The Epiphany of the Lord

Matthew 2:1-12 

The visit of the Magi

After Jesus had been born at Bethlehem in Judaea during the reign of King Herod, some wise men came to Jerusalem from the east. ‘Where is the infant king of the Jews?’ they asked. ‘We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage.’ When King Herod heard this he was perturbed, and so was the whole of Jerusalem. He called together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, and enquired of them where the Christ was to be born. ‘At Bethlehem in Judaea,’ they told him ‘for this is what the prophet wrote:

And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

you are by no means least among the leaders of Judah,

for out of you will come a leader

who will shepherd my people Israel.’

Then Herod summoned the wise men to see him privately. He asked them the exact date on which the star had appeared, and sent them on to Bethlehem. ‘Go and find out all about the child,’ he said ‘and when you have found him, let me know, so that I too may go and do him homage.’ Having listened to what the king had to say, they set out. And there in front of them was the star they had seen rising; it went forward, and halted over the place where the child was. The sight of the star filled them with delight, and going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and falling to their knees they did him homage. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. But they were warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, and returned to their own country by a different way.

Ephesians 3:2-3,5-6 

It has now been revealed that pagans share the same inheritance

You have probably heard how I have been entrusted by God with the grace he meant for you, and that it was by a revelation that I was given the knowledge of the mystery. This mystery that has now been revealed through the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets was unknown to any men in past generations; it means that pagans now share the same inheritance, that they are parts of the same body, and that the same promise has been made to them, in Jesus Christ, through the gospel.

Isaiah 60:1-6 

Above you the glory of the Lord appears

Arise, shine out, Jerusalem, for your light has come,

the glory of the Lord is rising on you,

though night still covers the earth

and darkness the peoples.

Above you the Lord now rises

and above you his glory appears.

The nations come to your light

and kings to your dawning brightness.

Lift up your eyes and look round:

all are assembling and coming towards you,

your sons from far away

and your daughters being tenderly carried.

At this sight you will grow radiant,

your heart throbbing and full;

since the riches of the sea will flow to you,

the wealth of the nations come to you;

camels in throngs will cover you,

and dromedaries of Midian and Ephah;

everyone in Sheba will come,

bringing gold and incense

and singing the praise of the Lord.

Psalm 71(72):1-2,7-8,10-13 

All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

O God, give your judgement to the king,

  to a king’s son your justice,

that he may judge your people in justice

  and your poor in right judgement.

All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

In his days justice shall flourish

  and peace till the moon fails.

He shall rule from sea to sea,

  from the Great River to earth’s bounds.

All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

The kings of Tarshish and the sea coasts

  shall pay him tribute.

The kings of Sheba and Seba

  shall bring him gifts.

Before him all kings shall fall prostrate,

  all nations shall serve him.

All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

For he shall save the poor when they cry

  and the needy who are helpless.

He will have pity on the weak

  and save the lives of the poor.

All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

528 The Epiphany is the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, Son of God and Saviour of the world. the great feast of Epiphany celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the wise men (magi) from the East, together with his baptism in the Jordan and the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee. In the magi, representatives of the neighbouring pagan religions, the Gospel sees the first-fruits of the nations, who welcome the good news of salvation through the Incarnation. the magi’s coming to Jerusalem in order to pay homage to the king of the Jews shows that they seek in Israel, in the messianic light of the star of David, the one who will be king of the nations. Their coming means that pagans can discover Jesus and worship him as Son of God and Saviour of the world only by turning towards the Jews and receiving from them the messianic promise as contained in the Old Testament. The Epiphany shows that “the full number of the nations” now takes its “place in the family of the patriarchs”, and acquires Israelitica dignitas (is made “worthy of the heritage of Israel”).

1418 Because Christ himself is present in the sacrament of the altar, he is to be honored with the worship of adoration. “To visit the Blessed Sacrament is . . . a proof of gratitude, an expression of love, and a duty of adoration toward Christ our Lord” (Paul VI, MF 66).

768 So that she can fulfill her mission, the Holy Spirit “bestows upon [the Church] varied hierarchic and charismatic gifts, and in this way directs her.” “Henceforward the Church, endowed with the gifts of her founder and faithfully observing his precepts of charity, humility and self-denial, receives the mission of proclaiming and establishing among all peoples the Kingdom of Christ and of God, and she is on earth the seed and the beginning of that kingdom.”