I just returned from a two days and one night leadership camp and I was surprised because I saw Jesus being present. His presence hit me in the words that the speakers used such as servant leadership, the need to pause when making choices (discernment) and to always look out for one another (affirmation) in bringing out another person’s strengths. These were small hints that God was in control and that He would guide me on the path that was well lighted to experience Him more. But even knowing the light, sometimes one could choose darkness also.
In the gospel reading, it says,“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 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 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 offered 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 (Matthew 2:1-12).”
The magi represents our constant search for God that we too must continue to pursue love, hope and compassion that embody our Catholic faith. Being a leader for me is not easy as it can be easier being laid-back and listen to instructions in letting things take its course. I have struggled being a leader; and there are heavy responsibilities and expectations to be met. At times, the inner voice in my mind overshadows my thoughts in telling me that I am not worthy, good or fit to be a leader.
But I still try my best and put in effort which is enough in the eyes of Jesus. He knows our struggles, failures and moments of darkness but He always shows us the light and invites us to just be present with him. He gives us the courage and strength which we carry in our hearts that dark moments do not last forever.
We need to remember that the meaning of Epiphany means “manifestation” or “showing forth”. This is Jesus’s promise to us that we carry Him in our hearts and that we, like the Magi, have so much to offer to the world to be light to others. In time where light is always battling with darkness, let us always seek Jesus first by discerning in trust that He knows what is best for us.
I had a enjoyable time at the camp and let us continue to pray for leaders in the world out there that they reflect on situations at hand before making the choices that they have to make. This is to allow them to always put others before hand in the show of servant leadership. Amen.
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong