We sing the hymn We Three Kings (Del Oiente Somos) with energy and wonder. Epiphany means a manifestation, God revealing Himself to all people. In the second reading, St Paul explains he, too, did receive this revelation. And in this revelation, he now rejoices and celebrates knowing Jesus. The celebration is great and wonderful. Everyone in Jerusalem is to rise up and celebrate God’s gift to us, His Son.
Before we celebrate today, let us look at the gospel again. Did you notice the gospel tells us that only the Magi arrive from the East or the Orient. It does not inform us as to how many Magi there are. Then why do we think there are three Magi. It is thought because there are three gifts. Gold, frankincense, and myrrh. But that does not mean there are only three Magi.
For example, in India they celebrate twelve Magi coming to see the Christ child. The reading does not tell us that the Magi are kings. Why do we think they are kings? Psalm 72 tells us kings from every nation will come to see the Christ child, but that does not mean the Magi in the gospel are kings.
Sometimes instead of calling them Magi we know they are called wise men. Why would we do that? Because in Daniel 7 there is a verse that says the wise men and Magi were summoned to interpret the king’s dream. Perhaps wise men and Magi had some special gifts in common.
From the word Magi we can easily see the word magic (majia). Using magic for entertainment is acceptable but to use dark magic is forbidden. I wonder what kind of magic these Magi used.
Finally, the star. So many people have used star charts to determine the position of planets and stars at the time of Jesus’ birth. They have discovered that certain planets do align to produce brighter than normal light. And this appears to be a logical explanation, except we are told in the gospel reading that star moved and positioned itself above the Christ child. That means this star must have been very close to shine its light upon the Christ child. It does not make sense that the start would be high in the heavens. How would you know what star was shining on the child?
As you can see, over time much has been added to the coming to the Magi. These additions help to make an interesting story. But is that all there is? No, there is much more. I will give you some thoughts to consider.
Did you notice the evil Herod trying to trick the Magi into disclosing the child’s location. Many people try to deny the Christ child. They will do whatever they can to destroy faith in God. Or, like many people in Jerusalem, they will just ignore all the signs of the newborn king. There are many people who go through Christmas not realizing that we are celebrating the birth of Jesus. How can that be? I do not know, just that it happens many times.
Another thought to keep in mind. The Magi did not go back to Herod. They went home by another route. You might say they are clever; I would say having seen the Christ child they were changed spiritually. How can you be the same once you have been in the presence of God?
God reveals Himself to us through the shower of graces He sends us every day. We can reject those graces as did Herod. We can ignore those graces as many people in Jerusalem did. Or we can be like the Magi, accept those graces, and have our lives changed forever. Let us prostrate ourselves before the Christ Child and do him homage. Lord, every nation will adore you.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and if the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen