Epiphany means “the showing” or the “manifestation.” On this feast day the Church remembers when the savior was revealed to the Gentile world in the coming of the magi.
What a scene they must have caused at Herod’s Palace when their caravan arrived, with all of its ceremonial pomp and armed escort – the normal entourage for journeys such as this. In speaking to Herod, they must have assumed that he, of all people, should be aware of this most important development.
The magi were not kings nor were they magicians. In the area of Persia from which they came, they were astrologers and interpreters of dreams. They looked both to the sky and to soul in order to find a revelation of God. We really don’t know how many came – two, three, twelve, or twenty. Three magi are commonly referenced due to the three gifts listed.
Through the chief priests and Scribes, it was affirmed that Sacred Scriptures indicated that Bethlehem would be to place to begin the search. He sent the magi ahead to confirm the occurrence.
In Bethlehem they did, indeed, find the Messiah and brought Him gifts that spoke prophetically of Him as priest, king, and savior.
Warned in a dream not to report to Herod, they began the journey home.
What stories they must have told upon their arrival in Persia. Vivid chronicles were certainly shared of the special star, the confusion regarding the Child in the courts of Jerusalem, and their experience of beholding the one whom they called the “Newborn King of the Jews.”
When we fast forward two millennia, we find the heart of the former Persian Empire became modern Iran.
Today we heard reports that another group of visitors from the East want to head to Holy Land. Not following a star, they are following the traces of rocket fire between Hamas and Israel. Their desire is to become suicide bombers, bringing different gifts – explosives, in fact – and dedicated to eradicating the Jews.
How we need to make Jesus known today! In a time of chaos, we need Christ. He alone was the one who came to bring hope and healing to a war-torn world.
Today, God is using a different means of communication. Rather than a star in the sky, he has set His Church on earth as the light of Christ. We are the means of illumination, through which the world will know that a Savior has come.
Our witness and our wonder regarding Jesus Christ are best seen as we live faithfully each day to His glory. This is a time to pray… to seek Him daily for our needs and the needs of others. This is a time for Sacraments and Scripture, that we may fully take in the grace and gifts that He has given us. This is also a time for witness, in which we confidently give others a reason for the hope that lies within.
Through our lives, transformed by His grace, infused by His love, and informed by His Word, we can make Him known to those around.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
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