The Epiphany of The Lord

January 7, 2018 / By: Michael Naughton

Is 60:1-6/Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6/Mt 2:1-12

“I never tire of repeating those words of Benedict XVI which take us to the very heart of the Gospel: ‘Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction’” (Pope Francis).

As seekers, the three Magi are not sure where to go, until they engage the Jews, the chosen ones, who point them to a specific place—Bethlehem.  There, in that little town, the Magi have an epiphany, an encounter not with a theory or an ethic but with a Person who gives their lives a new horizon and a decisive direction.

While the Magi came as seekers, they leave as believers. As astrologers whose stargazing would seemingly lead them to a distant abstract theory of the cosmos, some vague longing, some universal ethic, they instead encounter a Child in poverty, with farm animals, ordinary shepherds and a mother and a father. What they find in the stable surprises them. They don’t argue, debate or question, but they behold in awe and they submit and prostrate themselves to this Word made Flesh.

These Magi go home by another way. As James Taylor asks “Maybe me and you can be wise guys, too, and go home by another way.” And so we pray oh Lord that on this feast of the Epiphany where you call us to a deeper personal relationship with you, we may open up our treasures, our gifts our time to serve You and all your people. “So guide us in the work we do that we may do it not for the self alone, but for the common good” (Episcopal Book of Common Prayer).

Dr. Michael Naughton
Director, Center for Catholic Studies