God Is Faithful

Jan5,2020:Epiphany of the Lord

Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalms 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-13
Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6
Matthew 2:1-12

There is one thing that every human heart is absolutely starving for: someone to trust. Someone who not only will promise to never let you down, never judge you, never abandon you, but someone with enough goodness and enough power to keep that promise. Every one of us needs someone we can lean on no matter what, someone we can go to no matter what, someone who will be glad to see us no matter what – someone who is utterly, totally, unhesitatingly, faithful. That someone is God.

The coming of the Wise Men to adore the baby Jesus is one of the Bible’s most beautiful proofs of God’s faithfulness. More than 500 years before Christ’s birth, God had promised, through His prophet Isaiah, that He was going to lead “all the nations” to Jerusalem to share in the light of salvation. He even promised that they would bring gold and incense. In the Book of Psalms, He had made the same promise in different words “the kings of Tarshish and the coasts will pay him tribute; the kings of Sheba and Seba shall bring him gifts”. Despite 500 years of wars, migrations, and historical turbulence that re-wrote the map of the civilized world three different times, God did what He said he was going to do. The Wise Men came from the non-Jewish world; they represent the nations. By coming to Christ, they enter the light of salvation bringing gifts.

This shows us that God is good ? because He kept His promise.

It also shows us that God is all-powerful ? the ups and downs of history are under His control.

And this is our God ? the same One we come to worship today, who will give himself to us today in the Eucharist.

All of God’s goodness and power are ours, because we belong to Christ, and Christ is the incarnation of God’s faithfulness.

God is reminding us today that we can count on Him. He is begging us to trust Him, to follow Him just as the Wise Men followed the star. And if we do, we, like the Wise Men, will “be overjoyed”, filled with true Christian joy.

Christian joy is like the deep parts of the ocean. The ocean reaches depths of more than 36,000 feet, but only the top hundred feet are affected by even the most violent storms. God’s faithfulness is as constant and dependable as those deep parts of the ocean. The heart that dwells in those depths can stay joyful even in the middle of life’s hurricanes.

About a year before he died, John Paul II was already in visibly declining health. He couldn’t move himself around, he couldn’t speak clearly ? he was an icon of pain and suffering. Everyone knew he wouldn’t be with us much longer. An American bishop visited him about this time, for the official five-year updates that every bishop gives to the Pope. At the end of their meeting, the bishop, with a sad look in his eyes, said to the Pope: “Holy Father, it saddens me to think that this is probably the last time I will see you.” John Paul II looked at him and said with a smile, “O really, Your Excellency? I didn’t know you were having health troubles.”

This is the kind of joy God wants to give us; a deep, strong, meaningful joy that can put our sufferings in their proper perspective.

Because God is faithful, we know that whatever happens, He will continue to guide our lives to their fulfillment, even during those times when, for short periods or long ones, the star goes behind a cloud.

God is always guiding us along the journey of life, but that doesn’t mean the journey is easy.

The Wise Men left their homelands far behind in order to follow the star, but right when they seemed to be arriving at their destination, the star disappeared. That’s why St Matthew tells us that they were so overjoyed when they saw the star again after their meeting with King Herod. At some point in their journey, for some reason, they had lost sight of the star. If they had turned back at that point, they would never have found what they longed for.

We are often in the same situation. We know God is faithful, and we want to trust Him, but we lose sight of the star. That’s when we must exercise our faith in God ? to keep following Christ, to keep obeying the commandments and Church teaching, no matter how hard it may be.

Each of us knows someone who has lost sight of the star. Maybe they are finding it hard to accept one of the Church’s teachings. Maybe they are facing suffering and loss. Maybe they are stuck in sin and are drifting further away from the light. Whatever their specific situation, they need to be reminded that God is faithful, that only by following Him can our life journey be successful.

Today God has reminded us that we can count on Him.

This week it is our turn to remind someone else.

During this Mass, let’s ask God to tell us who it is, and when we receive Him in Holy Communion let’s promise to remind them this week that God can be trusted, that it’s worth it to follow the star.

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