THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD (A, B, C) – 6th Jan 2019

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!

Amen!

The Epiphany of The Lord (Year ABC) – 7th January 2018

Theme: THE REVELATION OF THE LORD AS KING, GOD AND SUFFERING SAVIOR TO ALL THE PAGAN NATIONS OF THE WORLD

  • Isaiah 60:1-6;
  • Psalm 71:1-2. 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! Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, that is, the revelation of the Lord as King, God and Suffering Savior to all the pagan nations of the world!

The gospel today tells us that the Jews rejected Jesus in the person of King Herod! But more importantly, the gospel today tells us that the pagans accepted Jesus in the persons of the wise men! But most importantly, the gospel today tells us of the revelation of the Lord as King, God and Suffering Savior to all the pagan nations of the world!

The gospel today tells us that some wise men came from the east to do homage to the infant king of the Jews! The wise men represent all the different nations of the world! That is why in our Christmas crib they are of different colors! But more importantly, the gospel tells us that they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh! The Fathers of the Church tell us that gold is a gift for a King, frankincense is a gift for a God, and myrrh which is used for embalmment and burial symbolizes a Suffering Savior! (NJB)

Thus the revelation of the Lord as King, God and Suffering Savior to all the pagan nations of the world!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that Jerusalem is the light of all the nations! The light of God’s glory! The glory of God shines on Jerusalem!

All the nations of the world will come to the light of Jerusalem! The light of God’s glory! The glory of God shines on Jerusalem! They will bring back the exiled Jews. They will bring all the riches of the world to Jerusalem and Jerusalem will rejoice! The nations will come to Jerusalem to praise and worship the Lord!

Note that of the many gifts; only two gifts are named, that is, gold and incense (frankincense). Gold for a King and Frankincense for a God! They have come to praise and worship the Lord as King and as God!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the response:

“All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.” (Ps 71:11; SM)

The responsorial psalm tells us about the Promised King, the Davidic King, and the Messianic King!

The responsorial psalm tells us that unlike the other kings who are corrupted, the Messianic King will bring justice and peace! Peace, shalom, salvation! Thus we read:

“In his days justice shall flourish and peace till the moon fails.” (Ps 71:7; SM)  

The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first (vv. 1-2), second (vv. 7-8) and fourth (vv. 12-13) stanzas tell us that the Messianic King will bring justice and peace! Peace, shalom, salvation! The third stanza (vv. 10-11) tells us that all the kings of the world will bring him gifts and will come and worship him, because unlike other kings who are corrupted, he will bring justice and peace! Peace, shalom, salvation!

The second reading tells us that the mystery that has been kept secret for ages has now been revealed! The mystery is that pagans now share the same inheritance as the Jews, that pagans are parts of the same body, and that the same promise is made to pagans, in Christ Jesus, through the gospel.

That is why we have to preach the gospel to the pagans, so that all pagans may share the same inheritance, so that all pagans may be parts of the same body, and so that the same promise is made to pagans in Christ Jesus through the gospel!

That is why the first duty of the Bishop is to preach the good news, the first duty of the Priest is also to preach the good news and the first duty of the Christian is also to preach the good news! That is why we end the Sunday Mass with this mission:

“Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.”!

A Blessed feast day of the “Epiphany of the Lord” to all of you! Amen!

The Epiphany of The Lord (Year A, B, C)

Theme: THE REVELATION OF THE LORD, WHO IS KING, GOD, AND SAVIOR TO ALL THE NATIONS

  •  Isaiah 60:1-6
  • Psalm 71:1-2. 7-8. 10-13. R. v. 11
  • Ephesians 3:2-3. 5-6
  • Matthew 2:1-12

Today we celebrate the solemnity of the epiphany of the Lord! The word “epiphany” is from a Greek word meaning “manifestation” or “revelation”. Today we celebrate the manifestation or revelation of the Lord not only to the Jews but also to all the nations and races of the world! The wise men in today’s gospel reading represent all the non-Jews or gentiles! Today we celebrate the revelation of a King, a God, and a Savior to all peoples! A King of kings who will govern all peoples and nations with justice and peace! A God who creates and sustains the universe out of nothing but love! A Savior who died for our sins and became the bread of eternal life for all of us!

