My Dear Sisters and Brothers! Originally Epiphany meant ‘manifestation’ or ‘revelation’ of Divine and that was the spirit of the celebration of Jesus’ Nativity by the first Christians. They expressed their joy at Jesus being born and at being revealed to the world. How powerfully the gifts of the Wise Men capture this. By the way a few weeks ago I saw in a magazine a cartoon depicting the Wise Men. One of them was saying: ‘I decided to be safe. That’s why I’ve got him gift cards.’ I think that the cartoon speaks more about our modern attitude ‘get-me-what-I-want’ or ‘give-me-the-money-I-could-get-what-I-want’ then the story of the Wise Men. The gifts the Wise Men brought to the newborn Jesus indicated the transformation which had occurred in them. Church Fathers, like St Irenaeus who was born in the Second Century, taught that the Wise Men offered gold because they professed Jesus as King. They offered frankincense because they professed Jesus as God. They offered myrrh because they professed Jesus as Priest who was to sacrifice himself for people’s salvation. Myrrh was perfume used to anoint the bodies of the deceased. Think of Mary Magdalen running to Jesus’ tomb on Easter Sunday with perfumes.
We may focus on those gifts and their value that we may overlook the conversion which had happened in the Wise Men. Before they found the Baby Jesus in Bethlehem they had found him as their King, God and Priest. A few centuries earlier God spoke through the Prophet Jeremiah: ‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’ It is not God who hides himself from us. It is our heart that makes God obscure to us. You may have seen this commercial of the Free TV. A man thinks loudly which button to press on his remote-control to get the Free TV. Then his dog starts bringing all sorts of green things but the man doesn’t make a connection. King Herod and his people were given all clues needed to find Jesus but because their hearts were selfish and ambitious they failed to find him as their Lord and Savior. It reminds us of Adam and Eve after they sinned. What did they do next? They hid themselves from God.
‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’ My Dear fellow believers! I wish I knew the conversations the Wise Men had on the way to Bethlehem. Why? Because I see in those men what the Church should be like. The Church is a community of disciples of Jesus, where we support each other to find the Lord Jesus in our daily life, as our King, God and Priest. St Matthew didn’t however give us details of their conversations. What he has given us though is this image of the Wise Men travelling together to Jesus. Maybe that was the secret that they had found the Lord. On my own it is easy to get confused, lost, discouraged or fascinated by other things. But if I have a fellow believer I can trust there is a hope that if I miss the Lord my sister or brother in faith will point him out to me.