The Feast of the Epiphany 2016

The Feast of the Epiphany

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Last Sunday was the Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord. The word “epiphany” means man­i­fes­ta­tion. The Epiphany cel­e­brates the man­i­fes­ta­tion of the Sav­ior, Jesus Christ, to the gen­tiles (non-Jewish peo­ple) in the per­sons of the magi—the three wise men Mel­chior, Balthasar, and Gaspar.

After Jesus was born in Beth­le­hem in Judea, dur­ing the time of King Herod, Magi  from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw His star when it rose and have come to wor­ship Him.’ When King Herod heard this he was dis­turbed, and all Jerusalem with him. … After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were over­joyed. 11 On com­ing to the house, they saw the Child with His mother Mary, and they bowed down and wor­shiped Him. Then they opened their trea­sures and pre­sented Him with gifts of gold, frank­in­cense and myrrh.” (Matthew 2 :1–3,9–11)

God began His work of the redemp­tion of mankind with the Jew­ish peo­ple as seen in the Old Tes­ta­ment. For exam­ple, He gave the Jew­ish peo­ple the Ten Com­mand­ments through the prophet Moses. He also spoke of the Savior’s com­ing through the Old Tes­ta­ment prophets until finally Jesus came into the world. The man­i­fes­ta­tion of Jesus to the three kings sym­bol­izes that Jesus’ com­ing into the world has made rec­on­cil­i­a­tion with God now open to the gen­tiles as well.

All the nations you have made will come and wor­ship before You, Lord;  they will bring glory to Your name. 10 For You are great and do mar­velous deeds; You alone are God.” Psalms 86:9–10

All the ends of the earth will remem­ber and turn to the Lord, and all the fam­i­lies of the nations will bow down before Him … .” Psalms 22:27

The gifts of the three kings: gold, frank­in­cense, and myrrh also have spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance. The gift of gold sig­ni­fies that Jesus is a King. In the Book of Rev­e­la­tion, Jesus is referred to as “the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” The gift of frank­in­cense sig­ni­fies that Jesus is the High Priest and also God. In the Jew­ish tra­di­tion through­out the Old Tes­ta­ment, the high priest would offer incense to God in wor­ship. For the same rea­son, the priest incenses the altar dur­ing the Holy Mass to honor the pres­ence of God. The last gift, myrrh, seems at first, a strange gift for a new­born baby because myrrh was used as part of Jew­ish embalm­ing and bur­ial cus­toms. This last gift sig­ni­fies that Jesus has come into the world to die as the ulti­mate sac­ri­fice for the sins of mankind in order to rec­on­cile mankind with God.

How does the Epiphany apply to us today?

First of all, we can be thank­ful for our knowl­edge of the One True God, the lov­ing Cre­ator of all mankind who loves us so much that He sent His Son to rec­on­cile us with Him­self. Fur­ther­more, because of this knowl­edge, we must make time and effort to wor­ship God each day by attend­ing the Holy Mass and receiv­ing Holy Com­mu­nion every Sun­day and as much as we can dur­ing the week, mak­ing time to adore Christ like the magi through Ado­ra­tion of the Most Blessed Sacra­ment, as well as daily prayers such as the Most Holy Rosary.

Sec­ondly, we must resolve to man­i­fest Christ to others—to bring Christ to whomever we encounter by our words and actionsThe light and love of Christ must shine through us, so that all those with whom we come into con­tact may be drawn to Jesus for the sal­va­tion of their eter­nal souls.

 “A new com­mand I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this every­one will know that you are My dis­ci­ples, if you love one another.” John 13:34–35

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill can­not be hid­den. Nei­ther do peo­ple light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to every­one in the house. In the same way, let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14–16

In Chap­ter 4 of the Gospel of John is the beau­ti­ful account of the Samar­i­tan woman who met Jesus and was so moved by the expe­ri­ence that she told every­one in her town.

Then, leav­ing her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the peo­ple, ‘Come, see a man who told me every­thing I ever did. Could this be the Christ?’ They came out of the town and made their way toward Him. … Many of the Samar­i­tans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s tes­ti­mony … and because of His words many more became believ­ers.” (John 4: 28, 29, 39–41)

The vision of Saint John in the Book of Rev­e­la­tion gives us a hope­ful and tri­umphant image of a redeemed mankind.

After this I looked, and there before me was a great mul­ti­tude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, peo­ple and lan­guage, stand­ing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wear­ing white robes and were hold­ing palm branches in their hands.” Rev­e­la­tion 7:9

Like the three kings, may we earnestly seek Christ and His Kingdom! Like the Blessed Virgin Mary, may we manifest Him to others!

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