This feast celebrates the time when the wise men found the Christ child and offered him gifts in homage to his divinity. That is why we call it The Epiphany. Epiphany means the revelation of a divine being. In this case, it is the revelation of the divine being: God made human in the form of a baby.
The wise men, with their gifts and their homage, acknowledged this. Their action has become a symbol for more than just their own acknowledgment of Him. It also indicates what was to follow when all people, from all places, in all times, would do the same. In this sense, the wise men are you and me, the gentiles who no longer must stand outside the circle of the chosen people in their communion with God, but who, through the life and death of this baby, may enter in.
We also are chosen, along with the whole human race.
The Epiphany is the feast that memorializes the first understanding and acknowledgement of the divine being by people who were not Jews. It may also be the first time anyone besides probably Mary and Joseph, Simeon and Anna, looked at Him and knew Who He was.
The question for us in this fracturing world of ours is do we know Who He is? Do we acknowledge Him? Are we aware that He is the divine being Who is our salvation and our only hope?
Homage for us is not gifts of precious items. Our gift is, as the Psalmist says, “a broken and contrite heart.” Our homage is fidelity and devotion to Him in the face of a world that is increasingly hostile to those who refuse to deny him by the things they do and say.
Is Christ real to you on this Epiphany Sunday? Will you stand for Him in the months ahead?
It is The Epiphany, the twelfth and last day of Christmas in this liturgical year. Will you live for Him the rest of this Year of Faith?
Click here throughout the Year of Faith, as the Catholic Channel at Patheos.com invites Catholics of every age and stripe to share what they are gleaning and carrying away from this gift of timely focus.