When you hear the word epiphany, what do you think of? Perhaps you think of the literal meaning which is a brilliant insight or that proverbial “Aha!” moment when a new understanding comes to you. Maybe you think of three wise men and some camels from your nativity set with gold, frankincense and myrrh. This week we are celebrating the Epiphany of The Lord, and it involves all of the above.
In our first reading, the great prophet Isaiah speaks of great caravans from the East. Gentiles would come and worship the Lord. This prophecy was fulfilled with the Magi. These were a group of people most likely from Persia who had studied the scriptures and knew the Jewish prophecies of the Messiah. Remember there are over 300 of them in the Old Testament! These Magi were wealthy individuals made up of sages, philosophers and even some kings. They travelled over 1200 miles, following a star they believed announced the birth of a new king of the Jews, perhaps the long awaited Messiah. Upon reaching the house where Jesus was, they knelt down and presented Him with gold, representing His Kingship. They gave Him Frankincense, representing His Priestly office, and finally Myrrh, which was used for burial and symbolically representing the great sacrifice of the Prophets for generations. Thus, the gifts represented Jesus’ great tri-part ministry of Priest, Prophet and King. This is incredibly cool to think about! Now consider this, when we are baptized, we are baptized into this tri-fold ministry of Priest, Prophet and King as well. We are all called to participate in the life of our Lord through our baptism.
St. Paul goes further when he tells the Ephesians that generations longed to see what we have seen. For at last it has come to pass. The Messiah is Jesus! All of the prophets longed to see this. So how does it all relate to us? Most of us have bibles. Do we read His words? Do you know how many generations longed to have a copy of the scriptures? To have the words of our Lord at home? This week I challenge you to do what the Magi did and read the scriptures. Offer the gift of yourself to our Lord at Mass, re-commit to you baptismal promises, and then perhaps you too will have an Epiphany. May God richly bless you always!