The Working Presence of God

8 January 2006: The Epiphany of Our Lord
Isaiah 60, 1-6; Psalm 72; Eph 3, 2-6; Matthew 2, 1-12

The Epiphany celebrates God’s revealing His presence to us. The experience of the three wise men recognizing God in a little child is an Epiphany. The experience of the shepherds seeing God in a child wrapped in swaddling clothes is an Epiphany. It is the divine revealing Himself to us.

Therefore, the point of the Epiphany is recognizing the presence of God in our world today. Thus, we are asked to recognize God’s presence in our lives. In his poem, “God’s Grandeur”, Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ affirmed that the world is charged with the grandeur of God. All we need are eyes to see God’s grandeur in our present world. We can see the presence of God in various things: in nature such as the beauty of the sunrise, in the experience of friendship, the event when there is justice, mercy and forgiveness, in an experience of peacefulness, etc. Often it is easy to recognize God in positive things.

However, a greater challenge is to see how God works in our lives. It is recognizing the presence of God working in us as we develop as persons and as children of God. The difficulty is in our low self-esteem. We cannot believe that God can work in us despite our disabilities, our sins, our limitations, our weaknesses. We cannot believe that God can use us with all the things we do not like about ourselves and our situation. Here is an email I recently received and it is good to reflect on the following:

Who God Uses

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it's me.”

The next time you feel like GOD can't use you, just remember...

1. Noah was a drunk

2. Abraham was too old

3. Isaac was a daydreamer

4. Jacob was a liar

5. Leah was ugly

6. Joseph was abused

7. Moses had a stuttering problem

8. Gideon was afraid

9. Samson had long hair and was a womanizer

10. Rahab was a prostitute

11. Jeremiah and Timothy were too young

12. David had an affair and was a murderer

13. Elijah was suicidal

14. Isaiah preached naked

15. Jonah ran from God

16. Naomi was a widow

17. Job went bankrupt

18. John the Baptist ate bugs

19. Peter denied Christ

20. The Disciples fell asleep while praying

21. Martha worried about everything

22. The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once

23. Zaccheus was too small

24. Paul was too religious

25. Timothy had an ulcer... and

26. Lazarus was dead!

No more excuses now. God can use you to your full potential. Besides you aren't the message, you are just the messenger.

1. God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts.

2. Dear God, I have a problem, it's me.

3. Growing old is inevitable. Growing up is optional.

4. There is no key to happiness. The door is always open.

5. Silence is often misinterpreted but never misquoted.

6. Do the math. Count your blessings.

7. Faith is the ability to not panic.

8. Laugh every day, it's like inner jogging.

9. If you worry, you didn't pray. If you pray, don't worry.

10. As a child of God, prayer is kind of like calling home everyday.

11. Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape.

12. The most important things in your house are the people.

13. When we get tangled up in our problems, be still.

God wants us to be still so He can untangle the knot.

14. A grudge is a heavy thing to carry.

15. He who dies with the most toys is still dead.

Hope this makes the celebration of the Epiphany more meaningful. Happy New Year!

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