• January 27, 2017

Epiphany: A Feast of Signs

The Feast of the Epiphany is the feast of signs, the signs that God gives which are evoked in the antiphon for this feast…Three signs:
the sign given to the Magi,
the Baptism of Jesus, resounding the full glory of the Father
the wed­ding feast of Cana where the water is trans­formed into wine.

Through these signs, what is most impor­tant is the man­i­fes­ta­tion of the pres­ence of God which is revealed through tan­gible ele­ments…

We are cer­tainly, like all living crea­tures, sub­ject to cer­tain in­herent needs: eating, drinking, sleeping and all the rest. Yet beyond these needs there is an even more pressing need: a need for freedom, a need to not be defined by these mate­rial needs, a need to let this very net­work of mate­rial neces­si­ties become a symbol of a lim­it­less space of light and love. This you know well because you do it nat­u­rally - when, for example, you invite your friends over for dinner. You do this for the sole reason of appeasing their hunger, and you gather them around a table to revel in their friend­ship. You dec­o­rate the table, pre­cisely in order to hide any trace of these mate­rial needs, so that their eyes can delight in your gen­erosity, so that every part of your feast becomes the symbol of the gift of your­self. You want your house to be inhab­ited, you want who­ever enters to feel wel­comed by a friend’s pres­ence. This is how we dis­cover the majesty of the world, the splendor of life, very nat­u­rally through this sym­bolism which makes us resort to the vis­ible and the tan­gible as a man­i­fes­ta­tion of the invis­ible, the spir­i­tual, of pres­ence, ten­der­ness, good­ness and love.

And we always see how reality, every­thing real, turns us toward the mys­tery… Nothing is better or more useful for us than to med­i­tate upon this rec­on­cil­i­a­tion of the vis­ible and the invis­ible; nothing is more mar­velous than to con­tem­plate that we do not have to reject nor despise the world, but instead to love it with an infinite love. To love it by deci­phering it, to love it by scru­ti­nizing the secret which over­flows from it, to love it in order to make of it an offering in which we com­mu­ni­cate with God….

It’s already amazing enough to order our lives in beauty, it’s mar­velous to be able to make our homes a symbol of a friendly wel­come. But it’s even more beau­tiful to be able to make our whole lives a way His divine pres­ence shines forth.

Fr. Maurice Zundel, Lausanne, Switzerland, Homily for Epiphany 1967

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