And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them…
Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance. The Epiphany of the Lord is a celebration of Isaiah’s prophecy. Jesus is the Savior of all peoples. The word Epiphany means “manifestation”. Epiphany comes from the Greek words, epi phanos, to appear. Jesus manifested Himself first to the shepherds. So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that have been told them about this child. (Lk2:16-17). The Magi represent the pagan nations. The Magi followed the star, which to ancient cultures represented the birth of a new king. The star led them to Bethlehem to the newborn King of the Universe, Jesus Christ.
The Magi had come prepared with gifts. The gifts the Magi brought held deep symbolism. The ancient peoples used myrrh to prepare the dead for burial. Recall that the woman brought myrrh to the tomb of Jesus to prepare His body. Thus, myrrh represents Jesus’s humanity. Frankincense represents the divinity of Jesus. Incense was used by the ancient peoples in their worship. The fragrant aroma soared to the heavens. We use incense as well at a funeral Mass, Eucharistic Adoration and often at solemnities. Finally, gold, the king of all metals is a gift befitting a king.
We see that the Magi encountered Jesus and were changed. They came seeking an earthly ruler and left having met the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who transformed their hearts. When we encounter Jesus in the Eucharist, in Confession or any sacrament, our hearts are transformed. Strengthened by His grace, we are called into action – to bring the light of Christ to our family, friends, neighbors and coworkers.
A blessed new year to all!