Homily for January 4, 2015: Epiphany of the Lord: Msgr. Jim Miller

The Epiphany of the Lord

January 4, 2015

Reading 1 Is 60:1-6

Responsorial Psalm Ps 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13.

R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

reading 2 Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6

Gospel Mt 2:1-12

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Have you studied any of your genealogy? I find it interesting to learn some of my family history. I thank those who have studied my mother’s blood line as I have books on both the Bertling and Johnson families but nothing on the Miller and Anen lines. It is interesting to listen to our parents and grandparents tell stories of their lives and sometimes we wait too long to record this oral history.

This is a good time to study your spiritual roots. Just imagine being in a caravan, not a minivan, traveling to the Holy City of Jerusalem. We can revel in the mystery revealed by the author of Ephesians:  that we are coheirs, members of the same body and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.  We can also admire and imitate the magi from the east who traveled long and far to find the One who would be shepherd to God’s people. From them, we learn that it takes daring and courage to set out on life’s journey. Their itinerary was planned by a star. In a world where travel was not convenient and could be quite dangerous, they allowed themselves to be led.  Moreover, they were not afraid of Herod and were not fooled by his plotting. They followed the signal of a rising star and they were open to accepting revelation that came in the form of a dream.  As we remember their story today, let us allow these magi, our spiritual ancestors, to inspire our faith, daring, courage, generosity and willingness to hope in God’s promises.  They made sacrifices to come and see the new-born King of the Jews, Jesus, Emmanuel, God-with-us.

The Magi took a chance on a star that would lead them to a newborn King.

We all have to take chances. Remember your first day of school? Do you remember the first time you left home to spend a night in a friend’s home? Maybe you take a chance on your first job or a college education as you plan for your future. Maybe we accept the challenge of a vocation that will be fulfilling and we strive to follow the Will of God in our lives. God leads us just as surely as the star led the magi to Bethlehem. We must choose to trust in God’s loving Presence and sure guidance.  There will be inevitable setbacks and challenges as we struggle with following the light; our everyday lives are filled with obstacles and restlessness which can get us off track.

Did you make a new year’s resolution? If you did not it is not too late to make one. The question I have is will it make me a better person.   Will it help me to be a better sign of God’s presence? 

I have decided not to do any gambling at the casino. When I go I usually set a limit on how much I am going to spend but I have exceeded my limit too many times. I am too competitive and too positive that I can win back what I lose even though I know the machines are set to take my money. Although I enjoy playing when I am winning or holding my own it is not something I enjoy more than a good card game that I usually play with no money involved. In a card game there is more personal interaction with other people and there is no second hand smoke to take into my lungs.

If you enjoy spending some time and money at the casino that is ok within reason meaning that you have your limit and do not abuse it. I tell myself and others that we should not lose to the casino more than we give to God through the parish and charities otherwise we make gambling more important than God. For me to go beyond my spending limit is not good stewardship of what God has given me so I have to give it up. It is not unlike an alcoholic who can not take a drink or two without drinking to excess. When something becomes a problem for us then we pray to God for the discipline and help to just say no more. This is the gift that I bring to the Christ child today. What do you bring?