The Epiphany of the Lord

Fr. Anthony Le

Have you ever discovered something for better or for worse that changed your life? Probably yes. In my case, when I was young, I'm talking about five or ten years old, I always thought that priest was an angel. You laugh. Because you know we are not. But I did not know then. I saw them most of the time in the sanctuary with a long vestment like this. One day, I discovered them in the restroom and I said: no, it couldn't be too. Yeah, that shattered my childhood fantasy of a priest as an angel. I also discovered something at the age of 10 that really hurt my heart - the death of my mother. For the first time that I knew death was real, so tangible, so terrible that it took a long time to grieve, to mourn the loss. Perhaps you do have those discoveries, existential discoveries, in your life, shatter some imaginations, or really enforce the reality

In our world too, We have so many discoveries that alter really the way in which we live. Perhaps fire is the first discovery that put humanity on a new path. Or modern medicines that we, first in 1928 or 29 when the first antibiotics were discovered. Thanks to that, perhaps 100 million people survived. Or, modern DNA sequencing and all that. All of these discoveries, somehow, one way or another, had a great impact on our life, and we could not return to the old way of living any longer.

in today's gospel, the gospel author presented a case for Jesus, presented a case for marriage between faith and reason, presented a case for marriage between those who believe there is a God, and those who don't believe in him and have been worshiping idols or pagan gods - gentiles. This is a magnificent feast, allowing you and I truly to see what this wise man discovered, what did they do, and how did they do it, and how did they end up returning. First, three wise men, no name coming from the east, totally different from the Israelite people, completely foreign, completely out there. They are not part of God's people; they are not part or associate in any way with these people. They did not know anything. They know nothing about the prophecy that we first read today in the prophet Isaiah chapter 60(?). By the way that's the reason why we have camels, because in the gospel nowhere mentioning camels and all that. 800 years before the birth of our lord, prophet Isaiah predicted there will be a flock of people from outside come and worship, and they're going to arrive in a caravan with camels with the gifts offered to that great king. These three wise men have no name, they have no name. we don't know the origin other than the east, could be anywhere, could be in Vietnam, probably they could prove me wrong. you go ahead they have no names, interesting, they have no name, it could be you and I, could be anyone who have no idea where God is, what God looks like, what people talk about that kind of God, and they follow the story interesting enough this is a cosmic sign, a star is a cosmic sign. These three wise men they're experts in the field of astronomy, the expert mathematicians, they are experts in the ways in which they live, and they're searching for something far beyond what they could imagine. They followed the star, a cosmic sign, amazing isn't it?

Now heaven is pointing toward where they should go. This is according to church fathers, representing human raised. We, with the brain given by God, with the ability to know, and to fathom, and to really search out the truth of things. We are longing to know, we are longing and inspired to know, and to follow, whatever that truth leads us. Human reason has the ability to recognize the existence of god. Thanks to the cosmic arrangement of the stars. Amazing isn't it? This gospel author pointed that out for us, this wise man, knowledgeable man, following the sigh of the star. They go into where? They’re going to encounter Herod, the king of Israelite people. Interesting, amazing, this is the great detail, where all that which we see with our visible eyes won't be enough to verify what is supposed to be known - God made man in that little humble mentor. It took even Herod, all hypocrites, like Pharisees and teachers of the law, to point out the ancient prophecy that he would be born in Bethlehem, that where the king was supposed to be born, our savior was supposed to be born. They did not believe him. they did not believe that was a real prophecy. They look for somebody else. but yet they delivered the message. here's another hint, my dear brothers and sister, natural inquisition of the truth, my leader so far, we need divine revelation, we need divine revelation, the exposure to the divine revelation makes all of that which humanly possible, concretely fulfilled. And this is what it is, the meaning of faith and reason, the meeting of gentiles and people God has chosen to live out the faith, now they're coming together. they're pointing toward one central location, the child Jesus where he was born, and what amazing encounter happens.

