THIS IS MY OWN BELOVED SON; LISTEN TO HIM
Saint Matthew 3:17
Brothers and Sisters,
Holy Mother Church has capped the season of Advent with Christmas Day, crowned the new year with the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God, and now She rounds off the festive seasons with the summit of them all: the Solemnity of the Epiphany. I truly love this holy day.
The name is perfectly suited to the day. Merriam-Webster defines the word “epiphany” in this way: a sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something. Many of us have come to know this concept as the famous “eureka” moment – when we finally understand some truth that has eluded us or we have at long last figured out how to accomplish some great task that we have needed to complete.
Two famous examples: the ancient Greek pagan mathematician Archimedes was tasked to determine a method to investigate whether gold in coins and crowns was being replaced by silver to save on the cost of producing them. He realized that when he entered a filled bathtub, the water is displaced and rises; reasoning that this is a measure of his body’s volume, he shouts “eureka” and races to his home to create a formula and procedure for measuring the volume of objects.
Second famous example: Sir Isaac Newton. Taking a break from his study and experiments in physics, he – so the fable goes – rested under an apple tree when one of the apples fell to the ground in front of him. Realizing the stem that the holds the apple to the branch had broken, he surmised that the apple fell to the Earth (and not upwards or sideways) because everything with mass also has a force that draws other objects with mass to them. This event, supposedly, is the basis for Newton’s early theory of the law of gravitation.
These “ah-ha” moments led to monumental change and discovery. The Solemnity of the Epiphany is all-the-more so. Epiphany is the manifestation of Christ to the world – where the atheists, the pagans, and those who have been waiting for Him now see that God has indeed come in Christ.
The Magi find Christ and recognize that He is God, the people of Cana witness Christ miraculously change water into wine, and the crowds at the River Jordan see the dove descending from Heaven and even hear the voice of the Father! Ah-ha! Eureka! Epiphany! Now I get it! Jesus Christ is God.
God be near, happy Christmas, blessed Epiphany.