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Homily by Sr. Anne Jordan

Feast of the Epiphany, Year B
South Sydney Uniting Church
January 8, 2012

Isaiah 60:1-6; Matthew 2:1-12

It’s the 12th day of Christmas. We know all the songs that give expression to thoughts around that!!! What does it mean to come to the end of this ‘Christmas’ time that began in our church at Advent?

We’ve had themes around all the longing, the promise ‘a child is given to us’…the glory of the lord will shine….a star has shone……”

What feelings are evoked throughout this time? How do we make sense of this year after year. Can we and do we find it to be good news?

For me , I both love and dread this feast. I love the star shining; there are lots of themes through todays readings I will share a little about. They hold great energy for my life. The dread is the end of this time when we celebrate the baby, the nice aspects of baby, everyone happy. No dirty nappies or nights without sleep or anything like that mentioned. ‘Nice, clean shepherds, wise men with precious gifts, the glory of the lord….

Let’s look at the reading from Isaiah:

Writing with the purpose of generating hope after the oppression of the exile. Looking to shape a change of attitude.

How do we hear the message of attitude change for us in our time?
How do we listen for and take to heart the signs of hope? He reminds us in language that stands the test of time (and translation really!!!)

 Stand Up! The Glory of the Lord shines brightly on you. (It’s about ME/US )
 The earth and its peoples are covered in darkness
(Fear, Ads, depression, Global warming, Racism, Violence…….)
But the glory of the Lord is shining on you
Nations and kings will come to the light of your dawning day carrying gifts
In praise of me

Knowing the beyond
Recognising the other
Self-less / other more

When we look at Matthew’s gospel we see something of the same themes.

He was a man writing for a Jewish group and he wantied to expand their horizons. To have them see beyond what they knew. Is it different for us? Can we think outside the familiar if we only manage to relate to those we know or those with the same background and thinking as we already have. That’s why this congregation works and why Cana works. We have such a mixture of ages, backgrounds, political and social, cultural and relational experiences it’s hard to have our beliefs and behaviours unchallenged by those we know with different opinions. That is what’s behind Matthew’s appeal to the global.

What’s Matthew trying to tell us?

He gives us context, country, King, a star, a setting. Our lives have all that. It is important to know all that but that’s not the point of this story.
It all points to the child; the good news.

Thrilled to see the star

They act: knelt down; Worshipped;   Gave gifts
The child calls forth love and delight; a simple message (not complex and involved that’s living.)
These readings at this time of year are to:

nurture our hearts
have us know our dawning day
inspire and motivate.

The Wise Ones come.

Who are the wise people who have crossed our path?

We are invited to remember that we have a God who loves us enough to ensure what we need crosses our path.

Let’s go away today

 Sr. Anne Jordan