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Our Lady of Victory / St. Malachy
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Caution: Putting a Sunday homily on the Website is tricky business. All the viewer has is a written text. A homily, on the other hand, is "an oral event". It may not have been said or heard the way it was written. In addition, a roughly ten-minute homily is part of a roughly one-hour worship event in which God and God's people communicate with each other by means of ritual, symbol, song, proclamation, prayer. Not everything in these homilies is original. As a homilist, I rely on and at times borrow from other homilists and writers who are not properly mentioned in this format. I am often indebted to them.

Father William Marrevee, s.c.j.

Epiphany

Amazing the number of studies and theories that have been devoted to tracking down the star that the Gospel story talks about. Some of these suggest that the story has to do with an unusual comet that appeared in the sky some 2000 years ago. Others theorize about some sort of conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn that may have occurred some 2000 years ago. And, of course, more recently others speculate about the star being a UFO of some sort. It is all very interesting, but also rather useless.

The truth of the story is not to be found in what happened in the sky 2000 years ago. The truth of the story is much closer to home. What the story is about is not something that happened once some 2000 years ago. In fact, the story has repeated itself over and over again and is happening right here among us. The wise men from the East are mirrors of true believers. They display some basic attitudes of anyone’s faith journey.

What attitudes?

  • The wise men from the East, the true believers of all times and of today do not pretend to have all the answers; they search; they do not dictate where God should show himself. Rather, they are open for God’s self-revelation. They are prepared to accept God on God’s terms, even if God chooses to show himself in the child they find in Bethlehem .


  • Once they have found the child in Bethlehem , they do not simply stall at saying: Is he not adorable! No, they get on their knees and worship God. It takes great wisdom to do that. They do something that especially in our culture is easily labeled as useless, as out of date. Getting on your knees and worshipping God? Our culture almost forces us to ask supposedly more mature questions: Is this relevant? Does this suit our taste? Does this make us feel good? Does this enhance our cause?


  • What the story of the wise men shows us is that when we find ourselves before God, wise men and women don’t ask question like that. Wise men and women get on their knees and adore God; they yield to God, they give themselves over to God. Why? Because wise men and women know and are willing to acknowledge that God is the one to whom we owe our existence. God is the one to whom we are on our way. God is the one to whom we belong. God is the one who gives our lives an anchorage, a purpose. Wise men and women know that yielding to God, giving ourselves over to God makes our lives more complete.


  • “They left for their own country by another road.” That is more than taking another road. Their adoration of God makes them go back to their ordinary life as different, changed people. They have touched base with God who accepts their homage. That has profoundly changed them. Encountering God in prayer, in worship transforms us, makes us see ordinary life differently.

The story of the wise men from the East is really about us…. May we do as the wise men did and what wise men and women of every age, also of our time do: get on our knees and worship God in the one born in Bethlehem .

(while kneeling sing:) O come, let us adore him….

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