The Epiphany of the Lord
Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come,
the glory of the Lord shines upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth,
and thick clouds cover the peoples;
but upon you the LORD shines,
and over you appears his glory.
Nations shall walk by your light,
and kings by your shining radiance.
Raise your eyes and look about;
they all gather and come to you:
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.
Then you shall be radiant at what you see,
your heart shall throb and overflow,
for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you,
the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.
Caravans of camels shall fill you,
dromedaries from Midian and Ephah;
all from Sheba shall come
bearing gold and frankincense,
and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.
Ephesians 3:2-3A, 5-6
Brothers and sisters:
You have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace
that was given to me for your benefit,
namely, that the mystery was made known to me by revelation.
It was not made known to people in other generations
as it has now been revealed
to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit:
that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body,
and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
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.”
When King Herod heard this,
he was greatly troubled,
and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people,
He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea,
for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler,
who is to shepherd my people Israel.”
Then Herod called the magi secretly
and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said,
“Go and search diligently for the child.
When you have found him, bring me word,
that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way.
For a Gentile like me, who has benefited much from Christianity – a faith that traces its lifeline and origin to the “root of the olive tree” (Romans 11:17), namely the faith of Israel - the theme of the Epiphany of the Lord is particularly overpowering and enticing: salvation, revealed and promised by God from time immemorial through Israel, God’s chosen people, has come to the Gentiles, making them “coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (Eph 3:6).
What a powerful theme this is! It simply shook me to the core of my being when I first heard about it! To St. Paul, the significance of this great mystery is shown in the fact that it “was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit” (Eph 3:5).
Even more astounding, now that this great mystery has been revealed, is the fact that so many people are still unaware of it. Christians! Those of you who claim to follow Christ and believe in this great mystery! Herein lies your responsibility: proclaim this revealed mystery to the world from the top of the roof!
Bishop Fulton Sheen famously said that those who have the blessing to encounter Christ are like the magi: when they depart from Jesus, they must take a different way. For how can anyone be the same after encountering Jesus? On this Sunday of Epiphany of the Lord, may your encounter with Christ also give you a new way of life!
Fr. Anthony Ho