Oh my goodness, the wise man now arrived, they saw a humble simple family - Mary and Joseph, bunch of shepherds, filthy ugly looking, maybe probably cranky, yet they worship their postured, and they offer three magnificent gifts, gold, frankincense, and myrrh, all expensive, valuable. Interesting isn't it? my dear brothers and sister, now finally they encounter the one that has been calling them all along. This is the true king. And the most magnificent part of this is that they worship him, they acknowledge him, and they embrace him. Human reason now has found its ultimate reason to exist, the discovery of the almighty god. Who had made himself visible in the human form? We’re no longer speculating about the numbers, we're no longer speculating about what the stars showing us, we now concretely, visibly, embrace him., behold him with our naked eyes, almighty. Brothers and sisters, couldn't be a better gift than that they thought they offered Jesus a gift, No, God had offered them a true gift. God had offered them a true gift. What they offered him is only the acknowledgement, and everything they got at that moment. What a divine exchange. And the most magnificent lesson we should learn from this is, my dear brothers and sister, with all the modern technologies, all the fancy things that we discovered or invented so far can lead us so far in the search for divine life.

We already have been given a gift, a divine revelation of God made man. We are here today because we believe in him, we are here today because we accept him as our lord and savior. Together with the three wise men, women and children of our ages, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the moment we're going back into our life like the three kings, the three wise men. did they go back to Herod? no, they did not. they went back on a different path. if we accepted Jesus, if we accepted his divine revelation, if he accepted his teaching, his love, and, mercy, we won't ever want to go back on the same path. The practical son returned home is no longer the same man, the woman caught in adultery and counted Jesus never returned the same path, the Samaritan woman exposed to divine life never went back to her old way, sinful way of living. no, she became an evangelist. Matthew became an evangelist, Paul became an evangelist, John became an evangelist. All the disciples of Jesus, who dared to accept him, who dared to encounter him, who dared to correct their life, return on a new path. oh, my brothers and sisters, the world is going to be a better place because of that. we, men and women of faith, let's return with God in our heart, in our family on a new path. this amazing manifestation of our lord to all the magi, to all those three wise men, three kings, let him manifest to us once and for all. This should be our greatest discovery. Therefore, our life will be better off. I pray that our community too, because of you, because of our lord, because of our faith, will be a beacon of hope, love, and faith here, and elsewhere


我相信每一個人在他生命的過程中,都會碰到一些事情,讓他對事物的看法做出基本上的改變。對我而言,在我五歲到十歲之間,我一直認為神父是一個天使。這很可笑,但我當時確實是認為他們是天使。因為在教堂裡,我總是看到他們穿著莊嚴、美麗的白衣。有一天,我在洗手間碰到了神父,我說:「不,這是不可能的。」從此就打破了我這個童年的幻想。 在我十歲時,發生了一件讓我心痛的事-我母親的死。我第一次知道死亡是真實的,如此有形,如此可怕。我花了很長時間去悲傷,為失去母親而哀悼。也許你也有相似的經歷。如此實在、深刻的經驗,粉碎了你的想像,強化了你對於現實的體驗。世界上有許多發明,徹底的改變了我們的生活。火可能是第一個讓人類走上新道路的發明,西元1928年,發明了抗生素,讓ㄧ 億人倖存下來。現代有DNA 測序的發明…等等,有許多發明對我們的生活產生了巨大的影響,再也不能回到舊的生活方式了。

在今天的福音中,天主以耶穌的誕生,提出了一個信仰與科學(理性)結合的例子,一個相信有天主的人,和那些崇拜偶像的外邦人,結合在天主下的一個例子。這就好像一場婚禮,一個盛宴,讓你和我看這些外來的智者,發現了什麼,做了什麼,如何做到的,又是如何歸去的。 首先,三位無名的智者,來自東方。這三位外來的陌生人,與以色列人完全不同。他們不是天主子民,沒有與天主聯繫,什麼都不知道。他們對依撒意亞先知書第 60 章中讀到的預言也一無所知。在我們的主誕生前 800 年,先知依撒意亞預言,將會有一群人從外面來敬拜纔誕生的猶太人君王。他們乘著駱駝車隊,帶著獻給這位偉大君王的禮物來敬拜祂。這三位智者沒有名字,也不知道他們住在哪裡。只知道他們從東方來。我猜他們可能住在越南,你們也可以嘗試證明他們不是從越南來的。 很有趣,他們沒有名字。他們可能就是你和我,也可能是任何不知道天主在哪裡,長什麼樣子,但是有興趣談論天主的人。讓我們關注這段福音。這個故事與天文學有關。星星是宇宙星座的一部分,這三位智者是天文學的專家,專業的數學家,當時代頂尖的科學家。他們的生活就是研究星星。不停的尋找在宇宙星座中新奇的東西。他們追尋星星,一個宇宙的標誌,不是很神奇有趣嗎?

