I once heard a homily on the radio that was given by a Baptist preacher.  He was very enthusiastically speaking about the story of Jacob wrestling with the angel.  He was focusing on the verse in which it says that the angel knocked Jacob’s hip socket out of joint and because of that he would walk with a limp for the rest of his life.  His point was that, because of His encounter with the Lord, Jacob literally walked differently than he did before. He said that if anyone truly had an encounter with the Lord, than pretty much necessarily, they would walk in a different way after their encounter with the Lord than they did before.  He also said that this is something that could not be feigned or pretended.  He challenged his congregation to go ahead and try to change the way the walked. His point was that it was nearly impossible to do, unless we have truly been changed by the Lord. And so on this Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord we celebrate the fact that the Magi visited the infant Jesus as a sign that His birth was a gift to all people and not just the Israelites.  Indeed this is a wonderful message for all of us. But what strikes me is that they returned to their home country “by another way.”  They did not return home the same way that they came.  Their encounter with Jesus changed them. So what about us? We also bring ourselves to visit the infant Jesus. Perhaps like the Magi, we even bring Him gifts rather than simply looking for something for ourselves.  But are we going to leave Church the same way we came? Are we going to walk out in exactly the same way that we came in or are we going to return home “by another way.”  If we do not leave somehow differently, somehow changed, than when we came, than I think it is fair to question whether we had a true encounter with Christ. Of course, it does take to two to have an encounter-but you can count on this; Jesus is truly here. The only question is are we?

AuthorCathy Remick