‘And going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and falling to their knees they did him homage. Then opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.’ – Mt 2:11
EpiphanyToday, the Catholic Church celebrates the epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ. The word “Epiphany” means ‘manifestation’ or ‘revelation’, to reveal oneself. This is the celebration of the reality that Christ has been revealed to the whole world. The Jews believed that God has chosen Israel for himself and allowed the (pagan) nations to have their individual gods (Deut 7:6). They believed that God is their personal property, not to be shared with anyone else. But Christ made it clear, as he would later on in his ministry that He has entered into the world to redeem everyone. This is why he took on our human nature. It is our human nature that binds us together as human beings. Not our familial ties, our political opinions, our religious affiliations, our social status, our racial discrepancies or our emotional and sexual inclinations. We are first of all human beings before anything else. And Jesus has come to heal our human nature. Jesus is indeed for everybody. The shocking truth is that while Jesus has come for all of us, only wise people still seek Him.
The Wise Still SeekThe wise men in the Gospel of today lived in a time much like ours, there was chaos and insecurity. The world was in disorder, there was no agreement on anything except for personal security, greed and lust. Despite the growing godlessness, these men were sure that God exists and that He is just and gentle. Other than this they knew of prophecies and promises like the one in our first reading of a King who would restore order to the world, acting in God’s name. But they didn’t find this newborn king in a palace. They found him in a common house. This was the beginning of their interior journey. What they saw changed their ideas about power, about God and about human beings. This also meant they had to change themselves.
Not ExpectedGod is not in competition with earthly powers. Unlike the noisy and ostentatious lifestyle of politicians and celebrities which most of us aspire to, God offers us the defenceless power of love which succumbs to death on the Cross. Yet it is the same love which forms the backbone of our relationship with one another, opposes injustice and ushers in the Kingdom of God: “Love your neighbour as yourself”.
Follow and LearnThe wise men had come to place themselves at the service of this King, to model their kingship on his. This is the meaning of their homage or adoration. In doing him homage, they offered gifts. They offered gold (for royalty), frankincense (for his divinity) and myrrh (for his death and burial). These are gifts offered to a King held to be divine. Adoration involves giving. They recognised the child as their King and they placed their own power and potential at his disposal. This is what wise people do; lay your gifts at the service of the King. By serving and following our King, together with him we serve the cause of good and the cause of justice in the world. Many today claim to serve God but hate their brothers and sisters. Wherever we see hatred, greed, selfishness, a failed state or country, poor social amenities, people have stopped serving God and only serve themselves. To be truly wise, we ought to desire, pursue and work for truth, justice, goodness, forgiveness and mercy. Follow Jesus. Jesus is for everyone.
PrayerLord, I humbly prostrate at your feet. Open my heart to worship you in spirit and truth. Open my hands to use my talents and treasure to serve others.
Today’s ReadingsIsa 60:1-6; Ps 72:1-2,7-8,10-13; Eph 3:2-6; Mt 2:1-12
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