January 8: The Day of the Lord (Epiphany)

What can we learn from the Magi?

“At the feast of Epiphany, we place the statues of the Three Kings in the Christmas crèche. Observing the star, those wise men from the East set out for Bethlehem, in order to find Jesus and to offer Him their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. These costly gifts have an allegorical meaning: gold honors Jesus’ kingship, incense His divinity, myrrh His sacred humanity that was to experience death and burial.

As we contemplate the Nativity scene, we are called to reflect on the responsibility of every Christian to spread the Gospel. Each of us is called to bear glad tidings to all, testifying by our practical works of mercy to the joy of knowing Jesus and His love.

The Magi teach us that people can come to Christ by a very long route. Men of wealth, sages from afar, thirsting for the infinite, they set out on the long and perilous journey that would lead them to Bethlehem (Matthew 2, 1-12). Great joy comes over them in the presence of the Infant King. They are not scandalized by the poor surroundings, but immediately fall to their knees to worship Him. Kneeling before Him, they understand that the God who, with sovereign wisdom, guides the course of the stars also guides the course of history, casting down the mighty and raising up the lowly. Upon their return home, they would certainly have told others of this amazing encounter with the Messiah, thus initiating the spread of the Gospel among the nations.” (Epiphany reflection by Pope Francis, in his Apostolic Letter Admirabile Signum, on the meaning and importance of the Nativity scene)


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