05 Editorial - The Light of Universal Revelation - Fr Anthony Charanghat

posted Jan 4, 2019, 9:01 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 4, 2019, 9:01 AM ]
Epiphany is the feast of the great light of universal revealing, of God reaching out to humankind, and humankind awakening to God’s initiative. Epiphany pushes us beyond the boundaries of religion, race and revelation. Non-Christians, as well as Christians, encounter God. Even non-believers – agnostics and atheists – may awaken to divine revelation in Jesus Christ.

The Epiphany event narrated in the story of the coming of the Magi underlines that when they spot the star they ‘arise and shine,’ in the spirit of Isaiah, and journey towards Bethlehem. Guided by their natural and scientific wisdom and readiness to take risks, they set out on a journey to respond to the divine initiative of revelation through a bright star and a baby’s birth.

To understand the dynamics of human response to the Divine manifestation, it is appropriate to focus on the spiritual pilgrimages of the Magi. A star guides the Magi to a journey to seek the Lord, a dream warns them to detour around Jerusalem, away from their old paths and the child’s enemies. These changes are the result of a change of heart, a spiritual experience, sparked off by the light of revelation, leading to spiritual transformation.

The message of the Epiphany is that God does not privilege wealth, power or race. The Christ-child, the star of the ages, is born in a lowly stable, among an oppressed people, and not among the learned and affluent, or the typical preservers of the Jewish faith tradition. His first witnesses are the working poor shepherds, domestic animals, and later, spiritual pilgrims from a foreign land.

Epiphany celebrates God’s generous and varied revelations among the peoples of the world. The religion of the Magi, different as it is from the faith of the Jewish people, is not deficient but the result of God’s unique manifestation, appropriate to each people. The season of Epiphany invites us to celebrate the many faces of God, found in the many religious pathways of humankind that need to be completed by their encounter with Jesus.

The encounter of the Magi with the baby Jesus and His star reveals the expansion of their faith beyond parochialism to become a truly global faith. We live in a revelatory universe, where the stars above and the spirit within witness to God’s loving providence. God is known first in relationship, from which flexible and healing experiences emerge that lead us to wholeness.

Clergy leaders and Christians are called to be grasped by the amazing mystery of the reconciliation represented by wise men from different nations and allow themselves to be moved to prayer, through which God’s strength and power through the Holy Spirit may move forward with the ministry of God’s Kingdom.

Seekers are invited to be open to the Holy Spirit, through whom faith is made manifest and the spirit’s power is manifested in and through all that they do. The Church is indeed unique, in that God’s salvation and revelation of the Holy Spirit are made manifest, in and through the reconciling ministry of the Gospel.

Without reconciliation of nations, peoples, tribes and ethnicities, ‘the knowledge and fullness of God’ will remain a mystery, even to the leaders of the Church. It is when people experience reconciliation that they become part of the Church, and eventually are drawn into the work of peace, justice and love.

Epiphany calls all churches of the 21st century to re-examine the nature of its ecumenical existence, and realise that the mission of the Christians is to make God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit known to the world and across the globe. In all its facets, the mystery of the Epiphany revelation is a clarion call to us to a life of love, manifested in the inclusive welcoming and accepting all peoples into the fullness of God’s universal plan of salvation.