Mission Society of the Philippines

Homilies

FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD

Mt 2:1-12

 

IN SOME COUNTRIES there are people who go to fortune-tellers in order to know what their future would be.  By merely looking at the stars, fortune tellers could foretell future events.  Future events may be good or bad, depending on the arrangement of the stars.  Sad to say, some Christians would believe in what the fortune-tellers say and they surrender their own fate to them.

Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. Epiphany means manifestation. What the Church celebrates today is the manifestation of our Lord to the whole world. After being made known to the shepherds of Bethlehem, He is revealed to the Magi who have come from the East to adore Him.

In the gospel passage, we hear that the “star” has led the Magi or wise men to the newborn “king of the Jews”.  The Magi in the gospel are associated with interpretation of dreams, astrology and magic.  They decided to set on a journey in order to pay homage to the newborn king of the Jews.

Firstly, being astrologers, the Magi must have observed this star as extraordinary among the celestial bodies.  Perhaps they were struck by its brightness, size, or its position.  They said to Herod, ‘We saw his star at its rising.’  The wise men believe that the star reveals important information about the Child Jesus.  The star was already pointing to the one who will shepherd Israel, to a leader, as prophesied in the Old Testament.  That particular star reveals the true nature of Jesus.  The star that the wise men saw serves God’s purpose and leads them to Jesus.  What happens here is that there is no more prediction of the future. The star points to the present moment. The star has pointed to Jesus who is the way, the truth, and the life.

Secondly, the Magi “were overjoyed at seeing the star”. Stars, together with the moon, are beautiful to behold at night. We can see their grandeur, as well as the marvels of God for creating these heavenly bodies. We always enjoy watching stars at night. The gospel passage stresses on the reaction of the wise men upon seeing this star. They were overjoyed. In the same way, we were also glad and overjoyed during the celebration of Christmas. We shall keep that joy in us. Even when the Christmas is over, we will remain joyful because we have Jesus in our life. Jesus who is the Light or Star, is the source of joy in our life.

Thirdly, “the Magi prostrated themselves and did him homage.” Afterwards, they opened their treasures and offered Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. More importantly, the gifts. The Christian interpretation of these gifts has been clear. Gold symbolizes the kingship of Jesus; frankincense points to Jesus as God and that He is to be worshipped; and myrrh shows the death of Jesus. Thus, Jesus is King and God. But when Jesus mounts his throne at Calvary, the myrrh will soon be needed to anoint his dead body.

The journey of the Magi can also be compared to our journey as Church. Vatican II has taught us that the Church is a ‘pilgrim Church’. The Church is on a journey towards the Fatherland, our homeland. Like the wise men, we continue our journey full of hope in Jesus who saves. As the wise men were guided by a star, so, our journey is guided by Christ. If our journey is without Christ, then it could be meaningless.

Nowadays, long-distance trips are possible with the aid of the GPS and other navigation systems. Without these aids, a journey can be stressful, and for some, can be impossible. But with the GPS as guide, there is a feeling to comfort and certainty that one would arrive at his or her destination.

Thus, in our journey towards the Father’s home, let’s take Jesus as our Guide. Let us always turn our gaze on the Star or Light who is Jesus. Jesus says that He is the Way, and therefore, we shall follow that Way. Through Him we would arrive at the home of the Father safely, certainly, and securely. AMEN.


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