Epiphany and epiphanies

Epiphany and epiphanies

Matthew 2:1-12


    Epiphany with an upper-class E is the manifestation of Jesus Christ to the world–a Star, journey from the east, gifts, and a warning obeyed. But in this year, when the coronavirus snakes its way into our homes, our communities, our workplaces, and our parishes, my thoughts turn to lower-case epiphanies defined by Merriam-Webster as moments of sudden revelation, intuitive grasp of reality, a revealing scene or moment. All of us have experienced such.

    The red rose symbolizes such an epiphany. For years we have kept one on our desk to remind us of the blood of Jesus, the Crucified Jesus, and the healing power Jesus brought through his crucifixion.

    The red rose is a symbol of following Jesus in giving our lives away for others.

    What epiphanies have the frightening pandemic offered us?

Greater appreciation of friends and families with whom we are unable to gather in person;

Awakening to the beauties of creation-winter sunsets over the ocean, the beautiful design of trees, all that we more closely observe in our walks on the beach, the woods, the desert, and mountain trails;

Time to spend in prayer and meditation which may lead to insights in  how to follow Jesus and an awareness of the real first Christmas, not the sanitized version, Hallmark version, but the scriptural story of exclusion, odorous animals, dirty shepherds, bloody birth–made more glorious and challenging by God’s gift of Emmanuel;

An awareness of the pain and sacrifice of all first responders–store clerks, doctors, ministers, nurses, and all others who place their lives on the line for us. They expose themselves in service to us;

Perhaps we have a greater awareness of the hunger around us, 1 out of every 3 persons in the Bay Area goes hungry every night, and we find ways to help;

    And we all need to come to the realization that once we come out of the threat of this menacing pandemic, we must not try to return to “normal”.

    Normal was a country of severe economic inequality, racism is woven into the cultural and institutional fibers of our nation, homelessness, people without health care, people suffering from severe mental illness without support.

    Normal was corporate power in the hands of a few, high rent, and political indifference to “the cries of the poor”. It was the destruction of our ecology, in order to gain wealth and more.

    Once the biblical Magi realized that this star was different and unique, they acted; they set out on a journey that leads them to the true Epiphany, the Christ-Child, the rose who would shed his blood in service to humanity, in turn calling us to shed our blood in the way we live.

    May we act on pandemic epiphanies to assure that we do not return to “normal”. Warned in a dream the Magi returned home “by another way.”

    May we have a new heart to heed the warnings of a terrible virus in order to return to a post-pandemic life determined to follow the Rose in the giving of our lives to the creation of the life of “another way,” lighted by justice, peace, mercy, and compassion, for ALL. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


Fr. Christian River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.’

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


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