January 5, 2014

The Epiphany of Our Lord

This feast gives us such a deeper understanding of the word ‘Epiphany.’ This word means the sudden realization or comprehension of a much larger meaning. This is what happened to the Three Kings when they arrived to the child Jesus; how amazing it must have been for all present to see three noble Kings pay homage to a small child born in a manger.

The Three Wise men are often thought to be Persian Kings, though some believe they may have been astrologers. Although not much is known about them, traditionally, we believe their names to be Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar. There is a traditional home blessing that involves writing the letters CMB with the year before and after it (20 + C + M + B + 14) in which the ‘CMB’ stands for the names of the Wise Men.

 

The gifts they brought to the Baby Jesus are also very significant. On a practical level, the Gold could have been used to finance their trip to Egypt when they fled from King Herod, the Frankincense was known to be a treatment for arthritis and the Myrrh was used to anoint the deceased before burial. However, they also have a more symbolic meaning as well. The Gold was given to Kings, the Frankincense burned as incense before God and the Myrrh used at burial, symbolizing Christ as our King, God and Suffering Redeemer.

 

As Christians our role is to evangelize or live out the Epiphany in our everyday lives. We are to pay homage to our King who is present to us in the persons we encounter every day. We are also to bear witness to others as they observe us put God first and love others unconditionally, no matter how we have been wronged. It is a difficult and sometimes impossible task, but it is what we are called to as Christians and it is our duty to strive towards that perfect love.

 

In Pope Francis’ letter, The Joy of the Gospel, he says “Being a disciple means being constantly ready to bring the love of Jesus to others, and this can happen unexpectedly and in any place: on the street, in a city square, during work, on a journey” (127). I challenge you to make a resolution this year to live out the Gospel message, to be evangelizers and to bring Jesus’ love to all Christians. We must strive to win souls for Christ by living each day with the goal to plant the seed of a private Epiphany in the hearts of all we encounter.

 

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