Solemnity of the Epiphany (B)
January 8, 2012

Readings: Is 60:1-6 / Eph 3:2-3.5-6 / Mt 2:1-12

The Gospel passage of today taken from Matthew tells of Herod being “greatly troubled.” Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown, indeed. Someone high up there, with supposedly all the resources at his disposal to assure him of continuing power, has suddenly become so preoccupied about holding on to it, threatened by the news of one who passes off as the “newborn King.”

But if misery loves company, worry seeks for it and looks for sympathizers. Anxiety, like water, seeks its own level, and it seeks for every susceptible nook and cranny, holes and depressions, and the worry-wart tries his level best to spread, not the good news, but the bad news of his lack of serenity and peace of mind. King Herod was “greatly troubled and all Jerusalem with him.”

Like Jerusalem under the hegemony of the worry-wart Herod, many people of our times, perhaps including ourselves, are worried sick. Many cannot seem to have enough of the so-called Mayan calendar prediction that pegs the end of the world in the year 2012. Fueled as much by hype as by imagination gone wild, many of us are left wondering whether the spate of floodings, typhoons, earthquakes and other natural disasters that have recently taken place all over the world, are forebodings of a worse, impending catastrophe.

We worry. We fear. We ask questions that fuel further questionings. We behave exactly like Herod who “assembled all the chief priests and scribes” in order to ask them what they actually had little answers to, themselves.

Today, the liturgy gives answers, but not the answers that we may be raring to have. Our questions are too myopic, too limited to impending events, too focused on narrow concerns of people like us who may be holding on to matters that really do not matter much when seen against the backdrop of eternity.

But real good news, the sort of good news that this feared newborn King has come to bring, is one that transcends the here and now, the there and then, and the thence and thereafter, understood as material, historical, finite time of our human reckoning.

The good news that Herod could not see, courtesy of his myopic and selfish eyes, heart, and mind, is that of one who is Lord of history, Lord of time, and master of our destiny as individuals and as a people.

He is a King, whose reign will last forever and ever.

This is the reason why the readings today wax optimistic and hopeful, not worried and frightful. From Isaiah, the prophet who saw it all, exile and all, the very same prophet who spoke of the “suffering servant,” who prophesied about the meek “lamb” that will be led to the slaughter, who knew first hand what the chosen people of God had to go through in bitter exile in Babylon, we hear rousing words that speak of splendor, of light, and of glory that shines upon all. “Upon you the Lord shines, and over you appears his glory. Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance!”

We are talking here of a reality that goes beyond Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, and other recent tragedies. We are referring here to a vision of galactic proportions that the very word galactic cannot fully express. We are talking about a vision of God for us, for the world, for his people, for those whom he has considered his very own, and for whose sake this newborn King has been born.

We are talking about things and events and utter realities that go beyond the dreaded Mayan end-times of 2012. We are talking about a “mystery” revealed and “made known to people in other generations.” We are speaking about the unending faith and hope of a people, who, despite the fact that we might still be “walking in darkness” have actually seen a “great light” in the person of Jesus Christ our Lord and God.

And boy! Do we need Him! Do we need light in a world that is filled with all types of darkness! We are not just a sinful people. We, too, are still a suffering people, living in this valley of tears. We are still waiting for the heavenly Jerusalem to come down from above, to shelter us, cover us, and take care of us, lost in our own Babylonian exile of various forms.

We need a Savior. We need a King to rule over us and lead us to the paths that lead to peace. We need wisdom from above, especially now that we are tossed hither and thither by the waves of so much uncertainty and the tides of conflict, war, and lack of unity.

Herod had to dispatch his crew to “go and search diligently for the child …” for his own selfish and fishy reasons.

Today, right where we are, right in the midst of so much darkness and pain and uncertainty, we need not do that. God has come in search for us. He has shown us and revealed Him to us, Himself. We need not do a Herod and pretend to be in search.

Epiphany is what this is all about. He has shown His Son and revealed Him to be what the likes of Herod would not, could not, and will never see – the Son of God, the Lamb of God who has come to take away the sin of the world.

“Lord, every nation on earth will adore you!”

Salesian Retreat House
Cheung Chau, Hong Kong
January 5, 2012