Living In Hope: The Epiphany

January 4, 2020

Advent and Christmas are my favorite seasons of the year.  They capture the very reason I hope in the first place. For the next 6 weeks of Advent and Christmas Retreat, we will be Living in Hope!  Each week, we will focus on one person or persons who helps us live in hope through reflection questions, suggested action, and prayer — including the text of the Sunday readings for easy access.

**Registration for the Online Busy Person’s Retreat, January 27-30, is OPEN NOW! This is the personalized, one-on-one retreat that comes to you and fits into your busy life! Register here

WEEK 6: The Epiphany

Happy Epiphany!  It’s hard to believe we are at the end of the Christmas season.  I hope that the graces of the season take deep root in your life.

Let’s start with–what does epiphany mean?  It means a sudden and profound understanding of something.  In the realm of our Christian faith, the feast of the epiphany refers to the ways Christ made himself known to the world.  While we celebrate the Epiphany on January 6th most often with the story of the Magi, there are three components to this feast day: 

1.  Jesus revealing himself to the Magi 
2.  Jesus’ Baptism 
3.  Jesus’ first miracle at the Wedding of Cana

All three of these events revealed something about Jesus to the world.  This week, though, our companions will be the three wise men, and we will look at what they teach us about living with hope. 

Reflection:

1.  What is the star you are following in life?  Are you following the light that leads you to Christ?  Or are you following a different “star”?

2.  What makes you radiant with joy and hope? 

3.  How did Jesus make himself known to you?  How is he revealing himself to you now? 

4.  What gifts to you have that you want to offer Jesus during this Jubilee Year of Mercy and the new year? 

Action:  Offering Our Gifts

The three wise men brought Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  Each of us have unique God-given gifts.  These gifts come in the form of concrete items such as our home, our money, our jobs, our family.  We are each also given unique talents that are to be used to spread God’s message of hope and mercy.  

What gifts do you and how can you offer them to God this year? 

What talents do you have and how can you offer them to God this year? 

Let’s all use our gifts in 2020 to announce the good news of God’s mercy and love for us.  This is how we live in hope- spreading the joy of the light of the world, Jesus, by offering our gifts to others!

Praying with the Word of God:

The below Readings are from the Sunday Readings for the Epiphany of the Lord. Pick one reading each day for prayer. Throughout the week, repeat the scriptures that capture your attention.

If you would like to pray with the daily readings this week in addition to the Sunday readings, the USCCB posts them daily here.

When praying with scripture, I invite you to try the prayer methods of Lectio Divina or Ignatian Contemplation. Here’s a one-page guide to Praying with Scripture and a handy Lectio Divina prayer card. 

The Epiphany of the Lord
Lectionary: 20

Reading 1: Isaiah 60:1-6

Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem!  Your light has come,
the glory of the Lord shines upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth,
and thick clouds cover the peoples;
but upon you the LORD shines,
and over you appears his glory.
Nations shall walk by your light,
and kings by your shining radiance.
Raise your eyes and look about;
they all gather and come to you:
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.

Then you shall be radiant at what you see,
your heart shall throb and overflow,
for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you,
the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.
Caravans of camels shall fill you,
dromedaries from Midian and Ephah;
all from Sheba shall come
bearing gold and frankincense,
and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 72: 1-2,7-8,10-11,12-13

R. (cf. 11)  Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
The kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts;
the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute.
All kings shall pay him homage,
all nations shall serve him.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
 

Brothers and sisters:
You have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace
that was given to me for your benefit,
namely, that the mystery was made known to me by revelation.
It was not made known to people in other generations
as it has now been revealed
to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit:
that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body,
and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod,
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.”
When King Herod heard this,
he was greatly troubled,
and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people,
He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea,
for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler,
who is to shepherd my people Israel.

Then Herod called the magi secretly
and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said,
“Go and search diligently for the child.
When you have found him, bring me word,
that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way. 

Go Deeper?  

Inviting you Deeper as We Walk with Christ: 

Becky is an Ignatian-trained spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and writer. She is the author of the Busy Lives and Restless Souls (March 2017, Loyola Press) and The Inner Chapel (April 2020, Loyola Press). She helps others create space to connect faith and everyday life through facilitating retreats and days of reflection, through writing, and through spiritual direction. With nearly twenty years of ministry experience within the Catholic Church, Becky seeks to help others discover God at work in the every day moments of people’s lives by utilizing St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises and the many gifts that our Catholic faith and Ignatian Spirituality provide.

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