Dear friends on the journey,
Recently my mom shared with me that every night at dinner my dad recites his pandemic mantra: EGBOK, an acronym for Everything’s Gonna Be OK. My brother even gifted him a T-shirt with the mantra. I was intrigued so I did what any 21st century resident does...I googled it. EGBOK was the trademark phrase of the KABCAM morning radio show, The Ken and Bob Company. For nearly 20 years, day after day, hosts Ken Minyard and Bob Arthur encouraged their Southern California listeners with their motto: Don't worry, EGBOK. This became so popular that thousands of fans wore buttons as a reminder and a hostage of the 1985 TWA hijacking in Beirut credited his faith in God and EGBOK for his survival and release.
All during this Advent and Christmas, the theme of light and darkness kept coming up for me. Not just in scripture and homilies but in unexpected places. On December 21 we witnessed the “Christmas Star” better known as the Great Conjunction, the aligning of Jupiter and Saturn in the southwestern sky. This alignment of planets to form a single brighter “star” in the sky could very well be what the Magi followed in today’s gospel. They trusted this star to guide their long journey. They relied on its light in the night’s darkness. In fact, it was only in the darkness that the Magi could see the vibrant star better. They trusted this light would lead them to the newborn king of the Jews. And they arrived and found what was promised.
Even in our first reading from Isaiah we hear the great prophet talk about the light that symbolizes the promise of blessings for Jerusalem. He assures the people that no matter the darkness and thick clouds covering the earth the Lord will shine upon them. This radiant light will cause their hearts to throb and overflow, and so much goodness will come. And they experienced what was promised.
Today’s scripture, and really our faith, is all about light, God’s radiant light that is promised and given to us today, most especially in our earthly darkness. I dare say 2020 has been a year of darkness. The pandemic hovers over us like San Fernando Valley smog. It is ever-present, affecting our daily routines, mental health, employment, relationships, milestone celebrations, and holidays. It exacerbates the grief of a cancer diagnosis, a failed relationship, the death of a loved one, and so on. It fatigues us and blurs our vision of the good.
As it was for the Magi, the darkness is when we see Christ’s light best. In this pandemic darkness, Christ’s light assures us that this darkness of isolation and worry won’t last forever. It will be conquered. His light guides us, warms us, gives us hope that good will come, that everything’s going to be OK. Isn’t EGBOK basically our Christian faith? God’s promise is revealed in the Paschal Mystery. The darkness of Good Friday is conquered by the morning light of Easter and the hope of resurrection when we will enjoy the glorious light of heaven.