SOLEMNITY OF THE EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD
(White) CYCLE C/Year II (January 3, 2016)
Is 60: 1-6/Eph 3:2, 5-6/Mt 2:1-12
The Christmas season begins not only with the birth of Jesus Christ but most especially with the visit of the shepherd to that babe in the manger. It ends today when the magi visit the King of kings in Bethlehem.
There were a lot of people with higher learning and level in the society – the rich, powerful and famous like Herod, the scribes and the Pharisees – who were not deemed worthy to represent the Israelites to their King. Look who represented the whole chosen people of Israel: the lowly, the simple, the poor who were the shepherds. On the other hand, the magi were considered to be the intelligent and intellectuals as they were experts in astronomy; they were considered as kings and so they were rich, famous and powerful. They were the ones who represented the pagans, the non-Jews, to the Son of God, not because of what they had and what they were but simply because of their humility and faith.
We do not have much knowledge about the magi except what the bible tells us that they came from the East. Perhaps they came from Syria because of their knowledge of astronomy or from Babylon because they knew magic. They might come from Arabia because of the gifts presented which could usually be found in that nation. They were assumed to be only three due to the gifts given to the messiah: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Three gifts, therefore, three givers of gifts. Their names only emerged in the sixth to eight century in the year of the Lord: Melchor, Gaspar and Balthazar.
With the encounter of Christ in the manger, they became changed: the magi, that is, priests or magicians, became worshipers of the child, the kings became the servants of the King of kings, and the wise men became the followers of the wisdom of God in that little babe in the manger. No one who encounters Christ remains the same. These magi encountered Christ and they were converted, symbolized by their going back home using different route.
The visit of the magi is the manifestation of the true and one God to the whole humanity. God has manifested himself in many ways and many times to the chosen people of God, the Israelites in the Old Testament times. Now, God manifests himself to us through the magi. The magi, thus, represent the whole humanity; they represent each of us.
Therefore, just as the magi traveled a long journey in search for the king, we, too, must be in a constant journey searching for true peace, happiness, love and freedom. Some of us look for peace, happiness and love in material things like money, power and fame. But these things are spiritual virtues which money could not afford to buy, power could not posses and fame could not attract. Others search for freedom interpreting it according to their own desire. People who do this usually end up in crisis and some of them even end their own lives.
The magi open our hearts and minds to where we can find the said spiritual values: in that little babe in the manger. Only in Jesus can our hearts find joy and love and our spirits find peace and freedom. Only by accepting Jesus Christ in our whole being and offering our whole selves to him can He posses us and change us into new persons, totally new creation, and new beings. Only He can convert us from being enemies of God to becoming children of God.