This week the Church observed the Feast of the Epiphany. This is usually associated with the Wise Men or Magi from the East who follow a star in the sky that brings them to find the baby Jesus. Across harrowing desserts and through various ethnic villages, these wise ones kept their focus and their eyes towards the heavens. At some point they even encountered Herod and managed to discern and avert his hostile intentions. They were not naive to the ways of the world but rather hyper aware of all that encircled them.
In the past month we had the convergence of Jupiter and Saturn in such a way that many people wondered if the Magi might have seen some similarly rare astronomical occurrence. It is not hard to speculate there could be many similarities between their world and ours.
This story communicates the scriptural lesson that the birth of the Christ Child reached across cultural divides to draw all to the Chosen One. In the simple birth of a child all divided peoples and culture collapse into a common humanity united by the force of new and divine life in the midst of a world gone mad.
The Epiphany speaks about the manifestation of the divine revelation that tells us that we are all God’s children. All social differences become superfluous in comparison to our divine capacity to give and receive love. This is a gift from the heights above and yet experienced in the most humble of human circumstances.
This week the our country has witnessed a disturbing violence that reveals a deeply disturbed country. Like the World Trade Centers bombing in 1993, we could feel our foundations shaken as these explosive energies were ignited in our Capitol. It seems that the structures are holding up for now, but history teaches us that we need to see this as a sign that there are real problems beneath the surface and that structural change is necessary if domestic tranquility is to be achieved again.
At times like these, it is important that we not be naive. It is all too easy to use and abuse the good will of idealistic people. Yet at the same time, we are not to lose sight of the star that guided the Magi to find the Christ Child. Despite all sorts of dangers and intrigues, if we keep our focus on finding divine love at the core of the human experience, we can become a manifestation of light in this time of darkness. We are the ones who know that, at our core, there is a common identity that unites all of us and our job is to help people discover that and live that. This is the manifestation of light in the midst of a dark political world.