4 January: The Epiphany of the Lord Year B
Readings: Isaiah 60:1-6; Ephesians 3:2-3,5-6; Matthew 2:1-12
This Sunday we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord. The word ‘epiphany’ comes from the Greek language “epiphaneia’ which means ‘appearance’, ‘showing forth’ or ‘manifestation’. So we could say that we celebrate the manifestation of the Lord. The feast of the Epiphany originated in the third century to commemorate the first appearance of Christ (the infant King) to the entire world as Savior. The first reading from Isaiah speaks about light shining through the darkness and the clouds—a wonderful image of describing what epiphany is trying to tell us about our Lord. Our own darkness and the clouds of our lack of understanding so often make it difficult for us to recognize the presence of God, in daily life, in the Lord Jesus, in the Church or in other people. Psalm 72 focuses on the nations coming to adore the Lord. “Lord, every nation on earth will adore you” and then speaks of kings from foreign lands bringing gifts to the Lord. The Psalm in a sense introduces the Gospel of today that recounts the story of the three wise kings from the East (also called the Magi), who represent all the nations. These Magi come as seekers of the source of the light. The star is only a guide for them. On finding the source, the infant king, they are overjoyed, they confess, worship him and offer him gifts. In the preface of the Epiphany, we get a sense of the mystery we celebrate. "Today you revealed in Christ your eternal plan of salvation and showed in him as the light of all peoples". The mystery of Christ's birth, the mystery of the Incarnation, is therefore made known to all people all over the world without exception. St. Paul in the second reading speaks about the inclusive nature of salvation in God’s plan.
The central message of the Epiphany is that Jesus is revealed to us as a light to the nations. The Magi go in search of this light guided by a star until they find the source of the light in Bethlehem. With them we too seek and recognize the child who is born to be our Savior. Like them, we too pay homage to Christ and accept the light that Christ brings into our hearts. Since we are led to discover Christ, we are therefore called to go out and share with others the Good News revealed to us. Through our daily witness, in loving others, in forgiving them, in our faith and compassion, in our courage and perseverance, may we be like the star that guides them in their journey of faith, to seek and to discover Christ in their lives. The message we take home is two-fold: 1) We are invited today to recognize God's light, God's presence in our lives, and to let our hearts rejoice and throb and overflow because we know that God is with us 2) Consequently, we are called to go out and share with others the Good News of Jesus Christ revealed to us; to share the light that Christ has given us.
©2009 John M. Mbinda