Sunday, January 3, 2016

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor

Epiphany is defined as an appearance or manifestation.

In today's Gospel, a star appeared in the heavens and led the three Magi to the place where Jesus was born and God manifested his glory in the birth of his Son.

These are the biblical facts of the story, but the energy and drama circles around the activity expressed in the word search.

The Magi were searching for the one whose existence was proclaimed by the star. Everyone had heard of the arrival of these Magi –  strangers from the east, who had come to search for this new king. Everyone feared Herod's response to this news and no one dared to personally enter into the search.

Herod was not happy. Herod did not like the thought of someone competing with him and his power. Herod also began to search so that he could find the whereabouts of his rival and search out a way to put an end to the threat.

A lot of searching is going on in today's Gospel – searching for different things, different needs, different truths, different hopes, different ends.

The Epiphany highlights a very deep truth about human beings. We need to satisfy the deep hungers and thirsts of our spirit. If not, they will consume us. When left unsatisfied – empty – people often turn to addictive behavior.

We humans search all the time for answers, meaning, direction, connections and inspiration. Today’s feast is truly our feast.

Six months ago in this parish we began a parish retreat focused entirely on the words and teaching of Jesus. Nearly 200 people have participated in this retreat in English and Spanish.

What could be the outcome of such a search? If we go on a retreat to search for more faith – for the presence of Christ in our lives, for joy, for hope, for a sense of belonging, to be freed from their pain or confusion – what might occur?

It is nearly impossible that we won’t discover, if not, many things, at least something.

Spiritual searches always come from hungers or thirsts, or from some need to have or to know something deeper. This feast begs the question for us all. It asks if each of us has gone on our most essential search for the questions that are most important to us.

Are we searchers? Do we really seek? Do we dig and look for answers that bring real meaning?

Do we trust what spiritual guides and leaders of old have given to us? Do we expect epiphanies throughout our life to brighten up and give real meaning to us?

Are we an Epiphany people?

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112; or email pleiker@stbernard-church.com.

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