Saturday, January 5, 2008

Feast of the Epiphany (A)

A wealthy businessman was now old and wanted to retire. So he called his three sons and told them: “I am not going to divide my business and give it to all three of you. What I want to find out is this: which of you is the best businessman. So I am going to test the three of you. Whoever wins the test gets the whole business.”

So the old man gave each of the sons a thousand pesos. With that money each one was supposed to buy something which would fill a big empty room. The boy who filled the room most completely would win.

The first boy went out and bought a big leafy tree. He had it cut down and dragged into the room. It filled about half the room.

The second young man went out and bought all the kunai grass which some farmers were cutting off their field. They carried it in and filled most of the room.

The third boy was the smartest. He went to a small trade store and bought a candle for 25c. In the evening, after dark, he called his dad over to the large empty room. He then put the little candle down on the floor in the middle of the room and lighted it. After a minute or so he turned to his father and said, “Dad, can you see any little corner of this room which is not filled by the light of that tiny candle?”

That boy won the business.

(The story is from an unknown author)

There is an interesting fact about darkness that we should know by heart. Darkness, no matter how sometimes overwhelming it is, can be destroyed by the smallest of lights. Such is the inspiration of the lyrics of the song: “It is better to light just one little candle than to stumble in the dark.”

The idea of a light shining in the dark is the central message of the feast of the Epiphany. The Church celebrates the manifestation of Jesus Christ who is the full revelation of God’s love for humanity. The three wise men represent people from different parts of the world who accept Jesus as the light that brightens the whole world, a light no darkness can extinguish.

The feast of the Epiphany reminds us of our special calling to be a light of the world. We are to be living images of our Lord who overcame darkness by his very life, a life filled with love and self-giving. Christians, no matter how ordinary or how little, are called to share the love of God to everyone.

A spiritual writer identifies two centers of force in the world, namely: the “force of having” and “the force of giving”. Herod is the exact representative of the force of having. He is so self-absorbed. He only thinks of himself and of what he can get. Herod’s narcissism prompts him to kill the innocent children and many others whom he suspects as rivals to the throne. If the force of having rules, there would be chaos, darkness and death. The three wise men represent the force of giving. They know that their powers are entrusted to them to serve the needs of others. They recognize a greater Power that controls everything in the world. They want to know Him and to give honor to Him. Their humble recognition of God’s sovereignty moves them to go out of their comfort zones in order to find the Light of lights. If the force of giving rules, there would be peace, happiness and fullness of life.

British TV celebrity Malcolm Muggeridge went to India to film Mother Teresa’s nuns working with dying patients. His camera crew didn’t anticipate the poor lighting in the building and failed to bring extra lights. So they thought it useless to film the sisters at work. But someone suggested they do it anyway. Maybe some footage would be usable. To everyone’s surprise, the film was spectacular. It was illumined by a mysterious light. Muggeridge believes the light resulted from a “glow” of love radiating from the sisters’ faces. He sensed this “glow” himself when he first entered the building. He says it was “like the haloes that artists have seen and made visible round the heads of saints.” He adds, “I find it not at all surprising that the luminosity should register on photographic film.”

(The story is from an unknown author)