These 3 manifestations of King, God and Savior are symbolized in the 3 gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh! The Church Fathers as early as St. Irenaeus who lived around 130 to 200 A. D. saw the gift of gold as a symbol of Christ’s kingship, frankincense (an incense used for sacrifice) as a symbol of Christ’s Divinity, and myrrh as a symbol of his death and burial! Myrrh is a spice used for embalming the dead!

In the “Prayer over the Gifts” today, we pray: “Lord, accept the offerings of your Church, not gold, frankincense and myrrh, but the sacrifice and food they symbolize: Jesus Christ, who is Lord forever and ever”!  In other words, the gold, frankincense and myrrh symbolize Jesus Christ who is sacrifice and food for us in the Eucharist!

What revelation! What manifestation! What epiphany! That is why this revelation is for all the nations of the world! That is why this revelation is for everybody! Everybody needs a God-King to govern him or her with justice and peace! Everybody needs a God who gives and sustains life! And everybody needs a God who is love, mercy and forgiveness, a God who saves!  

And that is why all the nations and peoples of the world come to him! All the peoples are attracted by his love, mercy, forgiveness, peace, joy, etc.! He seduces us by his love, attracts us by his mercy, persuades us by his forgiveness, etc.! He does not coerce us with his power, force us with his laws and regulations, and punish us with his vengeance!

Again, that is why the whole world is attracted to him, as ants are attracted to honey! A tradition has it that the wise men represent the whole world of their time, that is, the black wise man represents Africa, the yellow wise man represents Asia, and the white wise man represents Europe!

 

The first reading from the prophet Isaiah tells us that the glory of the Lord will shine over Jerusalem and all the Jews living outside Palestine after the Exile will return to Jerusalem, and more than that, the prophet Isaiah tells us that not only the Jews will return to Jerusalem, but all the nations of the earth will come to Jerusalem, attracted by the light that shines over Jerusalem! And the peoples and nations that come to Jerusalem will bring along their riches and wealth to Jerusalem to build up Jerusalem! They will praise the Lord in Jerusalem! Again, Epiphany! All the peoples, nations, and races of the world are attracted to the manifestation and revelation of the Lord in Jerusalem!

 

The responsorial psalm takes up the theme of the first reading! That is why in the response of the responsorial psalm we respond by saying “All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord”!

The responsorial psalm tells us that the messianic King, the God-King, will rule with justice! He will give justice to the poor! There will be justice and peace without end! He will rule over the whole world! All the nations of the earth will pay him tribute and bring him gifts! All the nations of the earth will prostrate before him and serve him! He shall save the poor when they cry and save the helpless! He shall have pity on the weak and save the poor!

Again, the revelation of the messianic King, who is love, mercy, justice, peace, salvation, etc., will attract all the nations of the earth to come and worship Him!

 

Again, the Church has chosen the second reading taken from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians to tell us that the revelation of the Lord is not only for the Jews but it is also for the non-Jews, that is, the gentiles and the pagans as well!

In the second reading, Paul tells us that the “mystery” revealed to him is that not only the Jews have the right to the “inheritance”, but that all humankind share in the same  “inheritance”!

This second reading is taken from the section of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, which concerns the “World Mission of the Church” (3:1-4:24)!

 

Today we celebrate the solemnity of “the Epiphany of the Lord” in the Eucharist! In the Eucharist we celebrate his death, resurrection, and ascension, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and we receive his Holy Spirit! And at the end of the Mass (The word “Mass” comes from a Latin word meaning “Mission”!) we are sent on a mission to proclaim the Good News of “the Epiphany of the Lord” to the whole wide world!

 Amen!