The celebration of the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord brings to light a great question put in front of mankind. How do we answer God’s gift to us? How do we respond to He who is the Way, Truth and the Life? There are two answers to this question and today we see one of them in the Magi. The other we see on Good Friday.
What is truth?
Pontius Pilate, looking into the face of truth asked the question and didn’t find the answer, couldn’t find it – because he didn’t want to find it.
His question ‘What is truth?’ not only reflects a desperate desire within him and many throughout history, that truth should be subjective; but, I believe, it is a sophistic argument to allow them not to have to accept ultimate truth because that would cause them to change when they found it. Pilate didn’t want to look for the truth, didn’t want to have his life affected by it. He would rather be uninformed, ignorant of truth so he could continue on the path to his wants and not his true needs.
This mindset might bring short-term comfort but it eventually leads to great disappointment as it fails to produce the peace and joy within us that we were made for – for it is manmade and not from God. ‘Man is degraded if he can’t know truth, if everything, in the final analysis, is just the product of an individual or collective decision.’ Pope Benedict XVI wrote.
The answer of course, is God; God within. St. Augustine so famously wrote:‘“Great are You, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is your power, and infinite is Your wisdom.” And man desires to praise You, for he is a part of Your creation; he bears his mortality about with him and carries the evidence of his sin and the proof that You resist the proud. Still he desires to praise You, this man who is only a small part of Your creation. You have prompted him, that he should delight to praise You, for You have made us for Yourself and restless is our heart until it comes to rest in You.’
No, we can’t ignore God’s gift and go our own way to achieve happiness for the reasons given by Pope Benedict XVI and St. Augustine. The only correct answer is the one followed by the Magi. We find God regardless of where it leads us. And He will lead us where we don’t expect; where we never thought we would go; but, He will lead us to where our hearts will be fulfilled.
‘…they departed for their country by another way.’ the Gospel ends with today. When we meet our Lord in our hearts we will never continue to walk the same path, we are changed; priorities will be different; desires will be through the eyes of faith and not of flesh. We will have found Truth and recognize it as such; it will not only change us but be our companion.
The Magi, in their hearts were searching for meaning of life, were searching for the truth and traveled great distances and through unimaginable trials to find it, and did. They never allowed Pilate’s fear of the unknown to enter their hearts. As fallen creatures our search for the truth follows the path of the Magi – great distances and unimaginable trials. When the daily choice is put before us of answering as Pilate did or the Magi look to the Wise men. Look for the lighted path, look for the guiding star and though our life will be new it will be filled with the peace and joy we were made for, what we prayed for today at Mass in the Collect (Opening prayer):
O God, who on this day
revealed your Only Begotten Son to the nations
by the guidance of a star,
grant in your mercy
that we, who know you already by faith,
may be brought to behold the beauty of your sublime glory.
May the feast of the Epiphany be a new starting point for each us as we follow the guiding star. May Holy Mary our Mother – Gate of Heaven, Star of the Sea – be our best example and Advocate. Merry Christmas !