WHAT ARE YOU SHARING? Feast of the Epiphany, Year B
When we compare what we have materially in this nation with the many poor nations of the earth, we can begin to evaluate more accurately how well off we are. Often we are not aware of just how much we have. We become accustomed to things which most of the people on the earth don’t have. By seeing what we have, we come to appreciate it more and realize how blessed we are and perhaps become a little bit more responsible for sharing with others. It may be our knowledge, our resources, our freedoms, our means of communication or whatever it is we have that others don’t.
The Feast of the Epiphany calls us to compare our spiritual riches with others. When we compare what we have spiritually through our faith in Christ with what so many have in the way of spiritual riches, we can see that the Lord has truly blessed us with great spiritual riches. Many nations and people on the earth have never really heard or received the message of Christ and the great riches of His kingdom. If we can somehow envision what it must be like to not know the true God or to not know the revelation of His Son, then maybe we can begin to appreciate and not take for granted the great spiritual riches we have in Christ. Maybe we can become more Eucharistic or thankful, and more praising of the Lord for what He has done and is doing for us. Then we might also become more eager to share our spiritual riches with others. Isaiah’s words are addressed to us. “Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you.”
Then he tells us it’s all right to compare what the Lord has given to us with what He has given to other peoples. This is not to be done in a superior way, but to make us aware of what we have, and what we can give to others. “See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the Lord shines, and over you appears His glory.” We need to be aware of the spiritual poverty of people without the Gospel and revelation of Christ just as we need to be aware of the physical and material poverty of people. For those who have are looked to by those who have not, and rightly so. We all do this on many different levels in our lives. “Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance.”
There is always a deep joy in being able to lift people up and to share with others. That’s why greed on the physical and material, as well as the spiritual level doesn’t lead to happiness. The need in us to share and give is greater and far more fulfilling then the need to hold on to and horde. Our human experience proves this over and over again. But to be captured by material or spiritual greed is to lose the freedom to know this.
Spiritually, if we never share our spiritual riches, it may mean we haven’t discovered the truth yet, or we haven’t realized the riches we have to share or the need that others have of our sharing our spiritual riches. “Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you: your sons come from afar, and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.” Our realization of what we have spiritually in Christ produces joy in us. Many of God’s people think they are poor spiritually. Otherwise, we would always be spiritually joyful. “Then you shall see, your heart share throb and overflow, for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.” This is Isaiah’s way of saying how much people return to us when we give them the spiritual riches we have. When we give the light of Christ, we are at the same time receiving more of it. The great riches of Christ are inexhaustible. We can only receive a fuller amount or an abundance of them through sharing them with others. Through the sharing with others, we come to know more fully their value and richness.
The Lord wants the whole human race to share His riches. His followers have a ministry to help this come about. Everyone can have the fullness and no one would have less. That’s the way it is with spiritual wealth. The human race has received a great inheritance. If we would keep it a secret from someone, the fact that they had won a great sweepstakes, we would do them a great injustice. What about keeping from people the truth Paul speaks about in Ephesians, “…that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel”. We often hold on to our spiritual riches and don’t even share them with our children. We hide the gospel from them or don’t encourage them to hear the gospel. We do this not only with our children but with other members of our families, and with the people we work with and have contact with. Some of them living in spiritual darkness and poverty long for the light to give them the way to life and spiritual survival and prosperity, peace and joy.
They are like the wise men looking for the savior. Silently but really they are asking: “Where is the newborn King of the Jews? We saw His star at its rising and have come to do Him homage”. We can at least point the way toward Christ. Many will find Him by simply going in the right direction and being aware that there is something or rather someone worth searching out in their lives. We can be the star for them in some ways. “…the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary His mother.” Who have been the stars for you to follow to Christ? How can you be a star for others to observe and follow to Christ?