Today we celebrate the Feast day of the Epiphany. Out of curiosity, I looked up the definition of epiphany outside the meaning that Jesus gives to the meaning of this word. One dictionary said, “a moment of sudden revelation or insight” and another added, “an appearance or manifestation, especially of a deity”. In the latter definition, we understand that a physical manifestation happens. In the first definition, what happens is in the mind.
But how does this apply to Jesus and our understanding of Him? The first thing that happened was that God became flesh. God actually came to earth, was conceived in a virgin womb, was born on a specific day in time, walked and talked with us and even died for us on a cross. To push it even further, He rose from the dead in a specific tomb and ascended into heaven. Jesus’ whole life was a manifestation of God, His ways, His character, His mercy and His love.
The three kings saw a manifestation in the sky. A star was born. This was no coincidence. They knew something special had happened. They immediately went in haste to find the new born king. Their minds were not sure what kind of king, but they knew it was big! They were willing to follow a star for up to two years that led them to the place He was born. After the first manifestation, they discovered another. This king was no ordinary King, He is our God! The birth of Jesus revealed something about God. God came as a little child. God acted in humility.
The manifestation of God in Baby Jesus made man ponder the character of God in His humility and gentleness. Religion is no longer man’s pursuit of God, but we discovered God pursues us. God took the time and actively entered humanity so that He could actively enter into your life. Yet a third manifestation occurs in the “sudden revelation and insight”. God is not the domineering person humanity makes Him out to be.
Every action in Jesus’ life was a manifestation of His mercy and love. We can learn from Him who He really is. But like going to work every day while driving the same route, we may miss what is right there in front our nose. One day I was complaining to a person about looking for a place I needed to go and get something, but could not find the place locally. The person smiled and told me where the place was. I drove by it every day! How easy it is to miss the things available to us when we do not open our eyes and look. And how easy it is to miss the point in the life of Jesus when we do not know it’s right there. It even physically manifests itself to us.
But God’s manifestation did not stop with his death and resurrection. His love and mercy is manifested in the sacraments, sacramentals, our sacred prayers, the Bible and all the gifts He gives us through His Holy Church. If only we have eyes to see, ears to hear and a mind to understand (Mt 13:13). May the Epiphany be your constant reality.