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Eureka! Epiphany! – Br. Jim Woodrum

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Read by Br. Jim WoodrumMark 9:2-13

I was marveling the other day that Lent is just around the corner.  Isn’t that amazing?  It seems like yesterday we were dressing this chapel liturgically in blue for Advent, in excited anticipation of Christmas.  Now, Epiphany is almost over and I’m getting a little panicky…..because I haven’t had one yet.  Maybe you can relate.  Have you had an epiphany during this church season of Epiphany?

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary an epiphany is:  a moment in which you suddenly see or understand something in a new or very clear way.  In the church, Epiphany is a season beginning on January 6th when we celebrate Christ being made manifest to the world through the coming of the Magi to Bethlehem (epiphany, from the Greek, literally meaning manifestation).In today’s gospel lesson it seems like everyone is having an epiphany!  The gospel writer of Mark tells us that Jesus takes Peter, James, and John with him high upon a mountain where they can be by themselves and something unexpected happens:  Jesus is transfigured before them, his clothes become dazzling white and Moses and Elijah appear and begin speaking to him.  We are not privy to their conversation, but their presence with Jesus infers a sort spiritual debriefing session; Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and the Prophets, are said to have conversed with God directly in their lifetimes.  This scene is epiphany for Jesus who is learning more about what his role as the long awaited Messiah will entail.  His mission is gaining clarity.

This scene is epiphany for the disciples because they experience something in Jesus that they have not seen before.  Have you ever noticed something quite unexpectedly in a friend or colleague that has shed some light on them?  Perhaps this experience gave you a little insight into their situation and changed your perception of who they were…..they were transfigured before your eyes.   I think this transfiguration of Jesus was a game changer for Peter, James, and John because their notions of his mission were significantly changed.  As they descended the mountain, they knew they had witnessed something awesome but the experience shook the foundation of who they wanted Jesus to be.  And as much as Jesus tried to explain, they wouldn’t fully understand until after His death, resurrection, and ascension….and believe it or not, for us, THIS is good news.

While an epiphany seems like a sudden and random event, the truth is epiphanies happen after a significant period of time when a final tidbit of information gathered brings something into focus and makes us say “Eureka!  I got it!”  While the ‘Eureka effect,’ (the sudden elation one experiences when having an epiphany) makes this event appear to be random, in actuality it is the end of a long process.

You may be heading into Lent not having had an epiphany, that is, you’re not sure how God is working in your life.  Or perhaps God is not working according to your expectations.  If this is the case, then don’t panic.  Peter, James, and John….Jesus’ inner circle of friends didn’t understand right away either.  Like the disciples, you may need to work these things out with Jesus in your prayer.  Ask Jesus to shed some light in your life, to transfigure it….and then be patient.  It may be that you’re being readied for something, and in God’s time, when you least expect it, EUREKA!!!

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7 Comments

  1. Elizabeth Clifford on March 5, 2019 at 13:46

    Bro Jim, I had never thought of the Transfiguration as an Epiphany for Jesus! Thank you for new awareness of the humanity of our divine Lord. Peace and blessings to you and your brothers.

  2. Ruth Sherk on March 5, 2019 at 11:14

    Thank you Br. Woodrum for giving me hope! I am quite new to conversing with God and am just now learning to be still and listen. Some months ago I prayed for Him to give me patience. Waiting, hoping and then recognizing through repetition of events that God is actually talking to me … that has been my epiphany. The year of my first epiphany is 2019! It also is the year of my 80th birthday. I share this fact because it might be useful for youngsters to know that, though it may take a long time, God will and does, speak to your special needs. It’s sooo exciting when He does!!!!
    EUREKA!

    • Elizabeth Clifford on March 5, 2019 at 13:43

      So happy for you, Ruth! Thank you for sharing your epiphany, and for its encouragement to us elders to keep on keeping on. Our God is beyond time and wants to bring us into divine life and love, here and now. Hallelujah! (Last day for that particular expression of praise and joy 🙂

  3. Margaret Dungan on March 5, 2019 at 11:11

    Thank you BR. Jim and those who have already responded to your words,words of conformation and light.

    Margaret.

  4. Jeanne DeFazio on March 5, 2019 at 09:54

    Wow! Great insight! The comment:
    Lately God has not been working in my life according to my expectations. But recently I’ve had inklings of an epiphany. When I get my expectations out of the way, it’s becoming more clear what God is up to and I do believe I’m being readied for something — in God’s time and in God’s way. Wrapped up in a place of curious circumstance is the will of God and a road perfectly straight indicating the way. Keeping close to Him and listening to the Holy Spirit day by day. Thanks

  5. SusanMarie on March 5, 2019 at 06:39

    Thank you, Br. Jim! Lately God has not been working in my life according to *my* expectations. But recently I’ve had inklings of an epiphany. When I get my expectations out of the way, it’s becoming more clear what God is up to and I do believe I’m being readied for something — in God’s time and in God’s way, which is the only way these things should happen. Your sermon was another epiphany for me. When I read your last paragraph, I thought quietly, “Eureka!”

  6. Margflet@aol.com on February 24, 2014 at 09:31

    Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and the Prophets, are said to have conversed with God directly in their lifetimes. This scene is epiphany for Jesus who is learning more about what his role as the long awaited Messiah will entail. Thank you Br. Jim.This must be my Epiphany. I did not know Jesus was doing that. I thought it was a moment of adoration for the others who were having the Epiphany. Thank you for giving me mine.

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