The Epiphany of the Lord

Posted on January 5, 2024 View all Gospel Reflection

We hear Isaiah 60:1 in our First Reading; “Your light has come,” (60:1). God has come in Christ as the light to all nations: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light” (Isa 9:2). Jesus, called the Daystar from 2 Peter 1:19, who was rejected by Israel, but accepted by the gentiles, are represented by the Magi at the Epiphany.

On a moonless night with dense cloud cover you can see nothing at all. That is disorienting. Work or relationship disappointments can be epiphanies. They become positive with meaning, once we see the hand of the Lord.

The Prophetic Past Perfect grammatical tense, “Your light has come,” is in our First Reading.  We have to expect to have epiphanies, which are appearances or manifestations of God to guide us. However, it takes the eye several minutes to adapt to the low light. On first switching off your flashlight you will see very little; so just wait.

Our problem is that sin clutters our thinking, evil works on our mind. Poor choices make us slaves to secondary causes which can be illusionary temptations. The starlight of Christ, however, shines upon the eyes of our mind as we continue our journey in God’s will.

Pope John Paul II told us, “Become who you are!”

The Value Star is a 1 through 10 tool which lists the six most important values—Health; Family; Life-Long Learning; Relationships; Creativity; Contribution/Work. E.g. someone may be a 10 on Contribution/Work, but only a 4 on Family; and a 5 on Relationships.

How are we going to navigate, following the Star wisely, to increase the 4 on our Family to, let’s say, a 6 or 7; which would be a decent and realistic improvement? What concrete actions will we take to discover the means for expressing it consciously and creatively so that like the Magi, we may be overjoyed at seeing that Value star?

The Magi had met two kings that day. King Herod, but there is no indication that they paid him homage. 2. Instead, their worship was reserved for this child. They prostrated themselves and did him homage.

The poet Rumi said, “Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”

Gold signifies that baby Jesus is a king, frankincense express that he is also divine. Myrrh, a burial ointment, expresses that this king will one day die for his people. Don’t discount the myrrh. Saint Bernard said, “I made a bouquet of myrrh made-up of the sorrows of my Savior. I placed this bouquet upon my heart, thinking of the stripes, the thorns and the nails of His Passion. I used all my mental strength to meditate on these mysteries every day.”

They saw the child with Mary, his mother. “Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.” Luke 1:28

The true light of the world is in the encounter of the Word of God in Scripture or in proclamation and a life of faith and obedience in light of that acknowledgement, or in a bit of consecrated bread: “This shall be a sign for you; you shall find the Savior Jesus in a bit of consecrated host in a gold ciborium.”

In witness of their love, consecrated religious offered him three gifts: not gold, frankincense and myrrh, but poverty, chastity and obedience.

We are called to offer him ourselves; starlight to the world to bring the peace of Christ to all. For the times we ignored the needs of others, choosing instead to remain in darkness, we ask God’s forgiveness and mercy. In Eucharistic Prayer III, we pray, May he make us an everlasting gift to you.

1.     Fr Richard Gribble, CSC; The Epiphanies of Life, The Priest, Our Sunday Visitor

2.     LB; The Epiphany of the Lord, Christian Century, Jan 2023