This great feast of Epiphany is a commemoration of Christ’s manifestation to the gentiles in the person of the Magi, as well as his baptism and first miracle at Cana.
This feast day began in the East as early as the third century and soon spread to the West, where it is identified with the visit of the Magi.
In some countries, it is known as the 12th Night (after Christmas) and is the occasion for special celebrations.
In the Roman calendar, it is always Jan. 6 or the Sunday between Jan. 2 and Jan. 8. For centuries, this feast has been a holy day of obligation in many places around the world.
In our Gospel reading from Matthew 2:1-12, we encounter the visit of the Magi to our Savior Jesus. We are told these gentiles (Magi) followed the star that led them to Jesus.
Pope Leo the Great said that, “The Star beckoned the three wise men out of their distant country and led them to recognize and adore the king of heaven and earth, Christ our Savior.”
The obedience of the star calls us to imitate its humble service: to be servants, as best we can, of the grace that invites all people to find Christ.
The Christmas season will soon be over, and in our corrupted relativistic world today, where there seems to be no objective truth, we as Christians are called to be a light and example. As Christians, we can echo the prophet Isaiah’s message from our first reading: that our light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon us; the darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples, but upon us the Lord shines and over us appears his glory.
Show us the way to shine
This privilege that we have invites us to be stars that point others, gentiles, to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
We might ask ourselves what ways we can be stars. Here are a few examples:
When we stand up as Christians to defend the rights of the unborn, we are stars.
When we stand up to defend the dignity of marriage between one man and one woman, we are stars.
When we spend our precious time praying in adoration, we are stars.
When we go for confession, we are stars.
When we attend Mass every Sunday and every holy day of obligation, we are stars.
When we spend time helping in food shelves, we are stars.
The list can go on and on. All those simple acts make us stars, pointing others to Jesus, for we never know what our actions may do to draw others to him.
As Jesus revealed himself to the gentiles (Magi) on this great feast, let us follow the example of the star in leading and pointing others — gentiles — to Jesus by the way we live our lives.
Deacon Robert Abotzabire is in formation for the priesthood at the St. Paul Seminary for the Diocese of Navrongo-Bolgatanga in Ghana. His teaching parish is Holy Spirit in St. Paul.
Sunday, Jan. 8
Epiphany of the Lord
• Isaiah 60:1-6
• Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6
• Matthew 2:1-12
Read Matthew 2:1-12 and recall who and what led you to Christ and what gift you might give the newborn king.