Gospel Reflection Jan 7 – Deacon Frank Iannarino
Sunday, January 7
The Epiphany of the Lord
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.
Twelfth night is when people traditionally take down the Christmas trees and store the time-honored decorations for another year. It is a moment often tinged with sadness as families and visitors have now departed. Many decorations which have stood the test of time and tell a story of a family, sometimes joyful, other times marked by tears, are now safely put away.
The three kings, who have been moving towards the crib, now take their proud place near Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. This intimate scene is explained to children who wonder at the site of the crib. The beauty of this scene at the manger captures the hope of the Christ child and the joy that is proclaimed each Christmas. Tradition tells us that Caspar bears the gold for a king; Melchior bears the frankincense for a deity; Balthasar presents the myrrh whose perfumed fragrance is foreseen as leading us towards the tomb at Easter which gives way to this Christ child who will gloriously rise from the dead.
As we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany we affirm our belief in Jesus Christ, true God, and true man, light of the nations. We profess our belief that he is the savior of all people. We unite as Christians from east to west in our belief that the message of Christ gives hope and joy to all who believe. We bow down and pay him homage. We thank God for the faith that has been handed down to us, whether from parents, grandparents, within families, by friends, or by helpful priests, deacons, consecrated religious and faith-filled teachers. Pray for those people who have sustained you in your faith and helped you in the difficult times.
As we move into the new year, may the embrace of the Father draw all of us into his mercy. May the suffering of the Son give all of us hope. May the power of the Holy Spirit strengthen us in love and peace.
Deacon Frank Iannarino