The Happy Priest on the Feast of the Epiphany and Man's Search for God
All human beings will find meaning in life by being open to God
"Our hearts are restless, until they find their rest in you". This Sunday's feast of the Epiphany reminds us to reflect on these memorable words of Saint Augustine. The Three Kings of this Sunday's gospel narrative, their lives incomplete, unsatisfied despite their wealth, fame and power, came in search of the only one who can satisfy the deepest aspirations of the human heart. They longed to find the very meaning of their existence.
The Feast of the Epiphany calls us to recognize the presence of the Lord and His Truth in our daily lives
All human beings will find meaning in life by being open to God. The Three Kings, whose coming we celebrate today, were not Jewish; they came from the Orient. Some scholars believe that they began their travels together from Persia, while others believe that they came from three different regions of the Orient, one of them perhaps being China.
Obviously, the Magi were not part of the chosen people. They were not Jews. Instead they formed part of the vast populace extending throughout the known world at that time, designated by the Jews as pagans, or gentiles.
The Three Kings of this Sunday's gospel narrative, their lives incomplete, unsatisfied despite their wealth, fame and power, came in search of the only one who can satisfy the deepest aspirations of the human heart. They longed to find the very meaning of their existence.
After a long and difficult search, they discovered the place where he lay. They encountered the one who had come to redeem mankind and fulfill our intense longings. Knowing him for who he is, the Messiah, the Magi have brought him the most appropriate gifts: gold for a king, frankincense for a priest, and myrrh for a victim. They recognize that he is Jesus the Christ, the only one through whom salvation can be found.
Because the Three Kings were open, they were given the gift of faith. Through this gift they searched, they found, and they believed. Actually, the word epiphany is from the Greek which means manifestation. Jesus the Messiah reveals his divinity to the Three Kings.
Certainly today, three of the most blinding obstacles we encounter in the search for meaning and truth are secularism, relativism and pride.
Secularism only concerns itself with the here and now. It has no use for matters regarding the existence of God, the immortality of soul, or the eternal destiny of man
The secularist passionately seeks human progress without any reference to the spiritual dimension of the human person. The secularist is only concerned with this life and has no concern with religion. In fact, the secularist attempts to experience human satisfaction through involvement in seemingly noble enterprises that are in essence missing the total picture of man's true needs.
Secularism keeps us from searching for God; it keeps us from finding true meaning in life. Historically, the Catholic Church has never had to deal with secularism until the arrival of our modern age. Secularism and paganism are very different indeed.
The pagan believes in the transcendent. The pagan has an understanding that there is an afterlife and that the soul is immortal. The pagan also lives by a moral code that has its roots in divine law. In contrast, for the secularist, there is no God, no eternal life, and morality is arbitrarily contrived without any reference to God.
The mission of the Church in the secularist world is very difficult indeed simply because the pagan is much more open to truth and can be easily converted, whereas the secularist is usually as hard as a rock. Sometimes the secularist opens up to the true meaning of life through some terrible tragedy such as a dreadful sickness or even death itself. However, many times the secularist is so closed off to the transcendent that no movement toward God is even possible.
Catholics need to be aware of secularism and not allow it to affect their lives. However, many Catholics have been poisoned by this pervasive system of thought.
It is unfortunate that often even in our liturgies, the transcendent has been replaced with the secular. Many times liturgical practices, music and architecture no longer mirror the transcendent, but rather, they have been reduced to the common and ordinary. Our liturgical life has become either a weekly boring exercise which has caused many Catholics to leave, or it has been converted into weekly pep-rallies. Pope Benedict has recognized a need for the sacred to be discovered in the reformed liturgy of the Second Vatican Council. This of course can be achieved, if we were to simply celebrate the Mass the way it is prescribed in the liturgical texts.
Regarding relativism, first we must understand that it differs from secularism. The relativist often believes in God, an afterlife, and the immortality of the soul. However, the relativist believes that the human person is the measure of truth. What is true and what is not true is subject to ...
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