I love meditating on the Epiphany. Although the Liturgical feast commemorates three different manifestations of the Lord (the coming of the Magi from the East, the Baptism of the Lord, and Jesus’ miracle at Cana changing water into wine), we tend to focus on the Magi. These mysterious
visitors, who seem a little out of character with the stable at Bethlehem add a sparkle of color, an aroma of the East, a touch of “bling” to the manger scene. Their presence at the manger remind us that our God is full of surprises who delights in paradox and fulfills all prophecies to the fullest.
For the Church which believes and prays, the Wise Men from the East who, guided by the star, made their way to the manger of Bethlehem, are only the beginning of a great procession which winds throughout history. Thus the liturgy relates the journey of the Wise Men, together with the magnificent prophetic visions of Isaiah, which depict the pilgrimage of the peoples to Jerusalem. Like the shepherds, who as the first visitors to the newborn Child in the manger, embodied poor and humble souls who live in deep interior closeness to Jesus, so the men from the east embody the world of the peoples, the Church of the Gentiles - The men and women who in every age set out on the way which leads to the Child of Bethlehem, to offer him homage as the Son of God and to bow down before him.
The Church calls this feast “Epiphany”-the appearance of the Godhead. If we consider the fact that from the very beginning men and women of every place and culture, have been on the way to Christ, then we can truly say that this pilgrimage and this encounter with God in the form of a Child is an epiphany of God’s goodness and loving kindness for humanity.
The Wise Men from the East were above all, men of courage, the courage and humility born of faith. Courage was needed to grasp the meaning of the star as a sign to set out, to go forth—towards the unknown on paths filled with hidden dangers. We can imagine that their decision was met with derision. Anyone who took off on the basis of such uncertain promises, risking everything, could only
appear ridiculous. But for these men, inwardly seized by God, the way which he pointed out was more important than what other people thought. For them, seeking the truth meant more than the taunts of the world. The Wise Men followed the star, and thus came to Jesus, the great Light which enlightens everyone coming into this world. As pilgrims of faith, the Wise Men themselves became stars shining in the firmament of history and they show us the way. (Benedict XVI)
So on this feast of the Epiphany, let us pray for the courage to so live that we, too, become
stars which shine, reflecting the Son of God to the world.