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Let’s allow ourselves to be transported to another dimension

January 5, 2014

Last Wednesday was one of the brightest, sunniest day we’ve had for a long time. I noticed because we’re having our house re-wired, and we were without the convenience of electric lights. It was much brighter inside the house on Wednesday because of the sun shining outside. So for those who had power cuts over Christmas and were unexpectedly plunged into darkness, you can imagine the shock of the way their lives were transformed. And it’s even worse for people who can’t pay for the electric – they live a never-ending struggle against the dark.

In earlier times, when the only source of light was the sun, it’s not surprising that people associated darkness with being helpless and trapped. Basically, once it went dark, staying indoors was the safest thing to do. Anybody out after dark was probably up to no good. It’s for these reasons that, from a spiritual point of view, the dark became associated with evil spirits and danger. To be alone without a guiding light is very frightening, and a lot of people remain frightened of the dark.

In our modern world of 24 hour lighting, these basic ideas have been forgotten. To say that today we are celebrating the Epiphany, celebrating that we are bathed in the Light of God, is pretty meaningless to most people, including, may I say, most of us. Yet the fact is that deep down we are all drawn towards the light. We saw it last week – people around the world gathering to welcome the New Year with fantastic light shows and fireworks. Just for the fun of it. In the darkness, people get tremendous joy from being together in the bright light.

Our Epiphany mass today rejoices in the idea of ‘light’: how we have been liberated, had our lives transformed by the glorious, dazzling light of Jesus Christ coming into the world. The Truth He brings, his fantastic revelation to us of what God is really like. And the Light of Christ coming in to the world is meant to be enjoyed by everyone in the world.

Some of the early Christians were scandalized by the story of the Magi following a star to Jesus. The Magi were astrologists, their lives ruled by the stars and magic – which is not exactly a good example for Christians. Yet these pagan kings represent the people of the whole world coming to Jesus. They are a reminder to us that today that an awful lot of people are searching for meaning and spiritual understanding; but they are spiritually adrift, and, not having heard the good news brought by Jesus, they thrash around, dabbling in all sorts of nonsense like astrology superstition and fate. The reality is that like the Three Kings, most of our own neighbours are still searching for the light, for enlightenment – for what we know is our God.

And that is why Jesus has made it very clear to us, His followers, when He told us, “You are light for the world…..”

It would be ridiculous if I had my house re-wired then refused to use light bulbs. Yet that is what so many of us Christians do in our daily lives. We come to Mass to prepare us for the following week, and then we hide ourselves away from people who are searching for the light. Jesus said, “…your light must shine in people’s sight, so that, seeing your good works, they may give praise to your Father in heaven.

The Three Kings came searching, following the light of a star, and had a look at Jesus – they were intrigued. They knew they were on to something special…… but they didn’t stay with Jesus – they moved on. So it is with people we come across in our lives. We make an impact. They know there’s something special about us. Then they move on. Don’t be discouraged – they will be forever marked by the encounter they had with your faith.

Today the Magi knelt before our Saviour. They were drawn by something they didn’t fully understand. They simply knew they were in the right place. Today we can kneel before our Saviour and share in worshipping the Son of God, the Light of the World. And we have a great advantage over those wise men – we know what happened because Jesus was born. We know about the miracles, the fantastic teaching, the gift of the Holy Spirit. We know Jesus is part of us. We know for sure, through the delightful gift of faith, that we are part of God’s plan for humanity; that we can lead good and useful lives for a very definite purpose – to get closer to God, to make this world a better place, and to prepare us for our journey towards heaven. That means we live our lives in freedom from fear and superstition. We know where we’re going.

At this Mass let’s take the opportunity to kneel before Jesus, just like the Three Kings. Let’s allow ourselves to be transported to another dimension. Let’s let go of the shadows and worries of this world. Offer them up to God. When kneeling before Jesus, who is present with us through His people gathered here, through his ministers and through the miraculous Eucharist, let’s open ourselves up in prayer to receive God more fully into our hearts. Our prayer doesn’t require words – Father Stephen will be saying the words aloud for us, allowing us to be carried along on the mystery of the words he is saying on our behalf. So let go and allow the power of the Holy Spirit to be released in you. Pray together, in communion, with Jesus and his Church. Pray with the saints in heaven. Let’s open ourselves to the joy of being at Mass. After all, we are living proof that all the nations will be drawn towards the light of Christ, and we are drawn for a purpose. Let’s allow God to work in us to make that purpose clear. And then be ready for God to work His miracles through us. Next week, maybe without you realizing it, the Holy Spirit will inspire you to bring someone closer to God. During this mass let’s join together as brothers and sisters in Christ and pray together that our light will shine out in other people’s sight and guide them towards the joy of finding Jesus Christ.

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