What about the gifts that we bring?
The Epiphany of the Lord Mt 2:1-12
I love a story line in movies or literature where good triumphs over evil. I have invested my time over the past few years in a popular, contemporary television series in the hope that this happens. It is yet to be completed so I wait in anticipation. So too, in real life, we hope that good triumphs over evil. The message of the Epiphany provides that hope.
We are reminded that even from its beginnings, Christianity is a religion of inclusion. All are asked to bring their talents and gifts to build up the kingdom of God. And, building on that invitation, we should also feel comfortable to offer up the things that are dearest to us to the Lord.
This theme of inclusion is a beautiful and comforting message—the Lord will welcome us. The ‘Cheers’ sitcom theme says “…where everybody knows your name; and they’re always glad you came”. This is what it feels like with God. There is genuine joy when you arrive and deep appreciation for your presence.
My nieces recently visited me for Christmas and every time I see them, they sing out my name in chorus as they run towards me with open arms to greet me. I only wish that I had more arms to embrace them all at the same time because the feeling of euphoria is mutual. To understand that this is God’s love for us all the time and with no conditions is truly miraculous.
I was deeply moved to read St Paul’s message to the Ephesians: “This mystery that has now been revealed through the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets was unknown to any men in past generations; it means that pagans now share the same inheritance, that they are parts of the same body, and that the same promise has been made to them, in Christ Jesus, through the gospel.”
This is the heartfelt message that led people away from the comfort of their homes to an unknown land in search of hope.
What is my star? I constantly think about this and I have decided that it is stewardship. I aim at an ideal of being an excellent service provider in all areas of life and spreading news to all about the merits of service. Businesses benefit financially from providing excellent customer service to their customers. They experience this service and become repeat buyers. There is also the personal satisfaction of helping someone solve a problem. The recipient also benefits from getting their problem solved. A profound and personal understanding of stewardship is in itself a revelation to the faithful. My task is the spreading of the message of my own Epiphany.
We reflect upon the kingship, priesthood and martyrdom of Jesus in the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And what about the gifts that we bring? The widow’s mite, the feeding of the multitude and even the good Samaritan are all fine examples to us about giving with love.
We reflect upon people leaving their homes to go to another land in search of better. In contemporary life, people are forced from their homes and end up gaining refugee status in another country. Both sets of people are challenged by situations that arise because of the scepticism of the natives of the new country.
These can be compared to the faith shown by the wise men and the doubt that King Herod, the chief priests and the scribes displayed. The early Christian Church, as it remains today, is meant to embrace everyone. By extension, it also sets that example for the faithful—love and unselfishness.
Thank you Lord for the gift of your gospel
Help us to be watchful
Help us to be humble to accept your invitation
Help us be unselfish
Nurture our faith
Reveal to us our mission
And give us the strength and courage to do your will
Rene Lee John is currently a parishioner at Holy Trinity Church, Arouca and formerly at Holy Rosary Church, Port of Spain. He is an advocate of stewardship and an eternal optimist.