The Epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ is the self manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi. The Gospel of Matthew tells us that when Christ was born, wise men from the East, led by a guiding star, decided to journey to Israel bearing gifts for the newborn King. When they arrived at Jerusalem, capital of the southern kingdom, they decided to inquire with Herod, King of Judea, where precisely Christ was expected to be born.
Now, Herod was not a Jew but an Idumaean who was alleged to have bribed his way to become king of the Jews in Judea, and so was not liked and remained insecure. The last thing he wanted to hear was a sudden announcement of the nativity of a new king within his jurisdiction. In spite of his ill feelings toward this inquiry, Herod decided to confer with Jewish authorities who revealed Bethlehem of Judea as the designated birthplace of the Messiah. Herod then sent off the Magi after extracting a commitment from them to return to him after finding Christ so that he too could go and “pay Him homage.” The Magi again found the guiding star which led them to the birthplace of Jesus where they offered Him gifts of gold (royal metal), frankincense (used by priests for Divine worship), and Myrrh (an ancient pain reliever also used for burials). These gifts signified the kingship, the divinity and the eventual salvific death of Christ.
The journey of the Magi typifies our own earthly pilgrimage and the recurring temptation to be distracted by seemingly more plausible and practical earthly ideas. The star designated by God to lead us to righteousness is Christ himself who makes Himself visible to us through Holy Scripture, the teachings of his Church, and a well-formed and guided conscience. This illuminating star is, by divine arrangement, always available to anyone who seeks God. However, we often find ourselves turning towards the Herods of this world and by doing so we risk falling into doubt or even the eventual crumbling of our fragile faith. Every pilgrim should resist the seduction of ephemeral pleasure, the desire to “be like other nations,” the convenient lure of political correctness and moral neutrality, and in fact any similar anti-Christ ideas. All Christians should have their spiritual gaze fixed on Jesus, Himself, who possesses in Himself and is ready to endow us with sufficient guidance. We should come to Him bearing gifts of our hearts and wills, and if we stray at any point of our pilgrimage, return to God through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
May God receive our gifts of self, may earthly distractions and ideas never succeed in taking our gaze off Christ, and may we never be ashamed or reluctant to reconcile with God and our neighbor if we stray.
Please be kind and may God bless you.
Happy new year beloved People of God.
Fr. ManassehBACK TO LIST