EPIPHANY OF THE LORD (SOLEMNITY) YEAR (B) 07-01-2018
Lord Jesus, I give you my mind, help me understand.
Lord Jesus, I give you my ears, help me hear your voice.
Lord Jesus, I give you my heart, help me welcome you.
Holy Spirit, rekindle in me the fire of your love. Amen.
THEME: THE GENTILES TOO CAN ALSO WITNESS THE MANIFESTATION OF THE LORD
Today, the Church celebrates the Epiphany of the Lord or we say the manifestation of the Lord to the world, we are called once more this day to discover the glory of the hidden God who has allowed himself to be seen by the light of the cosmos. A light that shown brighter than the other celestial bodies for he is the true light of the world that has come to illumine the path of men and women so that they may consistently walk on that path that leads to God- a mystery to be discovered only by a consistent closeness to him.
Today the church is calling us to set out on a deliberate journey like the men from the East to recognize this God who has descended into our human history. He has chosen to identify with us. To Recognize this God, the journey requires a consistent movement out of the self to discover this God who has allowed himself to be noticed by a star even when those he came to abandoned him to their own ways and refused to offer him a suitable place to be born. He was made welcome by animals, protected by a spider from the hand of Herod who made an attempt on his life, visited and greeted by shepherds, and adored by the wise men-men from the orient that is from the east. This signals for us the beginning of a new era-the journey of the gentiles to greet the Son of God to whom he would later send Paul to bring to them the good news.
St. Gregory Nazianzen says that at the very moment when the Magi adored Jesus, astrology came to an end, as the stars from then on traced the orbit determined by Christ.
In the ancient world, the heavenly bodies were regarded as divine powers, determining men’s fate. The planets bear the names of deities. According to the concept prevailing at the time, they somehow ruled over the world, and man had to try to appease these powers.
On entering the Gentile world, the Christian faith had to encounter once again with the question of the astral divinities. In St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians and the Colossians, Paul emphasizes that the risen Christ has conquered all the powers and forces in the heavens, and that he reigns over the entire universe. The story of the wise men’s star makes a similar point: it is not the star that determines the child’s destiny, it is the child that directs the star to arouse in the magi the homage to him as the son of God and the lord of the universe.
The discovery of this great star arouses not only honour but joy-matt 2:10. It is the joy of one whose heart has received a ray of God’s light and who can now see that his hope has been realized-the joy of one who has found what he sought, and has himself been found.
“Going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him” (Matt. 2:11). Here we encounter Mary his mother by the side of Jesus at the scene of adoration.
The wise men (magi) throw themselves onto the ground before him. This is the homage that is offered to a divine king. The gifts brought by the wise men are not practical gifts, of a kind that the holy family might have had a use for at this moment, rather they express the acknowledgment of the royal dignity of him to whom they are offered. Thus we see the child Jesus arousing adoration from men who were pagans-star gazers. This goes a long way to teach us something new that the gospel message was an inclusive package for the Jew as well as the Gentiles. No one is left out in the salvation plan of God expect he who decides to be left out. To discover this God one must set out-and such an encounter creates in the heart of the individual sincere worship for no one who encounters God remains the same.
Two of the gifts (Gold and Incense) that the Magi presented to Jesus are also mentioned in the first reading of today Is 60:6 as gifts of homage that the Gentiles will place before the God of Israel.
In the church’s tradition-with certain variations-the three gifts have been thought to represent three aspects of the mystery of Christ: the gold points to Jesus’ kingship, the incense to his Divine Sonship, the Myrrh to the mystery of his passion.
The myrrh actually appears in St. John’s Gospel after the death of Jesus: St. John tells us that Nicodemus had prepared myrrh, among other ointments, for the anointing of Jesus’ body (Jn 19:39). Through the Myrrh, then, the mystery of the Cross is once again associated with Jesus’ kingship and mysteriously proclaimed in the worship offered by the wise men.
Anointing is an attempt to resist death, which only becomes definitive with decomposition. By the time the women came to the tomb to anoint the body on Easter morning-a task that could not be carried out on the evening of the crucifixion because of the approaching feast day-Jesus had already risen. He no longer needed myrrh as a protection against death, because God’s lif itself had overcome death.
Lessons from the Epiphany
Dear friends on this day let us set out anew this year to discover our great God that we may find him and do him the honour that is his due for the reward is of immense worth.