Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
Some wise men came to Jerusalem from the East. ‘Where is the Infant King of the Jews?’ they asked. ‘We saw His star as it rose and have come to do Him homage (worship).’ Matthew 2:2 JB
This week through the Liturgy of the Church and the readings at Mass we continue to live in the glory and the reality of the Epiphany. The word ‘epiphania’ is a Greek word which means to show forth and to reveal, to make known. Up until this point in the Christmas story, Jesus has only been shown to and visited by those of Jewish faith – the people of Israel. Jesus was shown to Mary and Joseph, to the shepherds and anyone who was helping the Holy Family in Bethlehem that special night. His Birth was for them, yet was not just for them, but for the whole world. Jesus was born for every nation and people, for those belonging to every tribe and language. Jesus is the light for the whole world. For all people.
The wise men who came to visit Jesus represent all of us for they were Gentiles – non-Jews. By their visit, the glory of the Lord is revealed in the humble Birth of the Son of God to them. They come to worship Him and offer Him their treasures. Costly gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. Strange gifts for a new-born baby! These gifts would have been very expensive and far out of reach for the average person living at that time to purchase.
Gold represents the fact that Jesus is a King. The King above all kings and His is a gentle rule over our hearts and minds. Frankincense represents prayer and worship of God for Jesus is the Lord and our High Priest. As our Risen, Ascended and Glorified Lord He now stands before God the Father and prays for us every moment of every day. Incense represents our sweet-smelling offerings of praise and lives offered to God. Myrrh is an expensive bitter resin and would have been used to anoint a dead person in Bible times to prepare them for burial. It represents Jesus’ suffering and Death on the Cross as the Saviour of the world. Before He was laid in the tomb after His crucifixion, Jesus’ Body was anointed by Joseph of Arimathea with Myrrh, aloes and spices.
As we begin our new calendar Year, there is a famous Christian quotation which goes something like this “Wise men still seek Him.” Do we have a star to follow? Are we searching for the Lord in our own lives? During this new Year, are we prepared to go the extra mile to find Him? Are we seeking to find His merciful and forgiving Heart? Are we prepared to give Him the costly treasures of our own lives? Our Gold – our material possessions, our money trusting Him to provide for our needs. Frankincense – our prayers, praise and adoration for He alone is worthy of all our worship. Finally, our Myrrh – our sorrows, our troubles and difficulties?
O come, let us adore Him and worship Christ the Lord!
Lord, we ask you to be;
A smooth way before us
A guiding star above us
And a watchful eye behind us
This day, this New Year, for ever. Amen.