Divine Presence
MT 2:1-12
Epiphany of the Lord
January 3, 2016

If you “click on to” the NASA web site, you can make your way to a very interesting article, put up in October of 2015 entitled: JOURNEY TO MARS – Pioneering Next Steps in Space Exploration. The article gives a detailed explanation of the three stage proposal that will hopefully lead to establishing a sustainable human presence beyond earth, not just to visit but to stay. PHASE I of the project is called “Earth Reliant.” Basically, this means that all of the work is done here. PHASE 2 is referred to as “Proving Ground.” The rockets and satellites, the research in progress on the International Space Station, and every other way in which “human presence is expanded into deep space” falls within this PHASE which is intended to lead us into PHASE 3 by the year 2030. The ultimate goal of PHASE 3 is clear from its title: “Earth Independent.”

As one reads through this plan to pioneer and settle deep space, it’s difficult not to become engaged and excited. This spirit of exploration that motivates the scientists, engineers, medical researchers AND INVESTORS, is contagious. It offers us an image of the future…what might be? But it also is a vehicle to the past, in the sense that it enables us to tap into the “spirit of exploration” alive in the 14th century, that led to the discovery of “The New World.” The modern day desire to “expand the human presence into deep space” might offer as well, some insights into THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD!

In the beginning, all was “God Reliant,” But the Creator was eager to “expand the Divine Presence” and in that way share the Love that is God. PHASE 2 opened with creation. Earth became the “Proving Ground” for this cosmic expression of Love. The original sin interfered with The Divine Plan to share with a creature made in the image and likeness of The Creator. But God persisted to make the Divine Presence felt, in many different ways. Eventually, through the Incarnation, God’s Eternal Word became Flesh to dwell among us. With the Birth of Jesus Christ, God established a sustainable Divine Presence beyond Heaven…not just to visit but to stay. In fact, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Divine Presence that broke through the barrier separating Heaven from Earth, has remained.

The three explorers who we remember on this Feast of the Epiphany, played a key role in PHASE 2 of the Divine Plan. We call them The Three Wise Men…because they were indeed, wise enough to recognize and follow the star that guided them towards Bethlehem, as having been sent by God. Moreover, they were wise enough to recognize the Child, in His mother’s arms, as being worthy of their homage. Finally, they were wise enough to listen to the angle’s warning, not to return in the way they had come, but to go home a different way.
The Magi have a great many things in common with the adventurers who have set their sights on Mars. But what distinguishes them, and sets them apart, is the motivation for their research and journey. They left their homes bearing gifts…not looking for ways to profit or gain. Unlike the explores who crossed the Atlantic the first time, they were not searching for gold…or spices…or for new lands to add to their kingdoms. The Magi brought and presented those very things and presented them to the Christ –child and then subjected themselves to His Kingdom, which they understood was not of this world. Their efforts were rewarded. They were invited into PHASE 3. This is to say, they returned to their homes changed. Because of their encounter with the Divine, they became “Earth Independent”…wholly dependent upon the God Who revealed the Divine Self to them.

We should be grateful to God who created us with the intellects that enable us to discover new worlds. But above all else, we should be grateful to God, Who through Jesus Christ established a sustainable Divine Presence here on earth…not just to visit but…through the Holy Spirit to stay…until Christ returns in glory!

In this coming year, let’s resolve to become totally EARTH INDEPENDENT…trusting and rejoicing in our God Who shares Life and Love with us.