“Justice shall flower in his days, and profound peace, till the moon be no more.”
Isaiah 60:1- 6
Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians 3:2-3a,5-6
Gospel according to Matthew 2:1-12
by Sister Dorothy Jean Beyer, OBS
Today we celebrate the wonderful and lovely Solemnity of the Epiphany. The word, epiphany, means revelation, (theophany) of God incarnate in Jesus Christ to all nations. It is sometimes referred to as Little Christmas in some traditions.
Who were the magi or wise men or kings (I would like to think that one or two of them were women!!) who came seeking the newborn King of the Jews and wanting to do him homage? Little is known about them. The Gospel says that they came from the east; possibly, they came from an area in either Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, southern Turkey, northern Syria. Their names through later tellings of the story are Melchoir from Persia, Caspar from India, and Balthazar from Arabia.
From the Gospel of Matthew, we know what kind of persons they were. They knew the writings/prophecies of the prophets. These adventuresome magi were willing to heed the prophecies about the new king and follow the star into unknown lands. They were not afraid to encounter King Herod and ask him questions. They were intuitive and smart about the intentions of King Herod concerning the child. They were humble persons who came to pay their homage and obedience to the new ruler. They were people of joy as they witnessed the star over the place where the Child Jesus was. They were generous, offering gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They paid attention to their dream, which warned them not to return to Herod. And when they departed, they went home to their country by another way. These magi were quite wise, humble, adventuresome, fearless, knowledgeable of spiritual realities, joyful when encountering the divine, generous in offering worthy gifts to a king, and creative in finding a new route home.
In the first reading from the prophet Isaiah, there is great excitement and joy in the Light and Glory of the Lord that shines upon the people of God. We are to be radiant and our hearts throbbing and overflowing, at what we have experienced, because our Light, our Savior Jesus Christ, has come. In the second reading from St. Paul to the Ephesians, we are to rejoice that the “Gentiles (that is us) are coheirs, members of the same body, and co-partners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”
This feast holds great possibilities for meditation and prayer for us today and in the coming days. Take time to reflect and pray over these beautiful readings and give thanks for the great mystery of the Incarnation and our participation in it.
From the Rule of St. Benedict
“The first step of humility is unhesitating obedience, which comes naturally to those who cherish Christ above all.” Rule of Benedict 5:11-2
“We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” Matthew 2:2