The Epiphany of the Lord
In the hope that you will enter more fully into the Mass
THEY PROSTRATED THEMSELVES AND DID HIM HOMAGEThis Sunday
is the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord. The word means "manifestation" and comes from the Greek word "to reveal". It is the celebration of God's self-revelation to humankind, including to the Gentile world. It is the fulfillment of prophesies of old that "all nations will walk by your light".
In our first reading (Isaiah 60:1-6)
, we hear Isaiah's prophesy near the time of Judah's release from Babylonian captivity and restoration to Jerusalem - a prophesy only partially fulfilled at that time, a New Jerusalem was yet to come.
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.
Our Gospel reading (Matthew 2:1-12)
is the story of the three wise men from the east coming to bring gifts and praises to the newborn King of the Jews. These Magi represent the non-Jewish Gentile world recognizing and paying homage to the One True God made flesh. With the guidance from an angel, they thwart Herod's plan to destroy this rival King as they return to their land by another route.
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 3:2-5, 5-6)
, Saint Paul explains that, through the revelation of God, the Gentiles are coheirs and copartners to the Kingdom of God.
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 coopartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
It is good to reflect on the universal call of the Church and to realize that God's invitation to others can often only come through us. May we have the grace and the fortitude to defend our faith and invite others into it
- Click Here for the full scripture readings for Sunday, January 8, 2017
- Click Here to learn more about the Feast of the Epiphany