Homily for the Epiphany of the Lord 2013

Homily (Sermon) – Epiphany of the Lord 

Old Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalm Psalm 71
New Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6
Gospel Matthew 2:1-12
[These readings can be found at www.universalis.com for the next few weeks.]

As they entered the stable they fell to their knees and offered the gifts they had brought. The gifts were rare and valuable gifts and it may be that the wise men had no idea of the prophetic nature of the gifts. But a prophetic nature they had.

Gold for the kingship of Christ, David's heir, the expected leader of the Jewish race. Frankincense, a sweet smelling spice, used in incense, representing Christ High Priest, the Priest who would offer the ultimate sacrifice for us to God, and Myrhh another spice this time for use in preparing a body after death, here Christ's death as the sacrificial lamb, is foreshadowed.

The words in the hymn We Three Kings couldn't describe better the treasures they gave and the meanings they had. Next time you sing the words, think about them. It's a wonderful lesson set to music.

King for ever, ceasing never, over us all to reign.
Prayer and praising, all are raising, Worship him God most high.
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying. Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.

There is a line in Proverbs (25:2) “It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.” And with that phase in mind and the story of the wise men, or Kings, in our hearts, I want you to consider, that you, by your baptism, are a member of the Royal Priesthood of the Church. It is your glory, to search for Gods concealed treasure, and when you find them, in your moments of epiphany, it is your honour, to offer them in worship and homage to Christ.

Christ offers you adoption into His royal family. You are a King, a Queen, a Prince, a Princess, you are royalty! You are a member of the royal family of Christ

What do you intend to do with this gift. The wise men that we heard about in today’s Gospel spent their lives studying and searching for Christ. Will you do the same? They were the first gentiles to see Christ, to worship Him, to bring Him gifts. You are called by your baptism to do the same, but you are also called to stand beside Christ, to work with Him. To take His message, His promise, His Gift out to the world. That’s what being part of this Church means.

This year we celebrate a Year of Faith, a yearlong celebration for the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. Vatican 2 was unique, unlike all the councils before, Vatican 2 was called not to address a spreading heresy, but to look at the Church, and to look at the role it needed to play in the modern world.

One of the first documents that Vatican 2 produced was Lumen Gentium, so called because Lumen Gentium are the first words, in Latin, of the first sentence.
“Christ is the Light of nations. Because this is so, this Sacred Synod gathered together in the Holy Spirit eagerly desires, by proclaiming the Gospel to every creature, to bring the light of Christ to all men, a light brightly visible on the countenance of the Church.” 
Lumen Gentium, describe the Church and the role of the Church. Chapter 4 is all about you, the laity. I want to read you a beautiful paragraph from Lumen Gentium, about you, about your life, about your calling.
“The laity, by their very vocation, seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God. They live in the world, that is, in each and in all of the secular professions and occupations. They live in the ordinary circumstances of family and social life, from which the very web of their existence is woven. They are called there by God that by exercising their proper function and led by the spirit of the Gospel they may work for the sanctification of the world from within as a leaven.”
Isn't that a beautiful!

Do you know what a leaven is? Leaven is a raising agent; yeast in bread is a leaven. Without yeast your loaf of bread would be flat like a pitta or nan bread, but add yeast to the mix and the bread rises into a soft and delicious loaf. The yeast works from within. That’s the comparison the Church uses to describe your work. You are to be led by the Holy Spirit to work for the sanctification of the world from within as a leaven.

As you go about your lives this week, I want you to think about ‘ordering the daily events of your life according to Gods plan’, and ‘about sanctifying the world from within.’

You were given a wonderful job 50 years ago, what are you going to do about it this year?

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