Reading 1: Is 60:1-6
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13
Reading 2: Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6
Gospel: Mt 2:1-12
This Little Light of Mine
I’m Gonna Let it Shine
Let it Shine, Let it Shine, Let it Shine.
This spiritual from the African American religious tradition reminds us of the light that is within us. As poet Laureate Amanda Gorman eloquently states, “There is light if we are brave enough to see it, if we are brave enough to be it.” (U.S. Presidential Inauguration, 2021).
The Magi in today’s Gospel allowed themselves to be drawn to the light of Jesus. The Feast of the Epiphany reminds us that the light was not just for the Magi or the shepherds or the early apostles but is a light that continues to shine for us today. Epiphany comes from the Greek epiphaneia, which means radiance, or striking appearance. The Magi followed the radiance of the light until they came upon the “Light of the World,” the Christ Child. Traditionally the feast day has also reminded us that the Incarnation was for all peoples not just for the Israelites. We are all called to be open to the light that is ready to shine within us. That radiance is for all of us.
In Seasons of the Heart, Benedictine Macrina Wiederkehr writes about the light that has shone in many of our holy men and women. For her, Dorothy Day had an epiphany that continued throughout her life. She writes that it was a star that shone in the hearts of the poor and her ministry continues in the work of the Catholic Worker houses throughout the world. It has also shone in the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who was a star of hope for those suffering from the oppression and evil of racism and prejudice. She writes that Dr. King is the patron saint of those who find it hard to follow stars. Finally, she cites St. Óscar Romero, who had an epiphany that allowed him to see a star of truth that shone straight through all the lies and impelled him to speak the truth. While all three followed a guiding star, their light was not diminished in their death.
That light continues to shine today in the work of those who continue to fight for racial and interreligious justice. It shines in the lives of our first responders and health care workers who continue to risk their lives during this time of pandemic. It shines in our youth who have marched against injustices in our society. It shines in our educators who continue to teach under immense stress and inadequate resources. As you reflect on the light that shines, who would you add to this list?
In our first reading from the prophet Isaiah, it states that “the glory of the Lord shines upon you.” We must allow ourselves to be open to that spirit of light and love. Towards the end of the movie Love Actually, the narrator states that, “Love is All Around.” Today be open to that radiating light of love and let that light shine. Allow it to fill your hearts and radiate in goodness and in love so that you too can have the loving power to reach out beyond boundaries, barriers and borders to transform our world. So let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.