Price of Liberation

(Homily for Epiphany)

Bottom line: Liberation comes at a price: the anguish of the Cross.

Today is the Feast of the Epiphany - the "Twelfth Day" of Christmas. As we bring this season to a close, I would like to draw a couple more insights from Pope Benedict's work on the Infancy Narratives. He notes that when the Magi came to Jerusalem, Herod consulted Scripture experts regarding the exact place of the Messiah's birth. They of course knew that Bethlehem (only six miles from Jerusalem) is the place. "Yet," says Pope Benedict, "it is remarkable that his Scripture experts do not feel prompted to take any practical step as a result." The pope then asks, "Does this, perhaps, furnish us with the image of a theology that exhausts itself in academic disputes?"

You and I may not be Scripture experts, but we can become exhausted by other kinds of conflict. We can fail to see the simple reality of Jesus - God become man to save us from our sins.

When I speak about the simple reality of Jesus, I do not mean something sentimental. If Jesus came to make us feel good, he would not have posed any threat to Herod. As Pope Benedict observes:

"God is love. But love can also be hated when it challenges us to transcend ourselves. It is not a romantic 'good feeling.' Redemption is not 'wellness,' it is not about basking in self-indulgence; on the contrary it is a liberation from imprisonment to self-absorption. This liberation comes at a price: the anguish of the Cross."

The Magi must have been tired, even exhausted from their long journey. They took the extra step, however - the step that lead to liberation. Pope Benedict sees the Magi as successors both of Abraham and of Socrates. They are "forerunners, preparers of the way, seekers after truth, such as we find in every age." We follow their example when we pay the price of liberation. Amen.

(Pause) Brothers and sisters, I invite you now to listen to the Epiphany Proclamation

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Spanish Version

From Archives (Epiphany Sunday)

2016: New Beginning: Lift up Your Eyes
2015: Two Uses of Science
2014: The Big Story
2013: Price of Liberation
2012: Where the Sun Is
2011: Science and God
2010: Three Types of People
2009: A Glimpse of the Mystery
2008: Where the Sun Is
2006: When Worlds Collide
2005: A Powerful River
2004: The Last Man
2003: The Materialist and the Magicians
2002: Astrology and the Christ Child
2001: Together with His Mother

Other Sunday Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

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