The Gift of Epiphany
The word Epiphany brings to mind the visit of the Magi to the stable where the Christ Child, Jesus lies peacefully in the manger. It is a story we know well and one that we celebrate today as a Catholic Church. This day we hear in Scripture about great gifts, gifts presented to the “New King”, the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh brought from differing nations by Kings who represented all the nations of the world. But there was another gift spoken of in Scripture today in the First Reading; a gift that would change the world.
In St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians we hear: “that the Gentiles are co-heirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” This was indeed a great gift, a gift revealed in the birth of a Child who would save God’s people. Not only the Israelites as the people whom God had chosen to reveal Himself, but the Gentiles as well, meaning all people of the world. A greater gift can hardly be conceived! Jesus was born, God Incarnate, that all people created by God are gifted with salvation. The word epiphany is defined as “a sudden realization, an intuitive leap of understanding, especially through an ordinary but striking occurrence.” Some might call it “an aha moment”, like “oh, now I get it.” So through the ordinary occurrence of the birth of a child, there came a realization and a new understanding that this Christ Child was born to the world, for all people. I do believe it took much time for humanity to truly understand this, in fact, I believe we are still processing the real meaning of theBirth of Christ; that all people are God’s people, that all people are gifted with salvation through the Christ Child.
As we accept this reality as truth revealed through Jesus Christ, we are called into relationship with all of humanity. We are not to segregate ourselves as the chosen people of God, rather we are to enter into relationship without prejudice or judgement and celebrate the Good News that Jesus Christ is indeed the true gift of salvation to a world of people. This gift is meant to be shared and we are the vehicle by which it is shared. We are called into action as believers of the Gift of Christ to spread the Good News, to shout from the mountain tops that Jesus Christ is born.
So as we begin a new year let us be reminded that the gift of salvation is not one to be hoarded or reserved for some, it is indeed a gift to the WORLD and everyone in it! Go tell it on the mountain! That Jesus Christ is born! With joy and thanksgiving for the gift of salvation,