Today is the Second Sunday after Epiphany. Epiphany means manifestation; it means to shine forth. Epiphany picks up where Christmas leaves off. Where we celebrate the light coming into the world at the birth of Jesus, Epiphany celebrates the ways in which that light began to burst out into the world. The wise men came from the East because they saw the star. Many began to follow Christ at His baptism because God the Father spoke and the Spirit descended upon Him. In John’s gospel, it was the miracles of Jesus in particular which highlighted who Jesus was, manifesting the glory of the Father. Like all the seasons of the Church Calendar, Epiphany highlights something that is in fact true all the time. God’s mission is to fill this world with His light. That mission was inaugurated in the person and work of Jesus, but it continues and will grow and flourish by the working of His Spirit in you. This is why Jesus says, you are the light of the world. Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. This outlines both the method and the purpose of bringing the light of God into this world. The method is good works. Serving those in need, loving the unlovely, giving up your rights for the sake of another, defending the defenseless, speaking the truth in love, working hard as to the Lord. The purpose is for the glory of our Father in heaven. The purpose of the light is to create more worshipers, so that that the earth is filled with people who praise the Father of Jesus Christ. Epiphany means that the light of God has shone forth; Epiphany means evangelism. And this gospel light must begin in our own hearts, in our homes, between husbands and wives, between roommates and friends, between parents and children and siblings. But too frequently, we are embarrassed, shy, lazy, or just too busy, and when that happens it is ultimately because we prefer the darkness.
“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (Jn. 3:19)