by Thokozani Mkhonta
Click here for Sunday’s readings
Pain is a sad certainty of life. It is difficult to discern the meaning of life in the midst of pain. It is for that reason that our attention is often drawn to God when we go through pain since he is the ultimate being who has reasons for all things.
Those who look up to God are often in a better position to cope with pain. God assures those who put their faith in him that all pain is temporary, and that those who persevere shall be delivered. This can be typified in the situation of the people of Israel. In the midst of political oppression and exploitation, they waited with hope for the Messiah who was to deliver them from the hands of their oppressors. Israel knew that he served a God who honours his promises. Thus, the Israelites knew that all their suffering was going to end someday. It is difficult to imagine the situation of gentiles who might have been going through a similar situation as Israel: not being able to deliver yourself from pain whilst also without hope of anyone who might deliver you.
It is a pity that Israel thought so much of deliverance in terms of political liberation than forgiveness of sins and ultimately eternal life. The politically motivated feuds which characterized Israel’s relationship with some of the nations in the time, which were a constant source of Israel’s pain, were supposed to be an indication that the righteousness of God ought to be an enlightenment to all peoples so that they can live in harmony. Thus, Israel ought to have prayed for the enlightenment of her oppressors so that she could have been able to live in harmony with them.
It is a source of great joy to realize that the enlightenment of all peoples was in God’s plan. All are created in His image and likeness. The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord which the Church celebrates today recalls God’s revelation to the gentiles. It calls us to ponder and reflect on the impartial nature of God. The gentile, like the Jew, can now look up to God with hope for salvation as God has made it certain that His son, the Messiah, has come to save all. May the light of Christ illumine the hearts of all humankind, that all people may come to the realization that they are all children of God. May all nations learn to embrace and live in harmony with each other.