Sunday 08 January 2023 –   EPIPHANY OF THE LORD – Jesus Excludes Nobody

1st Reading: Is 60:1-6

Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you.  See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the Lord shines, and over you appears his glory. Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance.  Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you: your sons come from afar, and your daughters in the arms of their nurses. Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow, for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, 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 frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the Lord.

2nd Reading: Eph 3:2-3a

Brothers and sisters: You have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for your benefit, namely, that the mystery was made known to me by revelation.  It was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Gospel: Mt 2:1-12                 

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”  When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.”  Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.” After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.

Jesus Excludes Nobody: The sun, the moon and the rain have one thing in common, and it is that they do not exclude anybody. Both the sun and the moon shine upon everybody and not for the chosen few. The same thing applies for the rain. When it is raining in a certain locality, it does not exclude anybody who is within that locality. Both farmers and non-farmers in that locality receive it. The actions of the sun, the moon and the rain give people only a glimpse of what God does to humanity. God does not exclude anybody from his act of salvation. God’s act of salvation is open for all except those who out of their own free will decide to exclude themselves from it. This is like someone who decides to cover himself or herself with an umbrella to shield oneself from the rain. The fact that God could use the star to attract non-Jews to come to worship the infant Jesus is a sign that God wants the whole of humanity to be with him. The visit of the Magi from the East shows that he salvation brought by Jesus is for the whole humanity and nobody is excluded. God does not want any person to be far from him. That is why he has made the Gentiles coheirs with the Jews whom he made the first covenant with.

The coming of the Magi to the infant Jesus shows that God does not exclude anybody from his plan of salvation. A person can decide to exclude oneself form God’s plans of salvation by declining to accept God’s invitation. Declining to accept God’s invitation for salvation is when a person does things that are contrary to God’s will.

Prayer:  Lord, guide us towards your Son. Amen


LET US GO PAY HOMAGE TO THE LORD: When the president’s motorcade is seen, many get out, and others leave whatever they are doing, to catch a glimpse of this spectacle. If it happens that the presidential limousine enters the church compound, many gather to see the president. Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, in the Eucharist, is much more than any president. Yet rather than scramble, filled with the desire to have him, we would rather seek the earthly president. Unlike us, the Magi came from far. They came to pay homage to Jesus, following the star (Mt. 2:2). Every day we go about our duties, passing outside our parish church and outside our chapels. Do we ever set aside time to pay homage to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, or only avail ourselves on Sundays, to fulfill an obligation? Do we want to scramble for an earthly limousine, or the star, guiding us to our Lord?