Theme: THE REVELATION OF THE LORD AS KING, GOD, AND SUFFERING SAVIOUR TO ALL THE NATIONS
- Isaiah 60:1-6;
- Psalm 71 (72): 1-2. 7-8. 10-13. R/ cf. v. 11;
- Ephesians 3:2-3. 5-6
- Matthew 2:1-12
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, that is, the revelation of the Lord to all the nations! The Gospel today tells us that the Jews in the person of King Herod rejected Jesus, but the Gentiles in the persons of the wise men accepted Jesus! The Jews rejected Jesus because they wanted a political, nationalistic and military Messiah! But Saint Paul tells us in the letter to the Romans, Chapter 11, that at the end of time, the Jews will also accept Jesus!
The gospel tells us that the wise men worshipped Jesus and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh! The Fathers of the Church, including Saint Irenaeus (ca. 130-200), tell us that the three gifts symbolize Jesus as King (gold), God (frankincense/incense), and Suffering Savior (myrrh)! (NJB; NJBC; Lefrois; Raas) Jesus is not only King, but he is also God; he is not only God, but he is also Suffering Savior! A God who suffers and dies to save the whole world from sin and death! A God of love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation; not a God of law, justice, punishment and damnation!
The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that all the nations will come and worship him and they will bring with them the gifts and riches from all the nations! Thus we read in the first reading:
“…. the riches of the sea will flow to you; the wealth of the nations come to you; camels in throngs will cover you, and dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; everyone in Sheba will come, bringing gold and incense and singing the praise of the Lord.” (Is 60:5-6; SM)
The first reading tells us that even the Jews in exile will be brought back home by the nations! (Is 11:12; 49:18. 22-23; HCSB) Thus we read in the first reading:
“…. all are assembling and coming towards you, your sons from far away and daughters being tenderly carried.” (Is 60:4; SM)
The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that all the nations will come and worship the Lord! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:
“All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.” (Ps 71 (72): 11; SM)
The responsorial psalm tells us that all the nations worship the Lord, because the Lord gives justice to the poor, the needy and the weak; and the Lord gives peace, shalom, and salvation to all the nations!
The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The third stanza (vv. 10-11) tells us that all the nations will worship the Lord! The first (vv. 1-2), second (v. 7) and fourth (vv. 12-13) stanzas tell us that the Lord will give justice to the poor, the needy, and the weak; and the Lord will give peace, shalom, and salvation to all the nations! Thus the second stanza of the responsorial psalm:
“In his days justice shall flourish and peace till the moon fails.”! (Ps 71 (72): 7; SM)
The second reading follows the theme of the gospel. The second reading tells us “that pagans now share in 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) In “Greek” pagans are now “coheirs”, “comembers”, and “copartners/cosharers” with the Jews! (NJBC; IBC)
Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and the Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us to proclaim the Good News to all the nations, so that all the nations may believe and worship the Lord who is King, God and Suffering Savior! Amen!