Epiphany of the Lord: Isaiah 60:1-6; Ephesians 3:2-3a,5-6; Matthew 2:1-12

Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you.

‘Arise, shine; for your Light has come… the Lord will be your everlasting Light’ (Isaiah 60:1,19-20). Jesus Christ is ‘the Light of the world’. When we ‘follow Him’, we ‘will not walk in darkness’. We ‘will have the light of life’ (John 8:12). We are living in difficult times. We are surrounded by much darkness. We must not be discouraged – ‘the lamp of God has not yet gone out’ (1 Samuel 3:3).  When the darkness threatens to overcome the Light, we must take encouragement from God’s Word – ‘The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it’ (John 1:5). When the darkness seems to be everywhere, put your trust in the Lord – The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?’ – and let ‘His Word’ be ‘a lamp to your feet and a light to your path’ (Psalm 27:1; Psalm 119:105).

What we cannot do for ourselves, God does for us.

“The mystery was made known to me by revelation” (Ephesians 3:2). Jesus Christ revealed Himself to Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:3-6). It was a life-changing revelation. After this, he was no longer the persecutor. He was the preacher of Good News – “This grace was given to me – the least of all the saints! – to proclaim to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8). Paul never forgot what he had been. He calls himself “the least of all the saints.” He took no credit for what he had become. This was given to him by the “grace” of God. By grace … This was Paul’s testimony. May it also be our testimony – This is what the Lord has done for me …

Wise men point away from themselves to Jesus.

We think of Matthew 2 as ‘the story of the wise men’. It is not so much about the wise men. It is about Jesus. He is the central character. We are not told how many wise men there were. The word, ‘three’ does not appear (Matthew 2:1). We are not told their names. We are not told exactly where they came from – just, they came ‘from the East’ (Matthew 2:1). The important thing is that they made their journey. They came, seeking Jesus: ‘Where is he…?’ They came ‘to worship Him’ (Matthew 2:2). The wise men were led to Jesus not only by ‘His star’ (Matthew 2:2) but also by the Scriptures. When asked where the child was to be born, they answered by quoting from the Scriptures (Matthew 2:5-6; Micah 5:2). Wise men are still led to Christ through the Scriptures. Reading the Scriptures, we become wise for salvation as we find Christ who is our Wisdom  (2 Timothy 3:15; 1 Corinthians 1:30).

Bethlehem was a ‘little town’. Humanly speaking, it did not have any great importance. Its importance is derived from the fact that it was the birth-place of our Saviour. When we think of Bethlehem, we do not think so much of the place as the Saviour who was born there. Herod says that he wants to go to Bethlehem to worship Jesus  (Matthew 2:8). Satan was speaking through Herod. Satan has no intention of worshipping God, and neither had Herod. Satan ‘comes only to steal and kill and destroy’. Christ comes to give ‘life… to the full’  (John 10:10). As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that Herod was not a worshipper of Christ but a servant of Satan. The wise men worship Jesus, then they return to their own country. We know nothing about their return journey, their destination or their life in their own country. Their whole purpose was to point away from themselves to Jesus.

The Bible readings are taken from the Catholic Lectionary – Year A.

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