Feast of the Epiphany
6 January 2013
Mass for St. Louis Sisters, Monaghan, 11.45 am.
My dear friends,
There was a rose called Roisin that grew in a lovely walled garden in the company of thousands of other roses, all red like herself. She was told it was a great privilege to have been born into the Red Rose Clan. High standards were expected and she had to obey a lot of rules. One of those rules forbade her to climb over the garden wall. But as she got older she was more and more anxious to know what was on the other side. Overcome by curiosity, she climbed the wall and took a peep. She saw another walled garden similar to her own. In it were lots of roses, very much like herself except in colour – some pink, some white and some yellow.
She was shocked. She had been told there was only one rose – a red rose. An elder of her clan reaffirmed what she had been taught. She was advised firmly to forget those roses on the other side. They did not belong to their clan. The only true rose was the red one. Try as she might, she could not forget what she had seen. So she climbed the wall again and begun to chat with a pink rose from the other side. As time went by, more and more roses from both sides began to meet and converse across the wall.
The roses gradually began to acknowledge each other’s existence and to accept their differences. Even thought there was a wall between them, they learned to communicate with one another in spite of it. In time they began to consider themselves members of one large family, the rose family and a family of great variety and beauty, they agreed.
The Feast of the Epiphany has a strong universal dimension. Christ is revealed as the Saviour, not of a select group of people, but of all peoples. Jesus broke down the great barrier that existed between Jews and the Gentiles. In fact all barriers of tribe and kinship are transcended by his message. The Epiphany is a special and beautiful feast which brings everybody together. “All now share the same inheritance, they are part of the same body.” This does not mean that all barriers have magically disappeared. There are still divisions in families, in communities and between peoples. But these divisions reflect our separation from God.
God sent Jesus into the world to reconcile people with him and with one another. As people reconciled with God through Jesus they became ministers of reconciliation to one another. Talking across fences is important. Christians are called to be agents of love that can bridge all divisions and heal all wounds. The Church ought to be a place where there is room for everyone.
The wise men were ancestors to all of us. The journey towards wholeness and holiness is a long one and does not have an earthly end. If we don’t have a star to guide us we do have the Word of God and each other by way of support and direction. We are strengthened for the journey in the breaking of bread. We commune with the Lord in word and sacrament and in each other. We pray that, on our personal journeys, the Lord in his presence in us may enable us to reach across barriers of division, and be ministers of reconciliation to others, in seeking to establish the kingdom of God and the unified family of mankind.
+Liam S. MacDaid
6 January 2013