Marble Surface

January 3, 2021

Epiphany of the Lord B

 

Isaiah 60:1-6; Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6; Matthew 2:1-12

 

People all over the world celebrate the Christmas season. But different cultures do this in their own way. When I was a first-year student in Rome, in 1978, I was surprised to learn that families in Italy, and indeed in much of Europe, did not exchange gifts on Christmas day. They waited until the feast of the Epiphany, mirroring the giving of gifts by the Magi to the Christ Child. What a beautiful tradition this is. It consciously connects the tradition of Christmas presents with the source of all gifts: Jesus. Today’s feast reminds us that everything we have and are belong to God, but that He asks us to give of ourselves freely. However, there is even more. The word “Epiphany” itself tells us something important about this feast. It is not just that the Magi came to Jesus and offered Him their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. It is the astonishing fact that God was now revealing Himself [which is what “Epiphany” means] in a new and extraordinary way. Jesus is the Epiphany of God. He is the Revelation of the Father’s love for us. He is the answer to all the hopes and dreams of believers. He IS love. And love, by its very nature, wants to share itself with others. This is why we give gifts at Christmas…and birthdays…and graduations…and anniversaries…to share ourselves with those we love. In doing so, we share in something else also: both the journey and gifts of the Magi and the gifts of the ministry of Jesus. No wonder this feast is so important all over the world! Happy Epiphany Everyone!