In this week’s blog, Fr. Paddy reflects upon this weeks celebration of the Epiphany of the Lord.

Fr. Paddy Byrne has a weekly column in the Nationalist papers.
This column appeared in the edition published 5 January 2011

Epiphany moments bring with them insight, clarity and fulfillment. Moments that often change us for the better. Epiphanies can transform, heal and stimulate growth. Recently I was very taken by a documentary on TV3. “Homelessness” gave a vivid account of a presenter embracing homelessness on the streets of Dublin, in harsh weather for three days. Endurance and resilience were clearly present as this man shared his feelings and circumstances. His conclusion was deeply moving; emotionally he spoke about an ‘epiphany moment’. He was overwhelmed by the compassion and sense of hope that he had received from so many good people who supported him in his homelessness.

These days we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord. This significant celebration traditionally marks the end of our Christmas season and I’m sure as the month of January continues to move, we have once again returned to the familiar and the routine. The Epiphany tells the story of a group of people who were searching for meaning and purpose in life. They looked beyond conventional religion; in fact their search was fuelled by a puzzling star that shone brightly over an unknown village and an even more insignificant stable, in its surrounding countryside. This bright star revealed to them the beginnings of our Christian story, the birth place of the infant Jesus. This bright star announced a new time, an opportunity for new beginnings and an invitation for all people to be filled with new life, joy and peace. For this reason the message of the Epiphany is a lasting one, throughout the whole year. We are all invited to discover Christ in the familiar and routine places that is our daily lives.

Those who discovered this wonderful moment of joy and peace, Knew that things would never be the same again. They were told in a dream, “Go home a different way”. In the same way when we have a real moment of encounter, our lives are changed for the better. I was greatly heartened by the huge numbers of people who attended mass this Christmas. In a time when so many are searching for new opportunity and possibility the Christian message of light and hope continues to be relevant. Our lives can never be the same again. We are on the verge of a new springtime. Our Hope comes from the great wealth discovered in a place of poverty and isolation. It is in the midst of poverty and vulnerability that Jesus Christ wants to nourish and sustain us. We are all longing for the bright stars revelation. Our pathway is given direction by the person of Jesus Christ who himself has walked our valleys and hills and felt its hopes and burdens.

These days already are getting that little bit longer the new light is getting brighter and slowly dispelling the winter darkness. New Year brings with it opportunity. As we face the challenges of our time may we be confident that our God is with us. May his light and peace allow us to know “All will be well”.