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January 4, 2024



The Epiphany of the Lord


Take a moment to still yourself. Take a deep breath and ask God for a renewed sense of presence with you in this moment.

Opening Prayer

O God, who on this day revealed your Only Begotten Son to the nations by the guidance of a star, grant in your mercy that we, who know you already by faith, may be brought to behold the beauty of your sublime glory. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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First ReadingIs 60:1-6
Psalm 72 Listen here
Second ReadingEph 3:2-3a, 5-6


Matthew 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.

Epiphany, derived from the Greek word “epiphanos,” denotes the manifestation or appearance of Jesus to the Gentiles. Initially signifying a king’s visit to his provinces, Epiphany holds historical roots predating Christmas, originating in the East during the late second century. In Italy and Spain, the customary Christmas gifts are exchanged on Epiphany, reflecting varied cultural beliefs. The Western Church commemorates the Magi’s arrival as the initial revelation of Christ to the Gentiles, while the Eastern Church also observes the Baptism of Christ, expanding the celebration’s significance.

A survey among school children revealed their enjoyment of Harry Potter novels and movies due to the element of unpredictability, a sentiment shared by fans of Star Wars and James Bond films. This desire for epiphany, akin to the curiosity that drove explorers like Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus, mirrors the Magi’s journey. Today’s readings encourage us to approach life with the same curiosity, seeking the manifestation of God in every person and event.

The Magi, likely Persian priests, brought symbolic gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, foretelling Jesus’ kingship, divinity, and sacrificial death. The three reactions to Jesus’ birth—hatred, indifference, and adoration—are exemplified by King Herod, the scribes, Pharisees, shepherds, and the Magi.

Belonging to the adoring group, we are urged to worship Jesus with love, humility, and adoration, plotting a better course for our lives. Like the Magi, we should offer gifts of friendship with God, others, and reconciliation, culminating in the gift of peace. Our insignificant offerings, like those of the Magi, are accepted by God in humble gratitude.

As we reflect on the Magi’s journey, let us emulate their adoration, offering our hearts to Jesus. In this season of Epiphany, we are encouraged to give meaningful gifts—friendship, reconciliation, and peace—to honor the manifestation of God in our lives.

Let us conclude with a 19th century English carol, Christina Rosetti’s A Christmas Carol, which begins, “In the bleak midwinter.” The carol sums up, in its last stanza, the nature of “giving to the Christ Child.” What can I give him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I could give a Lamb. If I were a wise man, I could do my part. What I can I give Him? Give Him my heart!

Adapted from Fr. Antony Kadavil’s reflections for the Feast of the Epiphany

Closing Prayer

God of all heaven and earth,
From the breath of your love came the creation of the world.
We are amazed at the vast beauty of the night sky
and at the intimate nature of the love you have for us your children.
Be our daily star, Guiding our lives to search for kingdom love.
May we always follow your light of truth in all that we do,
Forever trusting, hoping and believing in your word.
Lift our eyes tonight to see your eternal life shining brightly,
Leading us home. Amen.

Source: Lords Prayer Words.com

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