by Sr. Sheila Campbell MMM Ireland 06.01.2024
There is something very humbling when we come to celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany this year on January 6th. Here in Ireland, we honestly don’t make much ado about this day, but in other cultures they celebrate it more. I remember in Brazil it was called “Dia dos Reis”, or “Day of the Kings”, and some customs included house visiting and there were traditional carols for the Feast. I know the Italians and the Orthodox Churches have their own customs too. What I do love about the day is that it is about the stranger, the foreigner. It is a reminder to us each year that Christianity is not just for the “chosen few”, or the righteous, but for everyone.
That is why I find it humbling this year to celebrate Epiphany. We hear of caravans of people crossing the Sahara Desert in the hope of reaching Europe. The Mexican/U.S.A. border is also a flash point because of the number of migrants coming up from Central America. Closer to home we have the news of small boats, sometimes inflatable dinghies, crossing the Channel and people being drown. Climate change is real and migration due to climate extremes will only be on the increase. Am I aware of this? Can I accept and embrace this challenge?
I ask myself these questions and realise that there are possibilities embedding in the challenge itself. Mary and Joseph received the visit of the Magi and accepted gifts for Jesus. Am I open to receiving gifts from those who come into my life this year? Sometimes I am just too comfortable in my own little routines. I need a major “shake-up” every now and again to stay in the real world!
So, this year I celebrate the Epiphany a little bit more “low key” as I realise how much I need to change on the inside to be a truly welcoming person. I pray for the openness and the willingness to be “visited” by others.