The feast of the Epiphany is celebrated throughout the world on this day. Presents are exchanged and family celebrations are happening today. An hour away from our home is the huge Greek Orthodox community of Tarpon Springs, Florida. They celebrate every January 6th in a special way. It is a day of prayer and feasting. The Greek Bishop blesses the sponge fleet. A highlight of the celebration is the dive of teenage boys into the harbor to retrieve a special cross. According to their tradition the teenager who comes up with the cross, has good luck and privilege for the year. Last summer on a day trip with our granddaughter, my wife Anna and I meet a young man in his thirties who dove and retrieved the cross as a boy. It is an extremely popular event during the tourist season in Florida but I had never met anyone that had actually found the cross. He was extremely nice and talked about how not only the year he caught the cross but how God had blessed him and his family trough the following years of his life.
In our Catholic tradition we do not celebrate the Epiphany of Our Lord until tomorrow. However, the Kingship of Our Lord is celebrated today. In either gospel choice for today Mark 1:7-11 or Luke 3 we see the kingship or lineage of Jesus going back to Adam. What is important is that Jesus is King. The wise men recognized this. These Magi who by tradition are Casper, Melchior and Balthasar brought gifts of gold, frankincense(Exodus 30:23 &34) and myrrh (anointing) which are gifts fit for the King.
These gifts would be important, because the Holy Family would have to escape to Egypt soon after the wise men left to go back to their own country. At a leading retailer in the United States (name withheld to protect the innocent) on the web or in store you can purchase samples of all three gifts for less than $55 . Granted the gold is only a fleck. The gifts are a symbol.
The point is that we have eternal life through the king.
1 John 5:11 “And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”
If we accept human testimony, the testimony of God is surely greater. For the Magi, the young man from Tarpon Springs and you and me in the year 2018 who are listening to God’s word the answer seems clear and unbelievably simple. In all we do and say this year we should be more like the King.We have the King in us. If we are more like the King, Jesus, we will surely have a life on earth but more importantly in heaven.
As this new year has begun, I have reassessed my spiritual life and have come to the conclusion that I have been greatly blessed. I have a part-time job I love, a family that is mostly healthy and Jesus, the King, in my life. I am not wealthy or handsome but I am extremely blessed.
God Bless you and Happy New Year
Readings 1 John 5:5-13; Psalm 147:12-13,14-15,19-20; Mark 1:7-11 or Luke 3:23-38