Epiphany, Year B

Christ Manifested

January 5, 2003


Br. Anthony of Mary in the Wilderness
Benedictine Community of Saint Anthony
Stevensville, Montana

Text: The Holy Gospel According to Saint Matthew 2:1-12

The Lord chose to be Man-ifested among men. Christ has appeared as Man with humankind. Christ is Emmanuel. Christ is the last Adam who came to redeem us from our sins. He manifested his great Mercy to us through Mary, the Mother of JESUS, and the last Eve. Thus, Epiphany follows the Feast of the Mother of God this last Wednesday.

Thanks be to God for this coming and manifestation of God amongst us! God is still with us you know beloved. He has not forsaken us nor departed from us. The Bread of Life remains with us.

The Roman Pontiff, St. Leo I -- reminds us in his "Sixth Sermon on the Epiphany,"

-- "That day, beloved children, on which Christ, the Savior of the world, for the first time appeared to the gentiles, is to be venerated with a most holy honor by us also . . . For that day is not past in such a way that the power of the work which was then revealed should be past as well."

The Byzantine Menaea says in "Theophany, Canon at Matins, Ninth Ode," (Sixth century)

-- "Magnify, my soul, her who is more honorable and glorious than the hosts above. O most pure Virgin, blessed Mother, the mystery of thy childbirth passeth understanding, and by it we have gained full salvation. We worthily praise thee as our benefactress, and bring thee songs as a thank offering."

Thus, the Holy Spirit directs us all to Bethlehem, where JESUS (the Bread of Life) was born of holy Mary, the Mother of God.

1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying,

2 "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him."

It is to God alone that we offer worship.

In the night hours I find myself in high praise as I seek sleep and find that I am so thankful to God for his Mercy and graces of the day I cannot help but praise the Lord from the very depths of my soul!

It is Mary with Joseph who adore the Babe and Lord of glory.

Wise men came to give this true worship vent and show that they were not alone in saying -- "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him."

Not all the earth wanted to worship Christ when he appeared as Man with men.

Not all have the hearts of praise to God that we Christians might have in Christ!

3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him;

4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

There are those who seek the knowledge of God only to inflict harm upon the message of God. The motivation of some is horrific. Herod was such a one; his motives were to perpetuate his own power to the end of time. Herod echoes the fallen cherub's claim -- "I will be like the Most High God..."

There is only One who is God, the great I AM. (Cf. Phil. 2) -- let us have the Mind of Christ in us!

5 They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet:

6 'And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel.'"

There is only One who has the rightful claim to RULE all the nations of the world and the people of Israel.

The Gospel would go unto all peoples, for in the Seed of Abraham all the nations (Hebrew, "goyim") of the earth shall be blessed.

Herod (as with all that focus upon selfish motives and self-love) cannot see this.

Herod becomes an archetype of selfishness.

May we all avoid this mind, but rather seek the mind of Christ that was in Christ JESUS.

7 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared;

8 and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him bring me word, that I too may come and worship him."

Again, Herod cannot worship Christ, because Herod in his own mind has made himself the evil "messiah" that he was. His works are not the works of God.

9 When they had heard the king they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was.

10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy;

11 and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

When we seek God alone, God guides us to the place where JESUS and Mary await us in Bethlehem. There the Bread of Life manifests himself with Mary our Mother. It is the place where the Child is, the Child the Woman brought forth. (Revelation 12) This Child is to rule the nations.

It is there we fall down and worship HIM, when we see Mary his Mother and HIM.

The gifts are treasures, which may also speak of the Treasure that we have in earthen vessels to show us the Excellency of Christ that the transcendent power is from God and is not of ourselves!

Herod could not see this, blinded by his pride. Oh, how we must always be aware of and forsake this pride and this selfism "mind" set contrary to the Manifested MIND of Christ! (Phil. 2)

JESUS and Mary call to us to see our own neediness and thus we come and adore our only Hope; Salvation is of Yahweh -- JESUS there with Mary.

The gold, the frankincense and myrrh may speak as well to us of his infinite value and the joy we might have in Christ as we come to JESUS with Mary to worship HIM.

12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

I should say that they did depart from Herod, being warned by a dream by God. They were the first witnesses with the shepherds, the Mother of God and Joseph, of the Way, the Truth and the Life.

May we, with the wise men, seek the Wisdom, the eternal Wisdom of God (Montfort) and flee from the wretched existence of a worldly wisdom that leads us to death.

May we remember that if we seek only to serve a world system that does not serve God, that we cannot serve God alone.

May we serve God alone. Thus, might we see the Manifested glory of God alone in JESUS living in Mary (Montfort).

Deus et Sanctissima.

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