Feast of the Epiphany
The word epiphany comes from the Greek meaning “to shine light upon, or, to make visible”. The feast of the Epiphany commemorates the revelation of Christ to all nations. It teaches that Christianity is universal not in the sense that all people must become Christian, but that Christianity expresses the truth of the whole of human experience. Epiphany is God shining through our humanity. The difference between the Christian faith and other faiths is not that we possess the truth of God and they do not, but that the light of divinity shines through God’s unique revelation in Christ and can be seen and accepted by others. Representing wisdom, the magi or wise men of the gospel story come to Bethlehem to see the dawn of a new era.
Come Spirit of Wisdom.
Read about religions other than your own and find the similarities among them rather than the different expressions of those beliefs. Try to understand the ways in which people express their search for God.
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod,
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”
Matthew 2: 1 -12
On the feast of the Epiphany, as we recall Jesus’ manifestation to humanity in the face of a Child, may we sense the Magi at our side, as wise companions on the way. Their example helps us to lift our gaze towards the star and to follow the great desires of our heart. They teach us not to be content with a life of mediocrity, of “playing it safe”, but to let ourselves be attracted always by what is good, true and beautiful… by God, who is all of this, and so much more! And they teach us not to be deceived by appearances, by what the world considers great, wise and powerful. We must not stop at that.
We are like the three Wise Men who journeyed to Jesus. Now, like those Wise Men, we return to the world from which we came, to the everyday life where we will witness to what we have seen.
John Paul II
Epiphany not only ends Christmas, it also fulfills it by celebrating the revelation of the Christ to the whole world. The light of the Epiphany illuminates the church’s year as it illuminates the human race from whom the kings came.
Phyllis A. Tickle, What the Heart Already Knows
Without the quest, there can be no epiphany.
Constantine E. Scaros
Most of us keep our personal experiences of the Holy to ourselves. Who would believe it? And who would really understand? The irony is that epiphanies are made for sharing, even as they are impossible to communicate fully.…Unlike the poor shepherds, the Magi had to travel a long road; they had to face adversity to reach their goal. It was anything but a romantic, sentimental pilgrimage that we often see in our manger scenes! The experience of the magi reminds us that all who make the tedious journey to the truth will finally encounter it and be changed in the process. They can never go back to a ‘business as usual’ way of life. When we meet Christ and see who he really is, we will never be the same – and only then can we hope to begin to share in his mission.…
Rev. Thomas Rosica, CBS
Long after the angels disappear into the heavens, the shepherds return to their flocks, the magi journey home and the great star sets, Jesus remains.
Religion without epiphanies becomes digging in your heels; religion with epiphanies becomes living on your heels, ready to go wherever God manifests. One wonders if the three kings ever went back home at all. Home base had been taken from them.
Instructions for living a life.
Tell about it.