Jesus Goes Viral!

Blog: The Feast of The Epiphany
by Sr. Mary Ann Zimmer, ND

The feast of the Epiphany is good news! If you are following us, you are getting a full load of reflection on the Epiphany this week! That’s alright, though; this is a deeply significant Gospel event. This is the feast of the good news of Jesus going viral! From an obscure child of humble parents in a tiny village, Jesus bursts on the cosmic stage through a heavenly manifestation in the sky that draws the most distant strangers. Clearly, he is local no longer–more than the savior of the people of Israel, Jesus is here for all—even the most unexpected, for distant foreigners as well as for those close and familiar. The boundary of insider and outsider has been obliterated.

Over the centuries Christian tradition has provided the three wise interpreters of dreams with names, exotic costumes, wealth, royal identity, and camels. It is easy to miss the point that they were fundamentally outsiders. Matthew’s gospel presents them as representatives of all who are unexpectedly and undeservedly invited into the mystery of God’s incredible gift of unconditional love. Nobody expected them but God invited them anyway. Just as surely no one can account for the daily manifestations of God’s great generosity that are available to us all.

Gospel good news bears fruit in gratitude and generosity. Please don’t take this to mean that God’s generosity has an expectation of “payback.” Rather, one of great joys of being in love is the benevolence this state inspires! In our more usual, mundane state, benevolence is still available when we realize how we are invited in and treasured. The world today—near and far—is full of “outsiders” we need to see are invited and treasured, too.

The greatest gift story of the magi unwraps is the gift of remembering anew that there is no one outside the love of God. When do I tend to forget that about myself? When do I forget it about others near me? What groups I treat as not dwelling rightfully in God’s benevolence? The final good news is that God is not waiting to treasure us when we have this all worked out.