We hear the word “epiphany” mentioned occasionally in the secular world. Recently, I heard the hosts on a sports talk radio show say that the Redskins owner needs to have an epiphany about the state of the football team. No arguments here! We also hear words similar to epiphany such as “Aha moment” and “light bulb went on”. We understand these to mean that it is an awareness or realization of something for the first time, and usually is very powerful. In today’s feast of the Epiphany, we refer to the visit of Christ by the Magi with words like manifestation and revelation. It’s the same concept as awareness and realization, and it means that Christ has been revealed and the three kings realize who he is.
Last year, I gave you the following epiphany formula for the Magi (and for us):
● God will show you a star – something or someone that will lead you to where He is.
● God will reveal Himself to you in a personal and profound way.
● Do Him homage.
● You will be overjoyed in your encounter with Him.
● Offer Him gifts (e.g., your life as gold)
● Go home a different way (i.e., change your life)
Allow me to focus on the first one – God showing a star (a sign). I’m friends with a young woman and her family. She was raised strongly Catholic but has faced a few road bumps in college with her faith. God sent her a star: a young religious sister who has actually been a long-time friend of her family’s. This nun called her out of the blue weeks ago to invite her to a conference with thousands of other Catholic college students in January. She accepted and is currently at the FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) conference in Indianapolis with 17,000 other college students. Yes, 17,000!
This young woman is looking for a sign like the Magi were. If she wasn’t, she would have politely declined the Sister. She has made a pretty serious commitment over her Christmas break. First, she is traveling to and from Indy on a bus with students from another university. That’s bold socially and spiritually! Second, she will be spending a few days with thousands of others doing Catholic stuff continuously – Mass, Adoration, Confession, talks, workshops, etc. It will be uber Catholic. She won’t be the only one there struggling with her faith, of course. But, the vast majority will be strong believers as well as many youth leaders of faith.
For what is she looking? In other words, what is her star? My guess is that her star will be a reason(s) to believe. Another way to say it is she is looking for evidence. She is very smart, and is looking for evidence that this whole thing about Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church is for real. She needs to see it for herself. Her parents or priests or even that nun can tell her there was a star, but she needs to see the evidence for herself. She needs to make it her own. And believe me, that conference is custom-made for very intelligent college students like her who need to see in order to believe. I have great confidence that when we speak next, she will tell me about the star she saw that led her (back) to Christ. Her initial star in all of this, of course, was the Sister who invited her to the conference. See what happens when we simply invite people!
God is calling each of us to be a star to someone else. If that isn’t clear to you now, it will be soon. He will use you to be that sign for someone else to have an epiphany about His Son. He has done this for the past 2,000 years. Go back up to the formula of the Epiphany and remember how this happened for you. He used someone else to be a sign for you, and you have done Him homage and been happily changed ever since. He wants you to be the main player in someone else’s Epiphany. He wants you to be a star!
Christ is born!