our country. It is vital that we named those things that are painful and difficult and tragic… but it is more important to look up and see the star. There is a beautiful conviction today, God is above all things, and we should do whatever it takes to find God… and if I have found God, I need to show God to the world. When the Magi came to Herod, they could not see Herod’s heart, but God shows them that, and they were able to go home by another route. This point demonstrates that God will always be with us; God will be leading our steps in this life. This might be a time of change, many things have change and that is the pain. Nothing is like before; even the phrase “We have always done it this way” is officially dead. The birth of Jesus changed everything. Changes are not bad when we have our eyes fixed on God.
When they saw that the star stopped, they were overwhelmed with Joy!!! They arrived at the place. They have reached their destination. Now that we all have arrived, Are we overwhelmed with Joy? But Edgar, how am I going to be overwhelmed with joy with all that is going on in our country today? How?
I am glad you asked!!!! My answer, I do not know how, but what I know is…
God came to us as a small and fragile child to show us that we can find God in the simplicity, in the beautiful light of a star, in the natural world. Our Epiphany today is very different. We are invited to see the reflection of the New Born King in the face of a child, during this pandemic we are invited to see God in the uniform of the police officer, in the scrub of a nurse, in the nametag of a teacher, in a vest of a supermarket worker, in the cleaning personnel, in a delivery person, in the facebook live, in zoom, in the camera of Jeremy or in a facemask… all of these give testimony of the love for others… We can see the God that you and I seek and love around us. God shows us his face through those who are doing the heroic work of being heroes with their uniforms, their service, and their love. Yes, we are in a distressed world, but I want to highlight the face of God that I see in this pandemic darkness that we are living. The shining light that God continues to show. That, my friend, is the 2021 Epiphany. God is manifesting self to us…
The text continues…When they arrived at the house, they have gifts and they offered gold, frankincense, and myrrh. What are we offering today to the newborn King? We might not have gold, frankincense, nor myrrh, but we have a heart full of experience, we have talents, we have prayer, we have resources…
I invite you to offer a prayer for healthcare heroes, a note of thank you as Fr. Stuart suggested in his message. A thank you to all personnel who is giving their lives for all of us, shining like the star in the reading today. I offer this mask and the distance between us that is tearing apart our hearts right now.
Let us listen to the voice of the Spirit as we continue our celebration of this Christmas season and the rest of the year to see our route to go home. Let us be like the children in my island that await for the Magi with a joyful heart with a clean heart as we pray using the words from the today’s Ephesians letter:
I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe.
Blessed Magi, pray for us!
The Rev. Edgar Otero-Ruiz
January 3, 2021