The Epiphany of the Lord January 5-6, 2019
From Fr. Anthony Ligato
There is one more gift to give to Jesus, the gift of yourselves!
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
The Epiphany of the Lord is one of the great liturgical celebrations throughout the entire year. The Feast of the Epiphany is the twelfth day after Christmas and has been celebrated throughout the centuries with great festivals and gift giving in celebration of the arrival of the Magi. From the Christmas Carol, the Twelve Days of Christmas to Shakespeare’s play, Twelfth Night, The Feast of Epiphany has always been celebrated with great jubilation because the joy of the incarnation of our Savior Jesus Christ reveals God’s promise of sa vation for the ages. Therefore, we should not just celebrate Christmas as a oneday event, after all as a parishioner said to me, “We do all this work and in 30 seconds the gifts are torn open and everything is over.” But it is not, as the carol, the Twelve Days of Christmas reminds us that we should give a gift each day; we should hold the joy of Christmas in our hearts and celebrate with festive celebrations.
After all the celebration of the Epiphany of the Lord continues what was begun at Christmas in the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. In the Birth of Our Savior at Christmas we celebrate that the Word became Flesh, the Incarnation. In the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord we celebrate that the revelation of the incarnation is now spreading throughout the world. The Magi, The Three Kings or Three Wise Men, which ever name you would like to use, represents the spreading of that message to all the people of the World. This is the reason for the jubilation and festive celebrations, salvation has been revealed to the nations through a baby laying in a manger.
The gifts that the Magi bring are a further revelation of who Jesus Christ is and what he will do not only for the people of Israel but also for the people of the entire world. The gift of gold represents Jesus’ Kingship, as the son of God Jesus Christ takes back the Kingship that was rightfully his before the people of Israel took it away and gave it to an earthly king. Frankincense represents that this babe born in a manger is holy, as scripture says, “let our prayers raise as incense;” Jesus Christ will raise up our prayers in his suffering, death and resurrection. Myrrh was used to prepare the body for burial and the gift of myrrh reminds us of the great sacrifice Christ will offer for our salvation, death on the cross. Each time we join in the once and for all Holy Sacrifice of the Mass we join with the entire Church in offering ourselves as a gift to Christ. This is the source of our joy, the life, death and resurrection of our Lord. Jesus Christ and it is all foreshadowed in the gifts that are brought by the Three Kings to the babe laying in the manger. The joy of the season is expressed in our festive attitude, so if you are feeling Christmas goes by way to quickly considering all the work we all do, from shopping for gifts, decorating our homes and Churches, baking Christmas cookies and preparing the Christmas dinner, here is an opportunity to truly celebrate the season by celebrating the twelve days and especially, twelfth night and give the Babe who lays in the manager one more gift; the gift of yourself!
Yours in Christ,