January 3, 2021 — The Epiphany of Our Lord
IS 60:1-6; PS 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13; EPH 3:2-3a, 5-6; MT 2:1-12
Today, we celebrate the Epiphany of our Lord. “Epiphany” comes from the Greek word meaning “to manifest” or “to make known.” In other words, today we celebrate the first manifestation or revelation of Jesus as the Son of God. Our readings today remind us of God’s numerous manifestations in our lives and how we are called to share these manifestations with others.
The Gospel account of the three magi traveling to meet the newborn Baby Jesus bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh is one that we know well. Yet, when we pause to reflect on this passage and unpack the richness of that moment when these men met Christ for the first time, we recognize that there is much to be said for us still today.
As today’s Gospel tells us, the magi traveled quite a distance as they followed the star, and “on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage.” Clearly these men knew that they were in the presence of their King, for one prostrates himself out of reverence and submission. They also came bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, which symbolize Christ’s kingship, divinity and humanity. These gifts make known to us Who Christ is — our Lord, our God and our Redeemer.
Christ is still manifesting Himself to us today. We enter God’s house weekly. Upon entering His house, we are in His presence. Is meeting Christ our top priority each week? When we meet Him, do we give Him homage and show reverence knowing that He is our King? Do we offer Him our gifts — our time, talent and treasure? As Christian stewards, we are called to respond to Christ’s manifestation in the Eucharist with love, reverence and gratitude.
And as Christ primarily manifests Himself in the Eucharist, He also manifests Himself in everyday moments — like a beautiful sunrise, a good conversation, a merciful spouse. He gifts us with little manifestations throughout our days and we often miss them. In order to recognize Him, we need an attitude of gratitude — a key component of a stewardship way of life.
A faithful steward not only receives Christ gratefully, but also shares His goodness responsibly. St. Paul expresses this in our Second Reading in his letter to the Ephesians, “the mystery was made known to me by revelation… the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body.” St. Paul is sharing the Good News that has been revealed to him with the Gentiles. As a Christian steward, we too are called to share what has been revealed to us. We are called to manifest Christ to others by the way we live our lives.
As we strive to become more faithful disciples of Christ, let us prepare our hearts to receive Christ’s many manifestations in our lives, both big and small, and let us be Christ to others. In other words, let us look at every moment through the lens of gratitude, and share what we receive with one another. God gifts us with countless little epiphanies! We just need a grateful disposition to receive them.