Epiphany of Our Lord C Mt 2.1-12
Feast of the Epiphany – Three Kings (G+M+B)
God makes Himself known to us (Mt 2:1-12)
It is not enough that only God makes Himself known to us, but we are also to discover God.
Those who wonder about the content of today’s feast need only to take more notice of its title that Jesus, our Savior, is gradually revealing Himself to people to draw us to Himself. That it is not so easy on our part, the story tells us:
Each is speaking a different language, a group of people argued about what language God was saying. Of course, everyone claimed that it was his language because they had always talked to God only in their language. Then a little boy came up to them and said: “God does not speak, he is silent, his works speak of him…”
St. Jerome said: “He who does not know the Scriptures does not know Christ.”
The wise men from the East asked: “Where is the newborn king? We saw his star in the east and came to worship him.” (Mt. 2:2).
Only the Evangelist St. Matthew describes the event we commemorate today. He wrote his Gospel for Palestinian Christians, for Jews who had embraced Christianity. The Evangelist also addresses the problem that troubled the early Christians, why the Jews did not accept Jesus as the Messiah. He does this with the intention that it was not the early priests or even the nation’s leaders, but the wise men from the East who sought the Child, God, Jesus Christ. We don’t know if there were three. The Gospel says they were wise men, learned especially in astronomy, and, probably, they knew the books of the Jews, for they knew of the predictions that spoke of the birth of the future king. We do not know where their homeland was. We do not know their names; only tradition says Gaspar, Melichar, and Balthasar. The Gospel says that they set out to find the star that would bring them to Jerusalem. They must have been rich. The gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh, which they carried with them, were not merely symbolic, as some have attributed virtues to them: faith, hope, and love, but were expressions of appropriate royal respect.
What is to be noticed about the wise men from the East? They sought the truth. For the sake of fact, they would leave their homeland and embark on a journey into the unknown. The search for truth has always been arduous and risky. Who can find it in his strength?
The priests in Jerusalem knew about the predictions, they had seen the star, but they were afraid of Herod; they did nothing for the truth. Instead, as Jesus said of himself: “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (Jn. 14:6), these seekers say this about Jesus by their behavior.
In the Child, they recognize the One to whom the star has led them. It was not simple and easy. We know that Mary placed Jesus in a manger for the cattle. To find in the cradle in the stable the King of Kings, of whom the writings speak of long ago, and at whose birth there are also natural phenomena, does not make this condition and the place of the appearance of the Child easier, on the contrary, it makes it more difficult. Indeed this encounter gave them expiation for the time spent studying over the books, the extended travels, the search, and other difficulties. God is an excellent mystery that man will never penetrate with his reason. The Child of God, Jesus, is above all speculation.
We are asked to accept this Child as our Lord and God humbly. The event of the appearance of the Lord wants to tell us that our God is the only, living, authentic God to whom nothing and no one can be compared. Our God is only one, and there is no other God besides Him. Our God rightly demands what is due to him: reverence, love, and gratitude because he is the beginning of all things and the end of all things. Our God is the “Alpha and the Omega.” God has manifested Himself as one God in three divine persons. God the Father as Creator, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten and not made, as Redeemer and Savior. And God the Holy Spirit as the love that proceeds from the Father to the Son and from the Son to the Father. We don’t know where the wise men – the kings – from Bethlehem. We know nothing more about their life journeys. But we do know that our life does not end with death. Although we do not know the day or the hour of our death, we have revealed that judgment awaits us. We will be judged by the Son of God, to whom the Father has passed review because of his death and passion, by which he reconciled God to men. And by Jesus the Judge, we will be justly rewarded or punished. It follows, and Jesus has taught us in this, that the human soul, which the human body hides, is immortal. And the Church has been given the task of watching over the teachings of Jesus Christ. As the successor of Peter the Apostle, the Pope has the infallible duty to interpret, teach, and bind his own in matters of faith and morals. In the same way, the Church teaches that “the grace of God is necessary for salvation.”
It is the duty and task of every man to know God, to love God, and to obey God’s commands. To these values, man is to be guided, adopt, and accept them as his own. Jesus, in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, told who is entrusted and who is to obey to embrace eternal life. The same rights and duties are given to every man without distinction.
Today we also bring gifts to God. It is our own life. God does not want anything from us in a dictatorial way. He has given us a reason and free will. We recognize and can be convinced that “God is love” (1 Jn 4:16). God not only deserves our respect but rightly demands it of us.
The example of the wise men from the East also proves this. Gold, frankincense, and myrrh are equally a gift from God, which we return to Him marked by our love, faithfulness, and devotion. It would be our misfortune to hesitate with our duty, to delay it. The following example speaks to this as well:
A “shuffling” man is making his way to church, and he thinks thus, “I will not hurry. Why? After all, the bell ringing and the introduction have no meaning anyway; it’s not important at all, as the priests say.” – “Clink, clink,” he hears the bell ring, but he shuffles calmly on. A few minutes pass, he enters the church, but to his great surprise – the church is empty. He glances at his watch to see if, by any chance, it’s stopped. “No, but it’s been a good few minutes since it started. Mass should have started a long time ago,” the shuffling little man huffed to himself. He hears a voice, “Yes, Mass did indeed start five minutes ago. Jesus came at the beginning, forgave everyone’s sins at the beginning, and took them all to heaven with him.”
Do we treat Christ and our duties like a shuffling little man or wise men from the East? The true answer can help in many ways in our search for meaning and purpose in life: to discover God, find Him in ourselves, our brothers and sisters, and in signs or material things.
And this is what today’s feast of the Epiphany, or the event of the Adoration of the Magi, leads us to do.
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