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Mystery of Divine Manifestation

posted Jan 4, 2018, 10:46 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 4, 2018, 10:46 PM ]
- Fr Anthony Charanghat

Epiphany has much to teach us about the mystery of Divine Manifestation as a deep personal spiritual encounter, which transforms the life of people, leading them deeper into prayer and a profound experience of metanoia. The Magi are the surprising seeing ones, guided to Jerusalem by their own drive to seek wisdom by nature’s partial revelation in the star that rises in the East. In that city they learn where they will find the child from the special revelation of God’s word and wisdom to Israel and are blessed for their relentless quest to joyfully gaze upon the newborn King of Israel. 

The Magi were willing to take the risks and add to their scholarly wisdom the Hebrew Scriptures in their search for the royal child. St Paul reminds us the gentiles who believe in Jesus are in the same position as the Jewish people. In Christ, everyone can be sons or daughters of God. God has no cultural or national favourites. The key to union with God is faith in Jesus Christ. What a treasured encounter this must have been, to see the Lord of all the universe wrapped in swaddling clothes, laying in a feeding trough. 

The Magi thrill our imagination and bring wonder and excitement to the faith-filled search for Jesus that is the focus of every disciple’s journey through life. Because of the depth of their experience, the Magi simply cannot be the same afterward. Therefore, instead of following their original plan of returning to Herod, they departed for their country by another way. This physical itinerary change expresses a deeper spiritual experience. They cannot be the same as they were before they encountered the Christ. The magi experience a metanoia. 

Metanoia is a Greek word which literally means ‘a change of mind,’ and it expresses the transforming impact that an encounter with Jesus Christ should have in our lives. A metanoia involves a different way of seeing, which should then lead to a different way of acting. The Magi encounter Christ in worship, and they leave, physically and spiritually, in a different manner than they arrived. 

The rarity of this Magi experience in the modern Christian life is due to our spiritual apathy and inertia of a way of life that works as a sedative numbing us to the need of God. How many of us have attended Mass, Sunday after Sunday, only to return to our lives by the same way, failing to put more effort into the spiritual life to change course. For too long, our own lack of metanoia has provided a roadblock hindering others from experiencing their own change of heart and mind. 

The attractive signs for us this Christmas season are not the LED lights or colourful decorations but an awakening for an encounter with the light of His presence. The most attractive part is that hope is kindled for the rebirth of fellowship and faith - a seeking to rebuild our own lives, to reach out to asylum seekers and refugees and to heed the cry of the needy! 

For unbelievers, the Epiphany reveals that God gives every person on earth a sign of the reality of His saving presence. For people of Faith, that Christ embrace is for everyone: shepherd and king, rich and poor, male and female, Jew and Gentile. He calls us to widen our embrace as wide as the embrace of the universal Church. For those who are drifting in their belief, however deep the night, His light is also there to guide us to that perfect light which is Jesus Christ. 

This Epiphany, we ask that our encounter with the Lord may lead to a change of mind and heart within ourselves. People of goodwill, friends, neighbours, and family members are counting on the light that our life-transforming experience of Christ has brought us, to ignite that light into their lives!