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Scripture Reflection - January 8, 2017

The Epiphany of the Lord

IS 60:1-6 PS 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13 EPH 3:2-3A, 5-6 MT 2:2 MT 2:1-12

“They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother.” (Matthew 2:10-11)

When someone says, “I’ve had an epiphany,” we know that they have had a sudden realization, an awakening, or a revelation. They have emerged from darkness into light. We think of a lightbulb turning on over our heads—or what we call an “aha” moment. It was the same for the Magi, who journeyed in the darkness, guided by a shining star and the promise it held.  But for them, the epiphany was more than just a new understanding. It was the manifestation or appearance of God. They saw the Lord in human form and understood that they beheld the Christ, the Messiah. These three men--whether kings, sages, or astronomers--were most importantly, gentiles.

The prophesy of Isaiah had come to pass. The God of the Israelites was not just for them but everyone. “Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance” (IS 60:tk). From that time forward, according to a letter from Paul to the Ephesians, the Gentiles were “coheirs, members of the same body and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (EPH 3:6).

The Magi fell to their knees in profound adoration. Further fulfilling a prophesy, they presented the newborn with precious gifts fit for a king, divinity, and a mortal man: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.“The wealth of nations shall be brought to you” (IS 60:5-6).

But in finding the newborn king, the Magi feared for his safety. It was Herod, “King of the Jews,” who had sent them and it would be Herod who would strive to eliminate his rival. “And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way” (MT 2:12).

Lord, open my eyes that I may see you, open my heart that I may feel your love, and open my arms that I may receive your grace. Let me be awakened so that I may live in your divine presence.

Today’s responsorial psalm beseeches God to endow a new leader with the qualities of fairness, justice, and compassion for the poor and marginalized. Lord, make us instruments of your peace.

Imelda Sobiloff, Associate

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