Theme: EPIPHANY: THE MANIFESTATION OF THE LORD TO ALL THE NATIONS
- Isaiah 60:1-6;
- Psalm 71 (72):1-2. 7-8. 10-13. R/ v. 11;
- Ephesians 3:2-3. 5-6
- Matthew 2:1-12.
A Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you! We are still in the season of Christmas! Christmas season will end only next Sunday with the feast of the Baptism of the Lord! Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, that is, the manifestation of the Lord to all the nations!
The gospel today tells us that some wise men came from the East to worship Jesus. The wise men represent the nations of the world. That is why in our Christmas crib they are of different colors. The wise men brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the child Jesus.
The Fathers of the Church, such as Irenaeus (ca. 130-200), see in these gifts the symbols of Jesus’ kingship (gold), divinity (frankincense) and passion (myrrh). That is, the gold symbolizes Jesus as king, the frankincense which is used for worship symbolizes Jesus as God, and the myrrh which is used for embalmment and burial symbolizes Jesus as Suffering-Messiah!
Indeed the Star of Bethlehem which led the wise men to Jesus symbolizes Jesus as King, God and Messiah! Thus we read in the prophecy of the famous pagan prophet Balaam: “A star is emerging from Jacob”! (Nb 24:17; NJBf)
The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that all the nations of the world will come and worship the Lord and they will bring with them the riches of the world, including gold and frankincense! And even the exiled Jews will return to Jerusalem!
This is because the glory of the Lord will rise above Jerusalem and all the nations will come to the light of his glory! Thus we read in the first reading:
“Arise, shine out Jerusalem, for your light has come, the glory of the Lord is rising on you, though night still covers the earth and darkness the peoples. Above you the Lord now rises and above you his glory appears. The nations come to your light and kings to your dawning brightness.” (Is 60:1-3; SM)
The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the response:
“All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.” (Ps 71 (72): 11; SM)
The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first, second and fourth stanzas tell us that the Messianic King will bring justice and peace, especially to the poor!
There can be no peace without justice! And peace is not just an absence of war, but Peace is Shalom, Salvation!
The third stanza tells us that all the nations of the world will worship him! Thus the third stanza from which the response is taken:
“The kings of Tarshish and the sea coasts shall pay him tribute. The kings of Sheba and Seba shall bring him gifts. Before him all kings shall fall prostrate, all nations shall serve him.” (Ps 71 (72): 10-11; SM)
The second reading also follows the theme of Epiphany, that is, manifestation or revelation. The second reading tells us that the mystery that had been hidden in the past has now been revealed! And the revelation is that pagans are co-heirs, co-members and co-sharers with the Jews (IBC), that is,
“Pagans now share the same inheritance, that they are parts of the same body, and that the same promise has been made to them, in Christ Jesus, through the gospel.” (Ep 3:6; SM)
Let us renew our faith, share our faith and proclaim our faith to the whole world! Let us use the Bible, the Sunday Mass Readings and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) to renew our faith, share our faith and proclaim our faith in our families, in our communities, in our churches, in our schools, in our workplaces, and in the internet! A happy and joyful Epiphany to all of you!