Epiphany 2008 Fr. Bob VerEecke, S.J. What in the world is going on? Good question! It’s one that today’s gospel could raise for us. What in the world is going on here? Many of you heard my story about seeing camels on the streets of NY (three of them) with no kings but with two women leading them. And my response was “what are they doing here? What in the world is going on? Everything about the birth of Jesus is surprising, unexpected, turning expectations on their heads, like Iowa caucuses. Listen again to the story as we hear it: Three astronomers from the east are reading the stars and find their way to the little town of Bethlehem, stopping at a king’s palace along the way and tipping him off to the existence of someone who threatens his power and thus setting off a series of events like the slaughter of the innocence and the flight into Egypt. Finding the child and his mother in a house brining him three gifts, Gold (kingship) Frankincense (Divinity) Mirra (suffering redeemer), as if they knew everything about which this child would be even before they encountered him. What in the world is going on? According to Matthew what’s going on is a revelation to those who are listening to the Gospel and the whole story of Jesus’ birth that this Jesus is Son of David (genealogy) Son of God (Joseph’s dream) the new Moses (all that connection with Moses’ birth) and A light to the Gentiles. This Jesus whose name means “God is saving his people” is for all, not just Jews but Gentiles as well. The truth of this story is found not in the historical details but in the breadth of imagination that Matthew brings to it to tell us that God is turning the world upside down. The long-expected messiah is not coming as power/ as privilege/ as position but is coming in human shape and form as one whom most can not see and recognize for who he is. The feast if the Epihany can raise so many questions for us since the contours of the story are so interesting, The wanderers, seekers, searchers, stars leading and disappearing, gifts given, eyes opened to the reality of what they seek. God I just don’t know what to say about all this. What in the world is going on? Jesus is in the world going on and on.