First reading: Isa. 60:1–6
Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the LORD shines, and over you appears his glory. Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance. Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you: your sons come from afar, and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.
Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow, for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you. Caravans of camels shall fill you, dromedaries from Midian and Ephah; all from Sheba shall come bearing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.
Second reading: Eph. 3:2–3a,5–6
Brothers and sisters: You have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for your benefit, namely, that the mystery was made known to me by revelation. It was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
Gospel: Mt. 2:1–12
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.” Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.” After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.
In other words Fr. Abs Borja, SVD (Jerusalem)
“The Epiphany is the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, Son of God, and Savior of the world. The great feast of Epiphany celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the wise men (magi) form the East, together with his baptism in the Jordan and the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee” (CCC, no. 528). The visit of the magi is one aspect of the Epiphany.
Looking heavenward. The magi’s journey toward Jesus was prompted by an experience while observing the night sky: “We saw his star at its rising.” They perceived the sign and acted unhesitatingly. Some five hundred years earlier, Isaiah had prophesied to Jerusalem: “Upon you the Lord will dawn, and over you his glory will be seen” (Isa. 60:2). The magi might have known this prophecy.
Moving forward. Despite the disappearance of the star, they never gave up but continued to persevere until they reached Jerusalem. The good news that the magi told the city leaders about the newborn King revealed the true state of their hearts. The powerful Herod became troubled and felt threatened by the powerless Child. The chief priests and scripture experts seemed indifferent at the birth of the long-awaited Messiah, the ruler who will shepherd Israel.
The Jewish Scripture, read and consulted, served like a compass that pointed to the magi where to find the Messiah. After they left the distressed Herod who wanted to kill the Child, the star they saw at its rising appeared again and it moved and guided them. When they saw it stopped, they were overjoyed for they finally located the one they had come to adore. The magi saw the Child with Mary and, in humility, the Gentiles worshipped the newborn King of the Jews, the Son of God made flesh.
Their encounter with the Savior of the world introduced them to a new path instead of returning to the former way. While the star and the Scripture guided them to the Savior (Star➛Scripture➛Savior), their journey was rooted in their awareness of the sign, openness to God’s invitation, and positive response to God’s manifestation.
On this Solemnity of the Epiphany, I remember with gratitude the birthday of my beloved father Isidro (I hope and pray that he is now joyfully contemplating the glorious face of God)—one of the stars that guided me to Christ. I was about five years old when my parents bought me a book series entitled My Bible Friends that introduced me to Biblical stories and instilled my awareness of God. That marked the beginning of my “Star-Scripture-Savior” journey. How is your journey of faith?