This Sunday, we will celebrate the Solemnity of the Epiphany. The word “epiphany” literally means “revelation” or “manifestation.” It calls to mind the image of a curtain being yanked aside, unveiling a work of art to the public for the very first time. Or, it is like the world premiere of a highly anticipated film like “The Hobbit.”
Blessed Miguel Pro’s biographers say that even from a young age he was always joyful. As a youngster he played practical jokes on his sisters, wrote silly songs and played them on his guitar, and later he humored his brothers in the Society of Jesus with comics.
My fellow deacons and I recently had the opportunity to enjoy a dinner with Archbishop Emeritus Harry Flynn. After a wonderful dinner, as we sat around enjoying each other’s company, one of my classmates asked the archbishop: “Archbishop, do you have any advice to offer us as preachers in the Church?”
Generosity inspires gratitude, and gratitude inspires generosity. In our lives, the Lord is generous to us, and even increases our ability to give.
Our human way of thinking is not God’s way of thinking. Take our Gospel reading for Sunday: A young man approaches Jesus and asks him, “What must I do to inherit eternal life.”
We spend a lot of time thinking and talking about the future. We look at our gifts and abilities, reflect on our experiences and try to think what is truly possible. In other words, we look at the present in order to understand what the future may hold — what our true potential may be.
“Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am?’ They said in reply, ‘John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.’ And he asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’”
Near the beginning of “Render Unto Caesar,” Archbishop Charles Chaput makes a claim that has remained strong in my mind in the years since I read it — a claim we hear echoed in the current teaching from the bishops of the United States, including our own faithful shepherd.
This Sunday’s first reading about Wisdom from the Book of Proverbs (9:1-6) opens our ears and minds to the meaning of Sunday’s Gospel.