Saturday, 6 January 2007 - Feast of the Epiphany - 2007
Christ is born and revealed,
“Where is the infant king of the Jews? We saw His star as it rose and have come to do Him homage” (Mathew 2:2)
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The star that appeared in Bethlehem upon the cavern, where Mary, Joseph and the shepherds were worshipping Jesus with all piety, today it’s this same star that appears through to all people represented by the mass. Truly, the divine revelation is the mystery of light in the form of a star that led the mages from their far countries towards the child Jesus. However, the real light “because of the faithful love of our God in which the rising Sun has come from on high to visit us” (Luke 1:78) is Christ Himself that enlightens everyone who opens his heart to Him and puts his life at His disposal as what real Christians do.
The Birth of Jesus illuminated through the heavenly light first of all the holy family, Mary and Joseph. After that, it appeared to the shepherds of Bethlehem who by following the voice of the angels, rushed to the cavern and found the “sign” “ a Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12) .The Holy Family and the shepherds here represent the Jewish people, to whom the Savior was promised by the prophets centuries before. Nevertheless, the Savior has come to the world not only for one nation, but for all the people whose images are the mages.
King Herod and his courtiers had a hostile attitude when they received the news of the birth of the Messiah. St. John the Evangelist has talked about them “though the light has come into the world people have preferred darkness to the light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19), Therefore dear ones, it is not enough to be Christians officially, but we have to make good deeds, we should accept Christ in our lives just as mentioned in the Bible “But to those who did accept Him He gave power to become children of God” (John 1:12).
However, what is this Light that we talk about? Is it only an impressive image? Or there is an important truth corresponding to this image? John the Evangelist answers to this question when he writes “God is light. In God there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5).He also says that “God is love”. These two truths love and light, united together, help us to understand the real message of Birth that appeared to us. It is nothing but God’s unlimited love towards humanity presented through Jesus Christ. The mages, charmed by the power of the shining star, left their families, their work and their countries and followed it which led them to their goal and destination, to Jesus. The mages are the living examples of all those who are honest and serious, those who persistently look for the truth, happiness and real love. Beloveds, let us follow their example by overcoming all the obstacles and difficulties on our way.
In the cavern of Bethlehem, God revealed Himself through a humble figure, as a servant, St. Paul says “But He emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, becoming as human beings are; and being in every way like a human being” (Phil 2:7).Here lies the Divine contradiction, that only true believers understand that the Almighty God is present in the person of an incapable child. This submission, poverty and the insults of tortures introduce us to God, the way He is for the face of the Christ truly reveals the face of God. For this reason it is possible to say that the real message of Christmas is the complete revelation of God to humanity, the revelation of God to each one of us.
1706 years ago, Armenians just like the mages, saw the divine star in the enlightening message of Saint Gregory and by believing in him they followed the faultless road of salvation of the Illuminator, and they offered their utter most precious, their loyalty which sometimes ended up in costing their lives.
Dear brothers and sisters, the message of the celebration of the feast of epiphany also includes the missionary nature of the church. The Church is called to transmit the light of the Gospel to the world, just like the moon transmits to the earth the light of the sun. The duty of this transmission falls upon all Disciples of Christ. It is mentioned in the Bible, “In the same way your light must shine in people's sight, so that, seeing your good works, they may give praise to your Father in heaven.” (Mathew 5:16). By listening to the words of Christ, we, the children and the members of the church can’t remain indifferent. We are called to participate to the mission of the church with the testimony of our faith and with good deeds.
Although we are all well aware of our sinful and weak nature, we should not forget that the church is holy, although it includes men and women with limited capabilities and all are subjected to committing mistakes. To perform well this mission in an acceptable way, Christ has granted us the Holy Spirit during christening and confirmation which is able to change our human weakness, constantly renew us by turning us into capable and productive missionaries. Therefore, Christ founded the Holy Church to enlighten the world through Her numerous and genuine children.
If someone asks “how can this be” by using the words of Mary, the Mother of God, directed to Gabriel the Archangel, he would receive the best answer from the Holy Virgin Herself from the example of Her absolute promptness to perform God’s will when She said “'You see before you the Lord's servant, let it happen to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38).
Dear beloveds, let the Heavenly Mother teach us how to be the light of Christ and His sincere expression in this world, by opening our hearts to the divine grace and through faithfully adhering to Christ’s message.
Blessed be the Birth of Christ