Today is the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. It is the day on which the Church celebrates the manifestation of Christ to all nations, symbolized in the story of the visit of the Magi from the East. This scripture passage only occurs in Matthew’s Gospel. It is interesting to note that we really learn nothing about the Magi from the Gospel story. We do not know their home country, their status, their names, or even how many were present visiting the Christ Child and bearing gifts. However, through tradition and folklore, the Magi have been referred to as kings, probably from the reference in the First Reading from the prophet Isaiah as well as from the assigned Responsorial Psalm for Epiphany. The number three has been associated with the “kings” because of the mention of the three gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The names of Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar have been attributed to them because those names appear in a ninth century Italian manuscript. The original feast of Epiphany was January 6 and its celebration dates back to the third century. In the early Church, along with the Easter Vigil, it was the second major time during the year for the Initiation of Catechumens. Epiphany was the original Nativity Feast in the early Church. By the fourth century, in Rome, the birth of Christ came to be celebrated on December 25. As we continue to reflect upon the Solemnity of the Epiphany this coming week, let us ponder the following:
- A star led the magi to Bethlehem, to Jesus. What has led you to Jesus? In what ways do you lead others to Jesus?
- Where have you experienced “the glory of the Lord [shining] upon you” (mentioned in today’s First Reading)? How does God’s glory manifest itself in your daily life?
Blessings on your Christmas Season!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