Two teens who take part in the JustLiveIt programme – currently being piloted at St Fillan’s Parish in Crieff – were given the task of conducting the Mass for Epiphany Sunday. This included choosing the hymns, prayers and readers, as well as writing and delivering the homily. We have shared their unique insight on this feast in the post below – the original article can be found on the parish website.
What is the Epiphany all about?
Last summer we went on a journey with a group from the diocese to a Life Teen Camp in the Netherlands. We went out with something in mind, with certain expectations.
There were, however, many challenges before even getting there. Our flight was cancelled at very short notice and had to be rearranged, there were travel delays with the trains and problems with travel sickness. Despite everything, all challenges were overcome and we arrived at our destination early.
We settled into things quickly and were looking forward to having a fun time over the week we were there. We were united with other Catholics from all over the world and at various times during mass, adoration and quiet reflection times, we discovered something much deeper, much richer, whilst in the presence of Christ. This included such things as a feeling of acceptance, peace and experiencing a sense of being as one in Christ.
Although we went out with a purpose of enjoying ourselves and meeting new people, we discovered and experienced so much more and returned changed. Things just seemed different – better.
We came back with a more positive outlook in life, a greater confidence in who we are, a better understanding of others, a greater closeness to Jesus and a letting go of past worries and concerns. Our attitude and approach to things had changed.
In the gospel we have heard today, the three wise men had also set out on a long journey with expectations. They hoped to find an infant king and had been instructed to find out all about the child and report back to King Herod. No doubt they too would have experienced many challenges on the way, riding their camels over hills and deserts on their way to Jerusalem and Bethlehem, overcoming all in their way.
The Magi also discovered something much deeper and richer in the presence of the infant baby Jesus as they recognised Jesus as both God and King. They were not of the Jewish faith, but instead represented the Gentiles – the nations of the world. Isaiah in the First Reading prophesies this moment, when the nations would come to the light of the world bringing gifts of gold and incense and worshiping the Lord. The Magi represent the wise people from the pagan nations and by bowing down to the infant king, recognised his power and authority over all. Their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh were symbols of God becoming man. The gold represented the infant child’s kingship, the frankincense his divinity and the myrrh his humanity.
God had come not just to save the Jewish nation but as the Saviour of the whole world so that all people could be united to Him. This is the meaning of the Epiphany – God becoming man in Christ to unite the whole world to himself as Lord over all. Just as the Magi were touched by being in the presence of the baby Jesus, experiencing a change in their lives and returning home a different way, sodo all who come closer to Christ, as their hearts and minds are transformed and all return home, in a new way – where things just seem – different.
As we each continue to make our own journey towards Christ, let us draw closer to him and allow ourselves to be transformed and united more deeply to him so that we may each experience the difference he makes in our lives.
JUST LIVE IT – Alisha (15) and Arianne (17) McCrosson