The Influences of “Epiphany”

epiphanyausElvis Presley, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, Michael Jackson and most notably, Paul McCartney.

Besides all being huge rock stars, what do they all have in common? None of them can or could read or write music. John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote 237 songs for a musical group you may not have heard of, they were called, “The Beatles.”

What does this little trivia have to do with the Feast of the Epiphany? Lucky for you, I have an answer.

I have satellite radio and often listen to “The Beatles” channel. They’ll introduce a song by another artist saying, “This is what ‘The Beatles’ were listening to before they became ’The Beatles.’” They were enlightened and influenced by what they listened to growing up. Conscious or unconscious, something caught their attention, and it planted a seed that slowly became their seed – a seed to blossom and bloom.

Isn’t that cool? The same thing happens to all of us. We remember a phrase from an attentive teacher, an admonition from a caring parent, that first hug that we’ve since returned to others, a passing compliment from a good friend that becomes your lifelong career. We treasure bits and pieces from others and make them our own. We mingle those personal tributes given to us and those beloved warnings. We make them a part of our lives so history can repeat itself in good ways and not repeat itself in hurtful ways. It’s no surprise to us that the habits of parents become the habits of their children. Just think of the Harry Chapin song, “He’d grown up just like me, my boy was just like me!” (And Harry could read music.)

When I celebrate Mass, I have priests in mind who’ve enlightened me and spark me to imitate or to learn from them. I also have priests in mind who I don’t wish to imitate. That can be enlightening also. It works both ways. There was a priest from my Order who always put his hands in his pockets during the “Our Father.” Why I don’t know, but you’ll notice that I don’t do that. “Thanks, Father.”

Metaphorically, the “Three Kings” brings the world to the child Jesus. They show Jesus, the oyster that the world was for him and is for us. We love creating divisions between people because it makes life easier for us to understand but there are no Protestants and Catholic, and there is no North Korea and the United States – there is only us.

We say that children are always watching us, adults. I can tell in my later years now, that I’m watching even more closely than I did as a child. I’m still being enlightened by the strength of someone with cancer, or a single, working mother with children, that wise comment from an older adult, or the dad with two jobs, or my favorite of all is visiting someone who’s dying, and they tell me a joke. Are they laughing at their silly joke or are they laughing at death? (I think it’s the latter.) “I think you’re drinking too much,” “You look skinny,” “You seemed lost this past week,” “I think blue’s your color,” “You look tired, are you all right?” “That project you did was perfect, they all loved it.”

Even within any of our tiny communities, comments are given to you that enlighten – comments that provide for you that star to see you through another day if in difficult times or a guiding star that shows you, your passion. My preaching professor in graduate school took me aside and said that I couldn’t preach and should quit the seminary. You be the judge. Stars come in all kinds of light. Perhaps his star to me was telling me that what he heard from me was dim but what could be, could be brighter.

They say that we go it alone during life. That may be so in some cases but every, single one of us has been influenced and enlightened – either good or bad – through the actions and behavior of someone else.

How else could Paul and John ever have written 237 timeless songs?

Books by Fr. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.
Available in paperback and Kindle
“Soulful Muse,”

inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture
Living Faith’s Mysteries,”
inspirational reflections on the Christian seasons
of Advent/Christmas & Lent/Easter – a great seasonal gift
“Spiritual Wonderings and Wanderings,”
inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture
“Letters From My Cats,”
a collection of letters written by my cats over twenty years
“Bowling Through Life’s Stages with a Christian perspective,”
Bowling as a metaphor for religion and growing up

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
This entry was posted in Christmas, Spirituality. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.