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What is epiphany?

Ordin­ar­ily, epi­phany refers to that very moment when a per­son sud­denly feels that he or she under­stands, or sud­denly becomes con­scious of some­thing that is very import­ant. On the oth­er hand, it is a potent reli­gious exper­i­ence. The Mer­ri­am-Web­ster Dic­tion­ary renders it as sud­den mani­fest­a­tion or per­cep­tion of the essen­tial nature or mean­ing of some­thing; an illu­min­at­ing dis­cov­ery, real­iz­a­tion, or dis­clos­ure; a reveal­ing scene or moment. It is the appear­ance or mani­fest­a­tion espe­cially of a divine being. Accord­ing to its Greek ori­gin, epi­phany derives from epi (in this con­text on, upon) and phainō (show one­self, appear). While the verb is epi­phainō, the noun is epi­phaneia (appear­ance, appear­ing, mani­fest­a­tion, coming).

What we celebrate

What exactly are we cel­eb­rat­ing? If epi­phaneia is the mani­fest­a­tion of Jesus to the Gen­tiles, then, what are we cel­eb­rat­ing? Since the Word took flesh and dwelt among us, that is, among man­kind and pre­cisely, among Chris­ti­ans, there is no need cel­eb­rat­ing the mani­fest­a­tion of Jesus to the Gen­tiles because Jesus dwells among Chris­ti­ans. This con­clu­sion takes us to the oth­er mean­ings of epi­phainō and epi­phaneia. If, as regards God’s inter­ven­tion, epi­phainō means giv­ing light and shin­ing upon, then, what we are cel­eb­rat­ing is the divine light shin­ing upon us thanks to the logos pitch­ing his tent among us. Con­sequently, we are now con­scious of the divine appear­ance in the his­tory of man­kind. We can now see things in their essen­tial nature. We now under­stand things bet­ter and are cap­able of grasp­ing the true nature of life because of the divine light shin­ing on us. While the Gen­tiles (rep­res­en­ted by the magoi) cel­eb­rated God’s mani­fest­a­tion to them, we cel­eb­rate the divine light shin­ing upon us. This is where we must lay emphas­is. The accent should not be on the mani­fest­a­tion to the Gen­tiles, but on wheth­er we have under­stood the sig­ni­fic­ance of the divine light that shines on us. The Gen­tiles moved as soon as they per­ceived the divine mani­fest­a­tion. How about Chris­ti­ans? Have we moved since God pitched his tent among us? Has the divine light shin­ing on us had any effect on our lives and on our inter­ac­tions with one anoth­er? How has God appear­ing to us touched and changed our lives, our mod­us operandi, par­landi et vivendi, our rela­tion­ship with oth­ers, our gen­er­al atti­tude to life? What are we cel­eb­rat­ing? What are you cel­eb­rat­ing? What am I celebrating? 


As stated above, on receiv­ing the news of the birth of the future king, Herod became highly dis­turbed. Why? The reas­on is obvi­ous. He saw him­self as an abso­lute king who exer­cised abso­lute power. Doing what he liked, when liked it, and how he liked without being ques­tioned by any. How can there be anoth­er king out­side Herod? This was a ser­i­ous threat to him and to his throne. In fact, he ensured the child was elim­in­ated, but as Isai­ah put it God’s ways are dif­fer­ent from human way (cf. Isa 55:8–9). This kind of beha­viour con­tinu­ous even today in vari­ous soci­et­ies. Just look around in the polit­ic­al world and you will mar­vel at what hap­pens. Those in power espe­cially in Africa, do not see it as an oppor­tun­ity to serve the people. Instead, they under­stand it as a golden oppor­tun­ity to loot the wealth of their vari­ous nations.

FOR DETAILS, GET YOUR OWN COPIES OF THE BOOKTHE WORD OF LIFE: SUNDAY REFLECTIONS” (vols. I and II)!! The reflec­tion for the Epi­phany 0f the Lord, Year B is found on vol. II pages 47–52. See also Vol. I, pages 52–59. Happy reading!

For details on how to get it, con­tact the author on this link: https://m.me/uchennabiblia?fbclid=IwAR2yeg4a6sDGBp9QGkIvKj6FSADumMokN6lshdE0zuo-JHs6qOmlhA7jyHo or email me at: postmaster@uchennabiblia.com or simply send an SMS on 08116100926, and I will get back to you.

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