‘All who heard from the shepherds were amazed.’ (LK 2:18)
‘Being Christian is encounter with a Person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.’ Pope Emeritus Benedict
Are we still amazed by Christ’s coming into our lives? Believe me, if we are not amazed than no-one else will be either. We must move beyond Christmas—the coming of Jesus—into Epiphany, the shining of His Glory upon our genuinely amazing lives.
Stir it up, people. Provoke each other. Consider how He has helped you in your raw realities. Don’t edit; the greater the mess you made, the more relevant He became! Dare to share with others how He walked with you to the end of your schemes until He became Your new beginning. People are not as interested in abstract dogma as they are about how Jesus actually helps us in our brokenness.
I must remind myself daily: “Jesus, You opened up my little ‘gay world’ and freed me to resume the journey toward mature, purposeful love. I thank You and praise You for exchanging my shame for something arduous and glorious.”
I think of my beloved colleague Maite who just heard from a schoolmate, 20-years-later, who was inquiring about her now public story of overcoming same-sex attraction. Such a story embarrasses some, offends others (‘Gays cannot change and should not have to!’). To this searching woman, the light of Jesus shining on Maite was an invitation to Life, amazing and glorious.
Glorious is right. I was struck by Luke 2 of the link between God’s glory and our amazing lives. God opens the heavens for these humble shepherds—He dazzles them with the infinite wattage of Glory over Christ’s birth. Reflecting that glory, these men manifested Jesus—they made His birth known—through the witness of their lives.
Similarly, His glory rises upon us when we are faithful to proclaim the truth of His coming. We do so well when we bear witness of how His light overcame the darkness in our lives.
Every day at Mass I am reminded of what He overcame in me. First we welcome His mercy then we extol the Lord’s Glory. What a fitting response to Him who cancels out our sins and gives us Himself—His very light and life as the basis for our new forgiven life. Because of what Jesus did for us, we the weak and undeserving can assume His radiance, His power, and even His greatness.
Glorious. And yet I find myself gravitating more to my need for mercy than in reflecting that glory. Why am I still more comfortable in weakness than in the vigorous demands of greatness? Familiarity with the former, I think, and perhaps a shirking of responsibility to make Him known.
So I challenge myself this Epiphany: “Jesus shine on Your servant! May I not deflect with a downcast gaze Your glorious power in my life! Make my joy full as I bear witness of how Your Light entered my life, and the darkness could not overcome it. In truth, everything good You reclaimed and helped me reintegrate.”
Amazing. Glory to You, Lord Jesus Christ!
‘The birth of Christ in our souls is for a purpose far beyond ourselves. We the enkindled must become useful for His Kingdom.’ Evelyn Underhill
‘Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth, and thick darkness is over the people. But the Lord rises upon you, and His glory appears over you.’ (IS 60: 1, 2)