Sunday, January 6, 2019

The Epiphany: Lessons From The Three Wise Men

That was a long Christmas season for us Filipinos. It started as early as September of 2018 and today marks its end as we celebrate the Epiphany or the Three Kings. I've never known its Christian significance until I've read and understood some of the published online articles. What I remember as a childhood story is that the newborn Jesus was visited by the Three wise men who were Kings and offered their gifts to Jesus, the messiah, and the future King.

My knowledge about Catholicism as my religion is very limited. In college when I studied at St. Paul in Iloilo City back in 2002, we had a Religious Studies subject and had the book entitled "Cathechism for Filipino Catholics" which until now I could remember how I read through the pages but was not able to fully understand its writings. I didn't even bother to finish reading the entire book due to its thick pages and the sad reality was I didn't pass my final exam on that subject and was given the chance to take it one more time.

Guest at the inauguration of St. Paul Hospital -
Cancer Center on October 19, 2016, Iloilo City
That was about fifteen years ago today when I couldn't even lead the Holy Rosary or memorize some basic prayers which my classmates and people of my age have mastered already. I wasn't prayerful back then, but I have religiously attended the required First Friday Masses and religious retreats at school. Back in my childhood days, it was even so hard for me to go to the church to celebrate Mass during Sundays.

Perhaps the time has changed that the new generations of Christians are not so deeply devoted to their religion. Parents may be sending their kids to a Catholic or Christian school, but their values may not be a reflection of what they must have been taught in school. It might have started with my generation, but not so sure about it. What I know is that we were the generation who enjoyed playing on the streets, enjoyed being offline as compared to the online world that is enjoyed by the younger generation nowadays.

I may not have appreciated that Cathechism book back then, but now as I grow up I am becoming more mature for religious contemplations and now have a deeper understanding of the significance of the events in Catholicism or Christianity as a whole. Until one day when I had the opportunity to come back to the Catholic school's Medical center, the St. Paul Hospital Iloilo, I had a flashback on my religious subject teachings. The Cathechism was made to life when we put Christ in our hearts-whenever we give service to humanity in anyways.

The deepest interest in my religion started when I traveled and worked in India sometime in 2011 until 2014. I was able to compare and contrast different religions founded by great men who are considered as God. In India, I've watch videos about "The Bible" and read articles related to Christianity. I truly appreciate films about "Jesus" and the Christianity he founded. I remember it was just after the beginning of the millennium when I watched the film "Passion of the Christ" and those kinds of films give meaning when what was written in a Holy scripture was put into real-like reenactment.

Today, with the advancement in technology I no longer have to carry thick and dark page Cathechism books. I enjoy reading online articles about lessons in Christianity and watching Biblical films through online streaming apps. I will no longer be put to test in a written examination to know whether I understood what I had read. My thoughts and actions will now be the basis of my Catholic faith. I may have failed in my Religious studies, but the real test is beyond the old-school dark and thick pages books. With the deeper reflection of Religious articles and biblical films, I must have applied the teachings in my daily activities.

From now on whenever we celebrate any Catholic event or feast, I learn to read and understand its significance in my life and know its relevance in todays' time when more people are becoming diverted and distracted by their faith.

In today's time, the King of nations may be acting or playing like God and worst is denying or not believing in God. This is the test of our time; whether we will remain faithful or abandon our faith just because of the words or orders coming from our King. Today, we have our modern version of King Herod, who is envious of someone's light and Divinity. We are reliving the olden times just like the stories in the bible. Our modern society is like a reenacting of the biblical films I've watched. It is happening again and as Catholic faithful, my time is put to test. My time, my loved one's time, and the next generations' time.

Even the Kings who had vast powers and may belong to other faith have paid respect and gratitude to the newborn Christ. It shows humility in spirit and an honorable act to someone greater in power. If only our nation's great leaders would have acquired those virtues like the three wise men, then we will be living in peace just like a paradise or a promised land. We need a King who does not only show courage and willpower, but a King who also shows humility, compassion, and faith to his people.

It may be the end of the yuletide season, but there are a lot of Catholic events that are to be celebrated in the days and months to come.

May this journey to a deeper Catholic understanding lead to spiritual growth and the maturity for enlightenment and greater service that is beyond the digital world we currently live in. May the younger generations be taught to be a responsible "King" capable of influencing others in their thoughts and actions. As we go through the path of our own Christian initiations, may we fully accept and embrace God through the Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, forever and ever.

© 2019 Del Cusay