Perhaps our devotion for this Epiphany week should be to pray the Mysteries of Light on the Rosary. Epiphany is a time of manifestation, of light coming into the dark place that our world can be at times. We long to see, and more than that we long to see Christ, the one who comes with peace and justice to make all things right.
Today’s mystery, then would be “Jesus proclaims the kingdom of God with its call to repentance,” the third Mystery of Light. This preaching is accompanied by the great and mighty acts of healing, which have the crowds flocking to him in droves. They definitely see in Jesus a light that shines into the darkness of their lives, marked as they are by illness both physical and mental, but also perhaps overwhelmingly spiritual.
Saint John speaks to us today in the first reading about the discernment of spirits, which is a very important spiritual practice, a skill we all need to develop. How do we know what is of the spirit of God and what is of a spirit of deception? Saint John tells us that the decisive test is whether or not that spirit acknowledges that Jesus is incarnate in the world, that he has come to live among us and continues to shed light on the darkness of our world and of our lives. Anything that prefers the darkness, then, is of a spirit of deception.
And we know very well that there were all sorts of people who didn’t flock to Jesus. Many saw him as a charlatan and thought his healings were smoke and mirrors. They preferred the darkness. The same is certainly true today. Many hear the word and turn away from it. Many hear of the kingdom with its call to repentance and would rather live as they want to live. But we cannot be that way. We have the Light, and we are called to live in the Light. Living in that Light, as the Psalmist tells us, gives us the nations for our inheritance.