Sent Nonetheless

The Epiphany of the Lord | January 5, 2020

See today’s readings here. This homily focuses on the first reading. The archive of all of Fr. Brian’s homilies can be found here: Salesian Sermons


So when I was younger and found myself daydreaming, I used to always picture myself as a hero.

Running into a burning building and carrying a little one to safety.

Stopping the bad guy with a series of perfectly orchestrated jumps, punches and kicks.

    Offering up my life to save the innocent hostages.

Everyone would remember me.  For no one forgets a hero. Not after they appear on every news station and their story is shared on every social media platform.  

But I have to tell you.

It hasn’t happened yet.

No burning buildings. No hostage situations. And I definitely would not be able to win in any fight, much less with a super villain.

And yet, several years into my journey as an Oblate, my brother hands me a piece of paper.  A project he had written in high school.

And he said, “I thought you should have this.”

It was a single page.  Titled MY HERO.

And on that paper, he had written about me.

About how he admired the choices I had made.  The convictions I stood for.

How I cared for people.

How I was there for him when he needed me to be.

It seems I was someone’s hero after all.  Just not the one I thought I would be.

I thought about that distinction a lot as I reflected on this feast of the Epiphany.

For Jesus’s own titles seem to be open to a lot of interpretation, depending on who you talk to.

Jesus . . . the newly born King of the Jews.

    But what does this mean?

It is something that we hope for? That we seek after? Like the wise men of old.

Or is it something that we fear? Afraid that it might topple our own kingdoms. Like Herod of old.

It all depends on who you ask.

My friends, I am convinced that this is the great challenge of this feast day.

To decide whether we shall be the dreamers the world needs.  The seekers who will encounter the Christ again and again in our own lives.  Or those who are still cowering in fear within our gates and walls.

For each of us is the Christ-Bearer.  The one who is tasked with carrying the light of Christ into the world.

    But do we actually see this?

        Do we actually see the tremendous potential that lies within each of us?

            The potential to be a force for change?

            The potential to be light in darkness.

            The potential to comfort and heal and reconcile

            The potential to be the voice that shakes people from their complacency.

The potential to be a kingdom-builder. In our own way. With our own unique gifts, and flaws, and vulnerabilities.

        Do you see your potential . . . Bridget.  Patrick. Tess.  

Or are we still hiding behind our fear. Assuming that we can never be what we are called to dream and envision.

    We’re not ready.  We’re not trained.  We don’t possess the tools we need.

    We’ve got too much baggage.  There are too many broken pieces in our lives.

But I’m not that religious. I don’t fit the mold. I’ve been told God doesn’t want me.

    I’m too young.  Too old. I’m tired from years of doing this work.  

We may not be the ones we thought that God would send.  But it is us that God sends nonetheless.

So say yes.  Say Amen. To the Christ who dwells among us and within us this night.  

Be the hero the world needs.

May God be Praised.

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