Saturday, January 5, 2019

Epiphany of the Lord

Today we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord, the manifestation of Jesus as Lord and Savior to the Magi.  St. Matthew's account of the Magi has all the elements of a great story.  There is a heavenly sign, a dangerous quest, priceless gifts, a wrong turn, a nasty villain, intrigue, deceit, and, ultimately, triumph when the Magi reach their goal, the opportunity to pay homage to the child Jesus.  And just to keep the story interesting, St. Matthew ends it with a miraculous escape. 

We know this story so well.  Images of the Magi cover Christmas cards; they have their own Christmas carol, and they have a special place in our Christmas crèches. In many parts of the world, the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord is the day people exchange gifts.  For most of us, however, this feast marks the day we take down all our Christmas decorations and put them away until sometime in Advent 2019 even though for us Catholics the Christmas Season does not end until next Sunday when we commemorate the Baptism of the Lord.  We have a good excuse to enjoy our decorations for another week!  

The Solemnity of the Epiphany deserves more of our attention. It is a special day for us.  It is the day when God made clear that salvation was not just for the children of Israel, His chosen people, but for everyone in the world.  This is the day when God revealed Jesus Christ to the Gentiles (us).  This is the day when we became "coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel" (Ephesians 3:6).  .

This great Solemnity of the Epiphany is a good time for us to contemplate our own quest to find Jesus and to consider what gifts we have to offer Him. It is a day to thank God for including us in His plan for salvation. And it is a day to recognize how our lives reflect the radiant light of Christ to the world in which we live. 

God of all nations, peoples and cultures,
this is the day you have made bright
with your light and your love
destined for all.
Guide us in the new ways of your Son.
Open our eyes that we may recognize you
in all the signs that you send us.
Let your kindly light shine everywhere,
that all peoples may praise you
in their own language
and enrich your Church with their own gifts.
We ask this in the name of Jesus,
our Lord and Savior for ever.