St Stephen Lewisham

10th January 2009

Baptism of our Lord


All Wrapped-up part two

The word ‘Epiphany’ that we were thinking about last Sunday, means ‘discovering’ or ‘unwrapping’ – the sort of thing we do to our presents at Christmas.

Epiphany-tide, besides being associated with the coming of the Magi to worship the Infant King, has also been an opportunity to think about three other ‘uncovering’ or ‘discovering’ incidents in the earthly life of Jesus: His baptism, the Finding in the Temple and the Miracle at Cana. In all three events, some truth about Jesus was ‘unwrapped’ and those who paid careful attention (for example His Mother, His Apostles, and John the Baptist) all learnt something new about Him.

Wrapping-up presents has the effect of exciting our curiosity about them. Though the paper and the string which wraps them are worth next to nothing in comparison with the gifts which they conceal, they fulfil the important role of making us want ‘to take matters a stage further’ by unwrapping them.

But taking off the wrapping is only the first step in discovering what really is inside the parcel. To appreciate fully the value of what we have been given as a present needs us to do more than simply unwrap it.

If the present is a book, for instance, we need to read it to appreciate it; if it’s a picture then we need to hang it on a wall or put it on our desk or paste it into an album; if it’s a gadget we need to read the instructions to find out how to use it to the best advantage; if it’s a box of chocolates we need to sample and share them with others.

God’s manifestation of Himself as God the Son, in the Person of Jesus Christ also requires that we take the trouble to appreciate Him. It’s not just a matter of a one-off discovery but a day-by-day opening-up by taking off yet another bit of wrapping.

God ‘wraps Himself up’ in many different ways: He’s ‘wrapped’ in the Bible – but we have to read it; He’s wrapped in our fellow-Christians – but we have to find Him there, and in some of them He is pretty deeply concealed; He’s wrapped in what people say to us, including our preachers, (where He’s sometimes even more difficult to discover!); and last, but not least, He is wrapped-up in the Blessed Sacrament of His Body and Blood where you and I will be discovering Him in a few minutes’ time!

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