Epiphany of the Lord
On the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord we see various characters we need to look into, the magi’s gifts we have to reflect on and our relationship with the Lord of our salvation:
1. The Magi and Herod. The magi from the East, when they saw the Star of the supposedly newborn King, travelled to Jerusalem in search of Him. They left their country to seek for someone greater. They allowed themselves to be led by that Star, until its light rested on the place of the One they were looking for. In humility, they prostrated themselves before the newborn baby in whom they recognized the power, the glory and the wisdom of the new King of the Jews and all people, and they laid down their gifts.
Herod was a king who did not want any opposition to his reign. When the magi arrived looking for the new King of the Jews, he was upset and he flared up in anger, and he looked for ways to eliminate the child, even trying to show kindness to the magi to use them for his own deceptive scheme. Herod in his selfishness and arrogance had to kill babies in that region to satisfy his anger and his desire to reign hopefully without fear of an opposing power.
2. The gifts. The magi offered gold, frankincense and myrrh. It was a custom that no one could approach a king without bringing a gift. So they offered gold, a gift fit for a king. The infant Jesus was to be reign as king, though not from a temporary throne but from the cross. They gave Him frankincense, a gift for a priest, to offer the prayers of the people. The baby Jesus was to be the Supreme High Priest, the mediator between God and His people. They offered him myrrh, a gift to someone who was to die, for his embalmment. The new born Jesus was to suffer and die for the salvation of all. Certainly the magi’s gifts were inspired by the One who led them to the Child Jesus through the Star. He was their Star.
3. Our relationship with Jesus. Who are we or what are we in relation to the Child Jesus? Are we the magi or Herod? When our decisions are opposed or our desires questioned, do we, like Herod, flare up and display our seeming superiority over others? Do we seek advice and help only from people who are on our side to reinforce our ego? Do we use other people to lead them into our deceptive schemes so that we can enrich ourselves and remain unopposed, thus remain on the throne of our selfishness, caprice and arrogance?
The magi did not stop looking for the Child even when the Star seemed to disappear in the sky. They looked for other ways; and they were led to Herod. They remained composed and eager. They listened to Herod; but obeyed the greater inner voice in their hearts, through a dream, that they should not take the same road back to Herod. Can we keep our calm when things don’t turn out the way we want them to? Can we calm our hearts so that we can listen to the inner voice talking to us for formed decisions? In our desire to be in control, many times we just keep going without seeking the guidance of the Supreme Being in our hearts. We tend to seek only the things that we want because they are attractive. So, how attractive is Jesus to us?
We all have the gold, the frankincense and the myrrh that we can offer to Jesus, in front of Mary and Joseph. To Jesus we can offer our talents and capabilities, the gold of our life. We can offer our adoration and worship of Him and prayers for others and for ourselves, the frankincense of our life. To our King we can offer our sorrows and the suffering of the world, the myrrh of our life. In humility, we can offer to God all our sins and the sins of the world through the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist, the King’s gift of healing and life to us, so that He can make us worthy of Him as our King.
Let us be a star that leads others to Jesus. We know that that star was always there. It never left the sky. We can be sure that our Star, Jesus, is always present. He never leaves us. Only when we become selfish and set our hearts on worldly things do we turn our backs on Him, so His light cannot shine on us. With Jesus, and through the intercession of Mary and Joseph, let us lead others to Him and allow them to offer the gift of themselves to Jesus.