Are you confused?

Reflection on the Epiphany of the Lord (January 8)

By Greg Swiderski

The readings for this Sunday:

Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13
Ephesians 3:2-6
Matthew 2:1-12

The full text of the readings can be found here.

Each year at this feast I feel this uncomfortable emotion: Why do we sing about 3 kings when Matthew does not give a number and uses a description which has nothing to do with political leadership. During the Middle Ages this legend developed. They even got names which people evoke when they bless the entrances of their homes.

However, there are often much more disturbing and confusing experiences. Families going through a divorce and people asking why the most powerful nation on earth could not deal adequately with its own people after Katrina. I continue to ask myself why people support Pat Robertson. His stupidities in the divine name and religious purpose confound me.

The dictionary tells us that the root of the word confusion is "fundere": to pour. Is confusion like making a chocolate milk shake? Pour the individual ingredients into a blender, invite the swirling energy to do its magic and like an alchemist's work, we find ourselves with a tasty drink.

For genuine students (disciples) of the gospel, confusion seems a healthy experience. When we seem convinced that we have all the answers, how can we be disciples? Being open to the in pouring of life's experiences and the growing confidence that we learn best from our mistakes, we will learn more as we mature. That is why we seek wisdom in the elders.

From what I have heard, the movie Munich offers many questions and so disturbs people who live with their preconceived answers.

Do you recall a teacher who said that she/he welcomed all questions? Every good answer leads to another question, to a more profound confusion. When I'm feeling disturbed, I'll invoke the magi. They follow their star through the desert night, get fooled by a murderous, lying political leader, listen to their dream (Did they all have the same dream or did one have it and need to convince the others?) and then have their mystical awakening made into statues in a cute scene, and consequently rob them of their awesome spiritual purpose.

They seem like great spirits to walk with me during my many frightening questions.