Epiphany comes from the Greek word epiphaneia which means manifestation, revelation, appearance, showing. The mystery hidden and kept secret for long ages is made known to the world in the birth of Jesus. It is the saving plan of God to restore all things to Him and to bring healing and transformation through the death and resurrection of Jesus. He is revealed as the Lord of all nations. Epiphany therefore is the birth of the universal Church. God wants all people to be saved. The prophet Isaiah reveals that the glory of God shines upon Jerusalem, the holy city. The Church is the new Jerusalem because she is the mystical Body of Christ and He is the head. Jesus is the glory of God and He dwells in the Church. God resides in a believing and receptive heart. St. Paul reveals that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body and copartners in the promise in Christ through the gospel. There is no more Gentile or Jew, slave or free, male or female. In God’s eyes all are equal. For God, there are no Foreigners and outsiders. In Christ, all barriers will fall. Jesus destroys all divisions and separations. God is beyond race, color, nationality, gender and religion. The Church is tasked to bring people back to God. That is why, the story of the Magi from the East reveals God’s initiative to reveal Christ to the whole world. God is reaching out to the world because only God has the power to save us and to bring wholeness to the world that is so much fragmented, divided, broken and wounded. The Magi are scholars associated with the interpretation of dreams, astrology and magic. They left everything and took the risk to follow the star. They gave everything and showed openness, receptivity and persevered in their search for the new born King of the Jews. They paid homage to the King and offered gold, frankincense and myrrh. Gold represents the kingship of Jesus. Frankincense represents His divine nature and myrrh represents His redemptive suffering and death. Thus, gold, frankincense and myrrh represent virtue, prayer and suffering. After the Magi saw and worshipped the Child Jesus, they were instructed in a dream not to return to Herod but to depart for their country by another way. This means that when we encounter the Lord, our life is never the same again. Therefore, epiphany is God’s self-revelation to fulfill His promise of Salvation to all people. We are called to imitate the example of the Magi in their courage to leave everything behind and allow God to transform us so that we make this God shine in our lives.
Happy New Year!