The Epiphany of the Lord

Spread the light to others

The word ‘epiphany’ means to make known or to reveal or to manifest. John describes Jesus who was born in the darkness of night as “the light (that) shines in the darkness…. the true light, which enlightens everyone… (John 1:5, 9)” Today’s Feast of the Epiphany tells us that this light that has come into the world now reveals himself to the human race. The angels made known to the shepherds the joy of the birth of Jesus. In the same way, the star led these strangers, the magi, from the East and revealed the same Jesus to them. Through the birth of Jesus and today’s wonderful feast, we are the people on whom a great light has shone. And like the shepherds of Jerusalem and the magi from the East, we have come from various corners of the world to adore him. Our first reading from the Prophet Isaiah calls us to ‘Arise, shine out because our light has come, the glory of the Lord is rising in us…” These Magi were “wise men” who studied the stars and were aware of the Jewish belief that a Messiah was coming. God used what they were familiar with to call them to adore  Christ. He used a star. So, the first lesson we take from this for our own lives is that God will use what is familiar to us to call us to Himself. Look for the “star” that God is using to call you.  A second thing to note is that the Magi fell prostrate before the Christ Child. They laid their lives down before Him in complete surrender and adoration. They set a perfect example for us. If these astrologers (pagans) could come and adore Christ in such a profound way, we must do the same. Adore Him with a complete surrender of your life. Thirdly, the Magi bring gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These three gifts, presented to our Lord, show that they acknowledged this Child as the Divine King who would die to save us from sin. Gold is for a King, frankincense is a burnt offering to God, and myrrh is used for one who would die. Thus, their adoration is grounded in the truths of who this Child is. If we are to adore Christ properly, we must also honor Him in this threefold way, by giving him the best of ourselves.

Finally, the shepherds did not stay at the stable after seeing Jesus; they left glorifying and praising God. Just as the angels had proclaimed the good news to them, the shepherd in their turn shared their good news with others. In the same way, the visitors from the east, after they had given Jesus their gifts also left the stable. We can only assume, that they too told everyone what they had seen and heard in that small stable in Bethlehem. As we look upon the crib, we cannot stay there. Like the shepherds and the magi, we too are called to move away and take the light of Jesus with us. Through the quality of our daily lives and how we treat each other, we are called to make our families, homes, parish communities and the wider world a better and brighter place for all people, especially the poor and the marginalized.   

By:  Father Joseph Ayinpuusa