THE EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD
See, Search, Submit
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
John Mgliola writes about a small boy who looked at a star and began to cry. The star said: “Boy, why are you crying?” and the boy said, “You are so far away. I will never be able to touch you.” And the star answered: “Boy, if I were not already in your heart, you would not be able to see me.”
Today we celebrate the solemnity of Epiphany, and in a most special way, the day of the three kings who brought Jesus very costly and symbolic gifts of gold, Mire, and frankincense. The term Epiphany is of Greek origin, epiphaninen. It is a verb which means “to reveal,” or “to manifest.” It celebrates the many ways through which Jesus has revealed himself to us and our world. These include the three events that bring to light his mission and divinity: the visitation of the three kings or Magi (Mtt 2, 10-12), the baptism of Jesus (Mk 1, 9-11), and the miracle at Cana (Jh 2, 1-11).So, today God reveals himself to us because he is good and loving. The light that shines forth upon us today is the light of life through which we must shine. Today, the Lord Jesus Christ further extends and expands the horizon of his love to us by not being selfish. Instead, He allows himself to illumine the darkness of our lives.
The lesson from all of these is that we must also make our lives better and allow our light shine on others. We must shine our light so that others can see with it as Christ illumines our way and life this New Year with his own light and divine presences. The gospel of today from Matthew is about the visitation of the three wise kings. They came to adore and offer gifts to the new born king, Jesus Christ. This gospel is full of many lessons for us to learn.
The first gift was the gold. Among ancient people, gold was regarded as the king of metals. It was therefore the ideal gift for a king. The magi gave Jesus all their love as pure, solid, lasting and as purified from selfish motives. They wanted to love Jesus with all their heart and mind. God symbolizes fidelity and perseverance. Their love was sincere.
The second gift was the frankincense. Ancient people used incense in their religious worship. The aroma and smoke, spiraling upward to heaven, spoke to them of gods and divinity. The gift of incense, therefore, is a symbol of the divinity of Jesus. It tells us that Jesus always had the nature of God but became like man and appeared in human likeness (Phil 2:6-9).It has been used as a symbol of adoration. The magi adored Jesus as God. Even today we use incense in the liturgy as a sign of worship. In particular, we incense the gospel in which Jesus is present, the altar representing Christ and the gifts of bread and wine on the altar which will become the Body and Blood of Christ.
The third gift was myrrh. Among ancient people, myrrh was used to prepare the dead for burial. For example, the women brought myrrh to the tomb of Jesus. Because of myrrh’s relationship with death,, it made an ideal symbol of human vulnerability. The gift of myrrh, therefore, is symbolic of the humanity of Jesus. It speaks to us of Jesus’ human vulnerability.
Like us, He experienced the whole range of human emotions: sorrow, joy, fear, frustration, loneliness, anger and others. He was like us in all things but sin.
Another lesson that we must learn from the wise kings is that we must continue to follow the star and light that Christ shows us. That is, we must not allow ourselves to be deceived or distracted on our journey by the Herods of this world. Trusting that God will not mislead us, we must continue to look out for his star and light along the part of our journey to eternity. Any time we are confused or come to the cross road of life, we must wait until the star of Christ appears to show us the way we must proceed. This is simply what is referred to as divine guidance in our lives. Like the magi, let us give our love, fidelity, perseverance and sincerity to Jesus. Let us offer Him our prayer and our human weaknesses too. But specifically, like the magi and according to Bishop Socrates Villegas in his, Love like Jesus, let us have the three S of this Feast of Epiphany.
The first S is, to See. The wise men saw the star and they followed. God tells us not to see with our physical eyes but to see with our hearts because God is in our hearts, His favorite place within us.The second S is Search. The wise men were searching for Christ. They wanted to find the meaning of life and they found it in Christ and in living for others. God wants us to live an exciting life and not just be satisfied with the monotony and the boredom of life. The last S is Submit or to obey. The wise men did this once they found Jesus and offered to Him the best of everything. Let us submit to His will and authority because His will and authority are the best for us. Let us see, search and submit and surely we will find what we have been looking for all these years. Therefore, let us ask God as the church prays: Father, guide us with your light. Help us to recognize Christ in the Eucharist and welcome him with love, for he is Lord forever and ever. Amen!
May God Bless us all