Sunday, January 8, 2012
The Real Graceland
I found it somewhat oddly funny that this year, in the United States, the Solemnity of the Epiphany fell on January 8th, which also happens to be the birthdate of the late Elvis Presley (commonly known as "the king").
I never quite understood the maddening hysteria surrounding Elvis. That he had incredible talent (and not at all bad looking in his early years), is a given, but the intense fascination that folks have for him in the nearly 35 years after his death is a little hard to take. People from around the world travel thousands of miles and through time zones and continents just to get to Graceland, Elvis' estate. Fans know every song by heart and pour over even the most minute details his life. It's sadly fascinating.
This is not against Elvis. I would suspect that he might have thought that this devotion and obsession may have been well-meaning, but sorely misplaced. Tbis "king" might have wondered where the real King, Christ the Lord fits into all of this.
The answer is found in a singular bright Star that hovered over Bethlehem over 2000 years ago. It is that Star that fascinated Magi from the East, leading them across deserts, mountains and valleys to the real land of grace, the place where the Child Jesus and His Mother were. The Magi knew that this Child was important; soon, they would come to know this infant King.
Herod knew a little about this Child, but he really did not know Him. He suspected that this Child was going to threaten his reign and supplant him; however, Herod did not bother to read enough, let alone, open his heart, to the Child.
The Solemnity of the Epiphany calls us to not only know about this Child Jesus, but to come to know Him and allow ourselves to be transformed by Him. We do not have to cross continents and time zones to come into contact with Jesus. We encounter each other at every Mass. Instead of offering Him gold, frankincense and myrrh, we bring to Him our hearts, our bodies, our souls, our very selves. In turn, He gives us His very self. While He had a unique encounter with the Magi, Christ offers us the chance of a truly spectacular meeting with us during Holy Communion, as we receive Him in Holy Communion so that we can become one with Him. It is that holy exchange of gifts that is much more profound than anything the world has to offer.
Let us then turn our hearts to the true King and strive to make our own pilgrimage to that true Graceland, our heavenly home which is the New Jerusalem.