天主用星星指導他們該去的地方。我們擁有天主創造的大腦,有能力去了解、理解和尋找事物的真相。我們渴望知道,受到啟發,去了解並遵循真理來引導我們。是的,科學(理性)有能力承認天主的存在。天文學家,由於星星的的移動,有能力來承認天主的存在。很神奇!不是嗎? 福音指出這些知識淵博的聰明人,跟著天上的星星走。他們去哪裡呢?他們首先遇到以色列王黑落德。這一個有趣的細節告訴我們,天主啟示給我們的,超過我們用肉眼看到的。 黑落德、偽君子、法利賽人和法律教師,知道以色列800年前依撒意亞先知的預言,君王將出生在伯利恆。他們雖然不相信,但卻傳遞了這個訊息。 另一點是,天文學家以頂尖的科學來尋找救主,並且見到了黑落德,聽到預言得知救主應在伯利恆出生。這是天主的啟示,唯有在天主的啟示下,人類科學研究的努力才能夠具體實現。信仰和科學的合一,東方三博士—外邦人和天主選民—以色列人,共同的、具體的,指向一個中心,即將出生的孩子耶穌,這是多麼令人驚奇的相遇。 智者們看到了一個簡單的家庭—瑪利亞和若瑟,一群牧羊人,骯髒、簡陋的馬槽,就在那裡,天主在馬槽中誕生了。他們崇拜他,遞上了三種貴重的禮物,黃金、乳香和沒藥。這是不是很有趣呢? 親愛的兄弟姐妹,賢士們終於遇到了一直在召喚他們的人。真正的君王。他們崇拜他,承認他,擁抱他。科學發現了全能的天主,以人類的形式出現,找到了存在的意義。我們不必再精研數字,我們不必再猜測星星向我們展示了什麼。我們可以具體地,公開的,擁抱我們的救主。用我們的肉眼看到他,他是全能的。兄弟姐妹,沒有比這更好的禮物了。

賢士們給了耶穌一份禮物,天主給了賢士們一份真正的禮物。他們給他的只是承認,以及他們在那一刻所有的一切。天主給他們的,卻是天主自己。多麼神聖的交流。親愛的兄弟姐妹,我們從中學到的最重要的是,藉著現代技術,從我們發現或發明的所事物中,都可以領我們尋找到神聖的生命。 我們獲得了一份禮物,是天主給予人的神聖啟示。我們今天在這裡是因為我們相信他,我們今天在這裡是因為我們接受他為我們的主,救世主。我們都是這個時代的賢士、智者和兒童。親愛的兄弟姐妹們,我們現在就是要學習三王、賢士的時刻。他們回到黑落德王那裡了嗎?不,他們沒有。他們走了不同的道路。 如果我們接受了耶穌,他的神聖啟示,他的教義、他的愛和仁慈,我們就永遠不會走回同樣的道路上。浪蕩的兒子歸家後,就不再是同一個人,姦淫的女人再也沒有回到原來的道路。聖神感動後的撒瑪利亞女人,再也沒有回到她原來罪惡的生活方式。不,她成了福音傳道者。瑪竇成了福音傳道者,保祿成了福音傳道者,若望成了福音傳道者。 耶穌所有的門徒,凡是遇到他,明認他,接受他的,都悔改重生踏上新的道路。兄弟姐妹們,世界將因此而變得更加美好。讓我們這些有信仰的男女們,將天主放回我們的心中,住在我們的家中,走出一條全新的路。