“The true epiphany is that God’s glory is a hidden glory.” - Bishop Robert Deeley
The celebration of Christmas and God’s gift of his son cannot be contained to just one day. That was the message Bishop Robert Deeley shared at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland, where he celebrated Mass on the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord.
“It continues through this season and the coming year. An important part of Christmas is the opportunity we have to acknowledge and give thanks for those around who, each day, gift us with their presence, their support, their expertise, and their care,” the bishop said. “We want to rejoice in the mystery of God’s love as we take time to share that love with family and friends in a holiday season. We celebrate with joy, mindful that God is present to us in Jesus Christ.”
The Feast of the Epiphany commemorates the visit of the Magi to worship the baby Jesus. The bishop said their journey from the East shows us that Jesus’ birth was anticipated far beyond the borders of Bethlehem.
“Somehow, there was a longing for the message he would bring to the wider world, the non-Jewish world. Jesus’ message of peace, of God’s presence, was something these men wanted in their lives,” the bishop said.
The bishop said even though, by all indications, the Magi were men of power and wealth, they still were searching for something more.
“These were ‘people of inner unrest,’ as one commentator put it. They were people of hope, people seeking what they would find under the star they had followed. They were probably religious people. Otherwise, how could they have known of the promised Savior they seek?” the bishop asked.
While the bishop noted that the word epiphany means an “appearance” or “manifestation,” he said it also can refer to a sudden and striking discovery, and he said that, in some ways, is what the Magi found.
“We have become so accustomed to the story of Christmas that we might not see how startling it must have been for these wise men to come to the stable and find Mary, Joseph, and an infant. At the end of their search, they find a baby. God, all-powerful, the creator of heaven and earth, chooses to come in silent, humble weakness, a child,” the bishop said. “What the Magi discover is that God’s glory is often a hidden glory,” the bishop said. “The true epiphany is that God’s glory is a hidden glory.”
And, the bishop said, there is a message for us in the story of the Magi.
“God has many epiphanies for us, too. He will show us his glory, and it will often be hidden. It will be different, just as it was for the Magi. Notice the reaction of the Magi. ‘They were overjoyed at seeing the star.’ And they accepted it as it was,” the bishop said. “The challenge of our lives is to see the ways God shows himself to us.”
The bishop urged those gathered at the cathedral to take time to reflect on the gifts God has given each of them.
“As we begin a new year, it might be helpful for us to find what we are thankful for. Each day, we can look at what has happened to us prayerfully and see what God has done for us, how he has blessed us this particular day. In the humility of gratitude, we come to know God better, and we come to appreciate the people in our lives better as we see ourselves blessed by their presence in our lives.”
The Church’s celebration of the Christmas season continues until Monday, January 8, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.