The word Epiphany means appearance or manifestation or showing forth.  In the Western Church the feast commemorates the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles.  In the Eastern Church, this feast primarily commemorates the baptism of Christ. The angels revealed Jesus to the shepherds, and the star revealed him to the Magi. Later, God the Father revealed Jesus’ identity as His beloved Son at his baptism in the River Jordan.  In the synagogue at Nazareth, Jesus revealed himself as the promised Messiah.   These multiple revelations are all suggested by the Feast of the Epiphany.

Today’s first reading, from Isaiah, mentions non-Jews bringing gifts in homage to the God of Israel. The passage also celebrates the divine light emanating from Jerusalem.  It foresees all the nations acknowledging and enjoying that light of the God of Israel and walking by it. Today’s Psalm (72), expresses the hope that all the kings of the earth might pay homage to and serve the God of Israel and His Messiah. In the second reading, St. Paul affirms that Jesus  extended membership in his Church, making it available to all peoples. Thus, the Jews and the Gentiles have become “coheirs, members of the same body and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.” Today’s gospel teaches us how Christ enriched those who brought him their hearts. Since the Magi came with joy in their hearts to visit the Christ child, God allowed them to see wondrous things. At the same time, today’s gospel hints at different reactions to the news of Jesus’ birth, foreshadowing his passion and death, as well as the risen Jesus’ mandate to make disciples of all nations (Ma) 28:19).

Let us make sure that we join the Magi.  a) By worshipping Jesus at Mass with the gold of our love, the myrrh of our humility and the frankincense of our adoration.  Let us offer him our very selves, promising God that we will use His blessings by doing good for our fellow men.   b) By choosing a better path for our lives.  Just as the Magi chose another route to return to their home, let us choose a better way of life, abstaining from proud and impure thoughts, evil habits and addictions, selfish behavior and by actively doing acts of charity.   c)  By becoming the Star, leading others to Jesus, as the star led the
Magi to Him.   We can help to remove the darkness of evil around us by being like burning candles, radiating Jesus’ love in selfless service, unconditional forgiveness and compassionate care.

Like the Magi, let us offer Jesus our gifts on this feast of Epiphany. First, let us offer him our gifts of friendship with God and our friendship with others.  Next let us offer to Jesus the gift of reconciliation with God and others by working to
repair damaged relationships with God and in and outside our families.

Father Almighty, give us the strength to walk by your light and in your shining radiance.