Feast of the Epiphany

Dec 30, 2020 | Gospel Reflections

Matt. 2:1-12

Sunday Reflection by Sister Ellen Keane, SNDdeN

The journey of the Magi was a pilgrimage to a holy place, but more importantly, their pilgrimage was, first and foremost, an inward journey…the kind of journeying that was soulful, that was sacred…that ultimately manifested the Divine.
Their Epiphany is a powerful echo to each of us. Inviting us to be attentive to our own inner journey. Reminding us how staying open to encounter the sacred in the simplest and most ordinary of moments allows God access to our heart and soul.
Phil Cousenau in his book The Art of Pilgrimage writes:
“What matters most on the journey is: How deeply we see,
How attentively we hear,
How richly the encounters are felt in our heart and soul.”

I’m reminded of a story told by Dewitt Jones that highlights what matters most on any journey we undertake.

Dewitt, a photographer for National Geographic, was sent to Alaska on assignment to gather photos for the next edition of the magazine. He woke very early the morning of his arrival and stood by the roadside festooned with cameras and tripods waiting for the van scheduled to pick him up. … A half-hour passed … an hour passed and still no van was in sight on this remote country road. He was far from happy, shifting from one foot to another …entertaining less than pleasant thoughts about the van driver…when a voice from within sounded in his ears, “Look around, Dewitt…Look around.” To his surprise, he did just that, and there behind him was a field laced in mist and festooned in wild flowers and in the distance a barn draped in the same mist as the field of flowers. He gently laid his equipment to one side and drank in the exquisite beauty and simplicity of the scene…
That photo was to become the centerpiece of the next edition of the magazine.
Often times there is an inner voice that says to each of us, if we have ears to hear attentively, “Look around, Ellen…Look around!” …”See what is in front of you waiting to be seen – awaken to all that is – engage all that is, even the most challenging, with curiosity, gentleness, gratitude, love and drink in My presence…
for what goes on inwardly is worthy of your love.”

Matthew 2:1-12

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”
When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.”
Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.
The Gospel of the Lord


Meet Sister Ellen Keane, SNDdeN

Sr. Ellen Keane entered Notre Dame at Ipswich, MA in 1963. Her ministries have included teaching, administration, pastoral counseling, retreat work, spiritual direction and training of spiritual directors. In 1981, she was invited to join in Notre Dame’s founding and developing a girls’ secondary school in Kakamega, Kenya where she ministered for twelve years. Those years in Kenya were a time of awakening to the richness and diversity of God’s goodness, a homecoming of sorts that has remained with her. Sr. Ellen currently ministers at the Spirituality Center in Ipswich, MA.