Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle C

Feast of the Epiphany

ghirlandaio magi.jpg

 Matt. 2.1-12

“Some wise men came from the east … “

The word ‘epiphany’ means a showing forth, a revealing, a manifestation. Today’s feast celebrates the manifestation of the divine nature of Jesus to the Gentiles as represented by the wise men from the east – in other words non-Jews. Thus Jesus is presented as the Saviour of all nations and not just of his own people Israel. Jesus has come for the salvation of everyone; there is equal opportunity for grace for people of all races, colours and culture and times. The first lesson, then, of this feast is that before God all people are equal, all are loved, all are called to be his children.

“Going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary”. Their journey has brought them not just to a place or a building but to a person before whom they fall to their knees in homage. Today we are invited to join the magi in accepting the revelation of Christ as our Lord and Saviour, in expressing our trust in his power to raise us up to new life, in a simple spirit of homage and adoration.

“Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh”, symbolic gifts relating to the nature and mission of this heavenly child, but symbolising the even more important gift of their hearts. They have not undertaken this long journey simply to hand on some material goods. With them we, too, are invited to open our hearts and the whole of our lives to Christ. Our simple gifts of bread and wine symbolise the gift of self, to be consecrated, to become the Body of Christ, to be in communion with Christ.

“They returned to their own country by a different way”. Something has changed; something is different. For the magi it was through a warning by an angel. For us it is through the invitation of Christ himself: ‘follow me’. Our acceptance of Christ calls us to journey through life in a ‘different way’ for it is no longer just I who live, but Christ who lives in me.