Feast of the Epiphany

three wise men

Sister Joan Correia delivered the following words at the Epiphany Mass for our Sisters and Associates.

Merry Christmas and Happy Feast of the Epiphany!  This is a perfect day for us to celebrate Christmas, as a community, for both feasts are so clearly linked together.  It is wonderful to have everyone here with us for this celebration.  We are so happy to have those from so many different places also watching Livestream.  To our sisters in Pakistan, “Bura Din Mubarak!”

The first reading from Isaiah begins “Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem!  Your light has come.  The glory of the Lord shines upon you.”   This is what the Magi or Wise Men found – the glory of the Lord in a foreign land with a poor couple and a baby lying in a manger in dire circumstances. I know you have all heard the comparison that if it had been Wise Women, they would have brought much more practical gifts than gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  However, over these last few weeks I have come to admire these Magi for their courage, acceptance, and strong faith.  Here they were, kings in their own land, yet willing to follow God’s inspiration to travel to a foreign land, face the unknown and believe that God was present, even in the poverty they saw.  What an example for us, as we think of our own world, and the strife, lack of acceptance of the other, and violence between countries.  We too face the unknown as we look to the future.  I have often wondered what the rest of their lives were like, as they returned to their own country.  I would like to think they reflected the light and love they saw to many others and lived more deeply after this life-changing experience.

Who have been the wise people in our lives?  As we look back, who are the ones who have led us to a deeper appreciation of the tremendous love God has for each person, regardless of racial identity, cultural identity, or religious identity?  As Dominican sisters, we can look up at the hill, to our cemetery and think of those who had the wisdom to follow God’s light, wherever it led, and who reached out to the poor and forgotten.  We can also look to our families for those examples.

Who are the Magi in our lives today – those who worship God by bringing gifts of love and kindness to all they meet.  Who are the ones who continually follow God’s light to lead us into the future, reminding us that the birth of Jesus brings us together and is meant to bring peace? How desperately our world needs peace today!  Let us look around in our families, community, and our world, and see those whose example calls us to be more loving and kinder to all.

Finally, the birth of Jesus and the example of the Magi call us to be the wise people in our world today.  We are called to see the light in our own lives and to share it with those we meet.  We need to be the Wise Women and Men of the Church today, bringing the gifts of respect, love, and kindness to all. One time in Pakistan, when I was concerned because I wasn’t able to speak much Urdu, Violet Sampour said to me, “Joanie, it is your presence that is important, not your words.”  That is what we are here to celebrate in the Eucharist – the presence of Jesus in our lives.  No matter our age or infirmity, we can share the gift of our presence and be the wise people the World needs today.

Happy Feast!


– Sister Joan Correia, OP

Sister Joan is the Coordinator of Resident Services at Dominican Convent, Sparkill.

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