Reflection on the readings of January 8, 2023 — The Epiphany of the Lord

It seems that everyone is searching for a way to become a star. With the internet and social media, everyone can have a public platform. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube. All these platforms offer people the opportunity to make their voices heard and their talents known. And many people use these platforms to try to become stars. Oftentimes, a person will have their 15-minutes of fame as one of their videos go viral. There are YouTube stars, young and old, who have millions of followers and they have found their fame. And then there are the reality TV shows: The Voice, America’s Got Talent, etc. So many people are searching for ways to become a star.

Searching. That’s what life is for so many people. Searching for meaning, for truth, for fulfillment. Within each of us there is an insatiable desire to live a meaningful life, to make an impact on the world. And don’t get me wrong, this is a wonderful desire. The desire to live a meaningful life and to make an impact on the world is a desire that has been placed in our hearts by the Lord himself. But, at its root, this desire for meaning, this desire to make an impact on the world, is ultimately not a desire to become a star but to find The Star that will fulfill this desire and show us the way to live a meaningful life. (Let me repeat that!). What do I mean?

Today we celebrate this great feast of the Epiphany. We see the magi journeying to Bethlehem. The magi were educated men who sought meaning and truth in life. They go searching, not to become stars but to find the true light to which the star was pointing them. The magi aren’t looking to make life about themselves, to become famous. They are searching for truth, and they find meaning and truth in Jesus Christ. This is why St. Matthew tells us that after they encountered Christ they departed for their country by another way.  When we truly encounter Jesus, when we find the truth, he gives new meaning and direction to our lives.

We have just begun a new year. It is always a time of starting fresh, setting goals, desiring deeper change. I propose that 2023 be a year that we seek The Star who is Jesus, the Star who gives meaning and purpose to our lives. For life is not about becoming a star, but finding the Star that gives light to our lives, the Star that reveals the truth. That Star is Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

What means should you use to help you find the true Star?

  1. Commit to daily prayer with Scripture. In prayer, we open our hearts to Jesus, the light of the world, and he draws us more deeply into friendship with himself.
  2. Immerse yourself in the sacramental life. Through the sacraments, we receive grace to live the Christian life. The more we receive the sacraments, the more we are conformed to Jesus.
  3. Study the teachings of the Church. We cannot know the truth if we don’t study the truth. Jesus gave us the Church to our Mother and Teacher. Many people struggle with the Church’s teaching, but they don’t take time to understand why the Church teaches what she does. Read the Catechism and other educational books and website.

Christianity makes a bold claim, but a beautiful one. From the beginning of time, religious men and women have sought the truth about life and God. Christianity welcomes that search, but what we proclaim is that a loving God has come to seek us. God used a star to lead us to the true Star. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. To be Christian means to seek the Truth, yes; but it also means to allow ourselves to be sought by a loving God, to allow ourselves to be touched and transformed by the Lord who has come to seek and save us.

May 2023 be a year of a clearer vision when we come to see, and know, and love the true Star, Jesus Christ.

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

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Fr. Michael Najim was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Providence in 2001. He currently serves as the pastor of St. Pius X Parish in Westerly, RI.

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