Homily for the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord - Year C - Mt. 2:1-12


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, « Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him. »


"When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, « In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet: 'And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel.' (Micah 5:1) » Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared; and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, « Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him bring me word, that I too may come and worship him. »


"When they had heard the king they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way."




Homily:


"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, « Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him. »"


The feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, which we are celebrating today, prolongs the Christmas feast. In the Orient, this feast is actually more important than the one of the Birth of our Savior. Indeed, it is about a celebration which commemorates the Birth of Christ in the splendor of his royal glory, in the light of all nations represented here by the wise men who have come from the Orient. If the Christmas feast recalls the poverty of the stall of Bethlehem, the one of Epiphany makes us think of this demonstration of the glory of God that took place at the time of this sovereign homage given back to Jesus by these princes who came from a faraway country.


"When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, « In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet: 'And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel.' (Micah 5:1). »"


Definitely, the coming of Messiah had been announced by the Prophets: Micah had spoken in the name of the Lord, and he had predicted the greatness of the city of Bethlehem, in the land of Judah. The chief priests and the scribes had carefully preserved all these oracles of the Prophets, but did they believe in them? Probably a few, but not a large number of them! The doctors of the Law were not present in Bethlehem at the time of the Birth of the Son of God! No doubt, had they believed in the words of the Prophets, God would undoubtedly have sent his angels to warn them and to invite them to kneel on the feet of the Lord at the time of his coming into the world. If God had warned some pagans by the means of a star, would he have hesitated to send his angels next to some of his own people? "He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God." (John 1:11-12)


"When they had heard the king they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh."


Behold the sign of God! The wise men were full of joy on the apparition of the star! They followed this star in joy, because this sign came from God, and it conducted them to God! There is great joy, and no sadness! They were in joy, because they came to give all to the King of the Kings and the Lord of the Lords who called them to him! The presents brought by the wise men were not only some gifts. They were much more, outer expressions their inner hearts, expressing their liberty! Offering these precious grants to Jesus, they wanted to devote their whole being to this Person, the Lord of the universe! Because the wise men knew who this blessed Child was: the star they saw in the Orient made this clear to them!


This is also what we are invited to accomplish today. At the time of the Eucharist, the Church offers some bread and wine; but she wants also offer all of herself to the Lord Jesus who is going to be sacramentally present under the appearances of this same bread and wine. Because of the bread and the wine served in the Eucharistic sacrifice of Christ, then the Church has also to serve as a spiritual sacrifice for Christ. The Church also offers herself like Jesus, the Christ, identifying with her Christ, the Priest and Victim. Therefore, let us receive Jesus in this spirit of offering. Let us unite ourselves to the Eucharist in order to offer our whole being to the service of the Lord, through Mary, his Mother and our Mother!



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