The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
In the hope that you will enter more fully into the Mass
This Sunday is the Feast of the Epiphany (manifestation) of the Lord. It is a revelation not only of the child Jesus as the "newborn king of the Jews", but also that this child is not only King of the Jews, but also of "all the nations on earth."
In our first reading (Isaiah 60:1-6)
, we hear the prophesy that Jerusalem will "rise up in splendor" and "be a light to the nations" (Gentiles). Caravans shall come bearing gold and frankincense. The fulfillment of this prophesy is what we hear of in today's Gospel reading.
Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the LORD shines, and over you appears his glory. Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance. Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you: your sons come from afar, and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.
Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow, for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you. Caravans of camels shall fill you, dromedaries from Midian and Ephah; all from Sheba shall come bearing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.
In our Gospel reading (Matthew 2:1-12)
, we hear the story of the Maji coming from the east coming to do homage to the newborn King of the Jews. This is a sign of the universality of Christ's mission and the future acceptance of the Gentile world that Jesus is Son of the one true God, their savior.
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, "Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage." When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel." Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star's appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage." After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.
In our Epistle reading (Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6)
, St. Paul proclaims the revelation that the Gentiles are "coheirs, members of the same body". This was hard to accept for many Jewish Christians who believed that Gentiles had to become Jews to be saved..
Brothers and sisters: You have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for your benefit, namely, that the mystery was made known to me by revelation. It was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
The word catholic means universal and refers to the undivided Christian Church throughout the world. Our readings today tell us that Christ came to save the entire world, not just the people of Jerusalem; and that Christ's love and mercy would come to be known and accepted throughout the world. The word Catholic is also a call for us Catholic Christians to BE the light by which others will walk.
- Click Here to read, reflect and pray on the full readings for Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017
- Click Here to learn more about the Epiphany of the Lord