Sunday January 3, 2016
The Epiphany of the Lord
I have always liked the short story by Henry van Dyke call The Other Wise Man. It was made into a movie starring Martin Sheen called The Fourth Wise Man. The premise of the story is that there were not three wise men, magi, from the east but four, the fourth one's name was Artaban. Now Artaban was late to the meeting place from which the magi were to start their journey of following the star so he was always playing catch-up to the other three. He never catches up to them and so he does not meet the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. By the time he gets there the others are gone and so is the Holy Family.
Artaban is determined to meet the Christ so from Bethlehem he sets out on a journey to catch up, to meet the Christ. He wants to give him some rare stones, jewels, that he has brought along however Artaban is late for every opportunity to meet Jesus because he is always stopping to help someone in need. He finally ends his journey after many, many years in Jerusalem. He is old and tired and he has given all his precious stones away to help others. He is dejected because he now has nothing to give Jesus if he meets him.
Artaban finally does meet Jesus as Jesus is carrying his Cross to Calvary. Jesus tells Artaban that he is thankful for his many gifts. Artaban doesn't understand because he thinks he has no gift to give. Jesus tells Artaban that his life has been his gift. Every time he stopped to help someone it was a gift and Jesus is very pleased with the gift, in fact it is the best gift!
I always think of this story on the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, because I think Artaban represents all of us. At birth we all begin a journey to meet the Lord, it is called life. We have many opportunities to encounter Jesus. Sometimes we miss him and sometimes we don't. Our gift is our life and how we live it. Each time we help others we add to our gift, each time we help others encounter Jesus we add to our gift, each time we live life to the best of our ability we add to our gift!
We find ourselves in the midst of a world that often does not recognize Christ and does not give the gifts we have been entrusted with. We live in a world that often does not see the needs of others around us. We live in a world that often disrespects the gift of life. We live in a world that often fails to see people in need because we have our backs turn and we think only of ourselves!
The Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord reminds us that Christ's presence and message is universal, Jesus came for all. Again let me repeat that – Jesus came for all of us! Our challenge is to bring that message to the world for Jesus by not turning our backs, by not holding on to our gifts but by sharing our gifts with whomever we meet. During this Holy Year of Mercy let us continue our journey to find the Christ, let us live our lives, let us give our gifts, let us share God with others.
Happy Epiphany everyone and have a great Sunday and may the Passion of Jesus Christ be always in your heart! Peace in Christ’s Passion…Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P.