In John’s Gospel, Jesus invites his followers to “come and see.” It is an open ended invitation to a fantastic journey—the journey of getting to know Jesus. We celebrate Epiphany. The Wise Men from the East accepted God’s invitation to traverse afar amid great danger to come and see the child in the manger. Having seen the child, they were a changed lot. They could not return the way they had come. They had traveled trough Herod’s culture of death to meet the life-Child. They had to return by a new way.
We too are invited to come and see. Once we come and see, “Oh, the places we will go” to quote Dr. Seuss. When we encounter the God of Peace and the Prince of Peace, our lives change. We change direction. Though we walk through the culture of death we are journeying to our God—the God of Peace and Justice and Mercy and Love. The spirit of the living God of Peace will live in us and lead us and guide us.
Our encounter with the God of peace requires us to imitate Mary. She pondered all these things in her heart. She pondered. She dwelt upon the wonderful works of the God of Peace in her life. Our first step on the journey is not a step at all. We stop and we rest in the God of Peace. We ponder the wonders God is working in our lives. A novice asked a wise monk. “What do you do when you meditate?” The wise monk said, “I look at God and God looks at me.” We simply sit in God’s presence and absorb God’s tremendous love for us. God is the tremendous lover. Like a wild stag, he leaps and bounds over mountains to come to us, the beloved.
Having dwelt in the presence of the God of peace and having pondered, we go forth on our journey. It is a faith journey and it will be different for each one of us.
I can only speak for my journey. When I encountered the God of Peace at a retreat with Father John Dear in PA , my life changed. I could no longer read the Scriptures as I had read them. I realized that Jesus was about peace and justice and delivering all people from oppression. I realized that the God of Peace wants all people to share in the fullness of the kindom.
Epiphany is about all people—black and white, rich and poor, Jew and Gentile, straight and gay, Republicans and democrats, red and blue—coming to the God-Child.
The encounter with the living God led me to work with Pax Christi—the national Catholic peace and justice group—since the beginning of the Second Gulf War.
The encounter has led me to midnight trespass at the Nevada Desert Test Site to protest nuclear proliferation.
The encounter has led me to the gates of Fort Benning, GA to protest the death dealing of the School of the Americas graduates in Latin America.
The encounter has led me to write to the President, my congressional representatives and newspaper editors.
The encounter has led me to the streets of Orlando to call for a halt to war.
The encounter led me to Northern Ireland to understand more about the peace process.
The encounter has led me to the village of Knock in County Mayo, Ireland where Mary appeared in 1879 and a promise to say a rosary every day for peace.
The encounter will lead me in February to Israel and Palestine to learn about peacemaking amid strife and struggle.
The encounter has led me here today to write this in witness to the power of the God of Peace.
This is my journey after encountering the love of God made present in Christ Jesus. What is your journey? Where have you been? Where is the Spirit of the Living God leading you? To work for peace and justice? To hospice work? To work with those in recovery? To visit the sick in your local hospital? To take communion to the hospitalized and shut-ins? To serve meals in the soup kitchen? To shelter the homeless on cold nights in Florida? To financially support children here and in other countries?
You are on the journey—
You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.
[You will live in the love of the Most High God.]
You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
[But the Spirit of God will lead you and guide you.]
Oh, the places you will go.
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!
Oh, the places you will go! May the God of Peace be with you. May the wind be at your back. May the road rise to meet your feet as you journey. May God’s face shine upon you and give you peace. May the child in the manger lead you to wonderful new places in 2008.

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