The Messiah Lives Among You

January 5, 2020, The Epiphany of the Lord

There once was a monastery that had come upon hard times. Once it was filled with young monks and its great chapel was filled with the sound of singing God’s praise, but now it was almost deserted, with a handful of elderly brothers shuffling through the cloister struggling to pray and work.

On the edge of the monastery woods an old rabbi had built a little hut. He would go there from time to time to pray and to fast. Whenever the venerable and wise rabbi was there, the monks felt blessed by his presence.

One day the abbot of the monastery went to visit the rabbi to seek his counsel. The rabbi welcomed him warmly. First the two prayed together; then the rabbi made tea for his guest. As he set the cups on the table, the rabbi said to the abbot, “You and your brothers are serving God with heavy hearts. You have come to ask a teaching of me. Very well, I will give you a teaching – but you can only repeat it once. After that, no one must ever say it aloud again.”

The rabbi leaned in a looked straight into the eyes of the abbot. “The Messiah is among you,” the rabbi said, “He lives among you now.”

The abbot did not know what to say; he left the rabbi’s hut without saying a word. The next morning, the abbot called the monks together. He told them he had received a teaching from the rabbi who walks in the woods – but warned that the teaching was to be spoken only once and then never said again. The abbot then looked at each of his brothers and said, “The rabbi said that one of us is the Messiah.”

The monks were stunned by the abbot’s words. What could this mean? They asked themselves: Is Brother John the Messiah? Or Father Matthew, Or Brother Thomas? Could I be the Messiah?

They were all puzzled, and unsettled, by the rabbi’s teaching, but faithfully obeyed the abbot’s instructions that it never be mentioned again.

As time went by, the monks began to treat one another with a special reverence. There was a gentle, peaceful quality about them that was hard to describe but easy to notice. The few visitors to the monastery found themselves deeply moved by the life of the community. Before long, people were coming from miles around to be nourished by the prayer of the monks. More and more brothers joined the community. As the monastery began to rebuild, the joy of their prayer once again resounded through their chapel – and hearts.

The old rabbi was never seen again, but the old monks who had taken his teaching to heart, forever felt his presence. (Source unknown)

“The Messiah lives among you.”  Epiphany. The word means a “showing, making aware, The Epiphany celebrates that reality in all our lives: the Messiah lives among you. Christ is present among us in our love for one another. Christ is present among us in the mercy and justice we work for. Christ is present among us in the forgiveness we extend and accept.

Our lives are filled with epiphanies of awareness and understandings, discoveries of abilities and potential, realizations of the love of God in our lives.

In conclusion, in the New Year, may we seek to find the Messiah in our midst, He is there. Amen

Sunday Readings

Isaiah 60:1–6

Arise! Shine, for your light has come, / the glory of the Lord has dawned upon you.

 

Ephesians 3:2–3a, 5–6

The Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

 

Matthew 2:1–12

The star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.