There are several themes contained in the readings for the Epiphany of our Lord: the light of a star, the kingship of Christ, the fear of King Herod, the presence of Gentiles and the offering of gifts to the newborn child. The Magi were astrologers who came from Persia indicating that the birth of Christ affected the heavens that even those living far away perceived something new and different at this momentous birth. The light of the star would guide the Magi to Bethlehem. In John’s Gospel, Jesus states that he is the light of the world; a light that the darkness of sin and error cannot overcome. Scripture calls us to live in the light not in the dark where all sorts of malice occurs. As we begin this New Year we are called to recommit ourselves to being children of the light and asking Christ’s light to be our guide.
The Magi were Gentiles. Ironically Jesus was rejected by many who were Israelites but was often accepted by Gentiles. We think of the Gentile Centurion who placed his trust in the power of Jesus’ gift of healing that only a word of command, he believed, would heal his servant. The message of Christ was not bound be geography or culture or race but extended to all peoples and all the ends of the earth. The Magi offered gifts to the newborn King whose kingship would not be like that of earthly leaders but one abounding in humility and service. The gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh symbolize his true kingship, our call to worship him as one does with incense, and his future salvific suffering and death he would endure as myrrh was used to embalm the bodies of the dead. As we reflect upon the Epiphany, may we too offer the gift of our lives and talents in service to our King, always walking as children of the light.