Is 60:1-6, Ps 72:1-7, 10-14, Eph 3:1-12, Mt 2:1-12
The feast of the Epiphany marks two great events in the life of Jesus. It represents Jesus’ first appearance to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi; and it marks the baptism of our Lord in the Eastern Churches where the Father and the Holy Spirit manifests Jesus as the Son of God. Later at the synagogue in Nazareth, Jesus reveals Himself as the promised Messiah and at Cana, He changes water into wine revealing His divinity. These are all suggested manifestations of the feast of the Epiphany.
The Epiphany experience is somewhat of a mystery, because we do not know what would happen next. In a certain school, a survey was taken among the children who were asked “Why do you read Harry Potter novels and watch Harry Potter movies?” Their answer was quite simple: “Because you never know what would happen next”. The Magi in today’s Gospel of Mt 2:1-12, dramatizes for us the same element of suspense as they followed the Star. They did not know what would happen next as they were prompted by the Spirit and was led on a journey of not knowing where they were going. Does this seem familiar, going on a journey and not knowing which direction to take? However, you trust your instincts and you trust God on the journey that wherever the road takes you, it is the best path for your life that would eventually lead you to your destination, God.
So many great discoveries were made by people who took risks. Christopher Columbus discovered America; Marco Polo was an explorer and merchant and travelled to India and China; some astronauts even explored the possibility of landing on the moon. All these discoveries happened because of their drive for adventure. The Magi were driven by the Star to see where it would take them. “Curiosity killed the cat”. In this case, it was a happy fault, because they discovered the Son of God, the Saviour of the world, the King of kings, and came to pay Him homage. This new revelation captured and transformed them because they have seen the Light.
In today’s Readings for the feast of the Epiphany, we read in Isaiah 60:1-6, that although the people are still in darkness, a great light has shone. God’s glory has covered the whole earth because the light of Yahweh is for all nations. The nations of the world consist of many races, cultures and creeds. Jesus, the King of the nations, came to set free all the nations of the earth and not just the chosen people of Israel. In our dark confused world, there are rulers of the earth who could be compared to that of King Herod, a figure of cruelty and corruption. Many infants were killed at his hands because he was greedy for power and through force, tried to get rid of the infant king. There are politicians today in various parts of the world who are blinded by power and have no regard for the people they serve. So many innocent people have been killed because they were on the side of truth.
In Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14, we read of the King who comes “to rule the people with justice and the poor with fair judgment… He will save the children of the needy and crush the oppressor”. We are called in the same way to work for justice and peace and help the poor in whichever way we can and to obliterate oppression through the light of the Gospel.
In Ephesians 3:1-12, we read that Paul has been made a servant of the Gospel by the grace of God. Like Paul, we are also, through God’s grace, made servants of God, proclaiming to God’s people, “the treasure of Christ”. Just as the Magi brought gifts and adored the Baby King, we too are given gifts to lay before the King, to glorify God. Each day at Mass, we adore the King in the Eucharist bringing Him our hearts, our brokenness, our love and joy, our struggles, our successes and failures, our hopes and fears and our silent tears, through Thanksgiving. There are many people who are broken and in need of healing. We can be instruments of love and peace by healing others with God’s love. With our self-offering to God, let us lead others to God, as the Magi were led by the Star. Let us offer God our gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh through our lives in bringing hope, love, faith, peace and joy to everyone we meet, because in each one, there lives the newborn King.
Just as the Magi returned home by a different road because of the transformation they received through their encounter with the newborn King, so too are we called to transformation and redirect our lives through the grace of God, from darkness to light, sadness to joy, hate to love, war to peace, rejection to acceptance and injury to forgiveness. Let us radiate the light of Christ through the Star which enables us to give of ourselves to Christ by reflecting Him to others through our selfless service, unconditional love and compassion, thus bringing healing to our broken world.
FOR FURTHER REFLECTION
• Who are the Magi or the wise men to which you look for advice today?
• In your journey towards God, how are you like the Magi?/Unlike them?
• What is the gold, incense and myrrh in your life?
• How have you offered this to Jesus?
(Sr Columbia Fernandez OP)