Homily – Feast of the Epiphany 2019

The texts of Scripture that we have just heard – and that we have been contemplating this morning --- underscore the universality of the redeeming love of the Triune God as revealed to us in the child Jesus, under the loving care of Mary and Joseph, adored by Magi from the East who were skilled in scrutiny of the signs of the times and disposed to follow the star, to recognize the child as savior of the world, and to elect another road to become witnesses of the Good News.

The prophet, like us, knows firsthand the difficult situation in which the peoples live. The hard reality of poverty, inequality, structural injustice that keeps for just the few what is necessary for a dignified life: … shadows cover the earth and thick cloud covers the peoples.

The prophet does not stand paralyzed before a great difficulty that seems impossible to change. Instead he adds a “but” that becomes for us a call to try to change that reality: but upon you the Lord shines, and in you appears his glory. The peoples will walk by your light and kings by your shining radiance.

The shock of King Herod, the scribes and the Pharisees, reflects the perception of the signs of the times by the privileged who hold the power of this world. They feel threatened by the rising of his star, because they too know – and very well – the disgraceful situation of the people. The shadows that cover the earth and the cloud that shrouds the peoples are the source of their profit and privilege. For nothing in the world do they want the light to rise or the cloud to lift. They are well informed. They know the desires of redemption profoundly rooted in the simple people. They know the pledge of the God of Israel, his promise to save his people from the clutches of the oppressor. … They resort to a ploy to convert the foreigners – the Magi from the East, men of good will – into their accomplices to maintain their privileged position. It is a subtle form of the abuse of conscience … Since their plot fails, Herod has no hesitation in continuing to abuse his power by ordering that all children younger than two years old be killed in an attempt to eradicate any threat to his dominion and the social and religious conditions that support it (Mt 2,16). The Holy Innocents, their mothers and fathers, and the people to which they belong, are victims of the abuse of power… There can be no doubt, abuse is a plague, a demon, present and active in human history, in all spaces, without distinction, as we have become aware recently even in the community of the followers of Jesus, in the Church, with our Society included.

As they kneel before Jesus, adore him, and offer themselves along with their gifts, the Magi represent the polar opposite of the abuse that covers the world. They become witnesses and messengers of the hope of overcoming that situation. Touched by the rising of the light of Christ, signified by the star that leads them to Bethlehem, the Magi take to the road and, transformed by the encounter with the child, choose the different road of the universal call to reconciliation and justice. The Magi become witnesses to the truth that through the Gospel, the pagans too are coheirs of the inheritance, members of the same body, and participants in the same promise in Christ Jesus.

The Society of Jesus, too, is born from the action of taking to the road, the action of the Pilgrim Ignatius and the first companions, brought together from diverse nations and cultures, to follow the same star, discovered in the experience of the Spiritual Exercises. They choose to travel together to put themselves at the disposition of the Holy Father and the universal needs of the mission of the Church. They invent that modo nuestroof being together – united in spirit --- and disperse to attend to the needs of the peoples of any corner of the Vineyard of the Lord to which they are sent.

This time of Christmas has given us again the opportunity to confirm our desire to be ever more sensitive to the signs of the times; our desire not to faint along the road marked out by the General Congregations for the service of the mission of Christ; to contemplate in Mary and Joseph the audacity of the impossible; to discern the call of Abba-God to collaborate in the work of redemption and to choose to receive the child Jesus among us and to accompany him in his growth. Like the Magi, we have had in this time a new opportunity to recognize the redeemer in the fragility of the child Jesus, to adore him and to offer our gifts and ourselves as a simple collaboration with his work of reconciliation.

In these days of the meeting of the Enlarged Council, let us be sensitive to the words of the Prophet: Raise your eyes and look about. To that we have been called, to lift up our eyes to discover the star – the Lord – who illumines our gaze over the whole world. The Lord offers us the possibility of acquiring that universal vision that comes with the grace by which it has been revealed to us that salvation is offered to all peoples. As a universal apostolic body we have elected to be companions in the mission of reconciliation and justiceto collaborate with all we have and are in the work of redemption.

The discernment of the Universal Apostolic Preferences, in addition to confirming and renewing our disponibility to receive the mission from the Vicar of Christ on earth, leads us to find the best way possible, in accordance with our charism, to use all our resources to work -- as we have responded in the psalm – that the weak be freed from the powerful who abuse them; that those who have no protection be defended; that the helpless and the poor find compassion; that the unfortunate be saved. Thus we desire to contribute to a flowering of peace in these difficult days in which we live, that the reign of God may extend from sea to sea, from one end of the earth to the other.

Let us ask the Lord for new eyes, like those he gave to Mary, Joseph, and the Magi, that we may be able to see his star rise, to adore the child, to make ourselves the ofrenda de mayor estima y momento, and to elect the path of greater service to the mission of the Church.

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Posted by Communications Office - Editor in Curia Generalizia
Communications Office
The Communications Office of the General Curia publishes news of international scope on the central government of the Society of Jesus and on the commitments of the Jesuits and their partners. It also handles media relations.

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