It’s Epiphany, and we retell the story of three wise men who travelled quite a distance looking for the King of Kings. In Matthew’s Gospel we read:
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 (Matthew 2:9-12).
The gifts they brought were extraordinary and very expensive. As one of my followers on Twitter pointed out, the gifts were a bit … eccentric:
The uniqueness of their gifts elevated the understanding that this child laying in the lowest of places, was much more than he appeared to be. Would such extraordinary presents be given to just any baby? Even a royal one? The gifts reveal that Jesus was more than he seemed, but they also tell of his guests. These were men of status, well esteemed and wealthy. It is also apparent they studied Hebrew texts, and knew the prophecies of Isaiah. Two of them got their gift ideas from Isaiah 60:6:
“All from Sheba shall come bearing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the Lord.”
And what about us? What gift do we bring to the new born King? Another tradition in our convents is to receive a piece of paper with one of the three gifts written on it. We then make it part of our year to offer that gift to Christ, with corresponding virtue and fruit of the spirit. For instance:
GOLD: I offer the Lord Jesus the Gold (Prestige) of my life, in Charity and with Kindness.
FRANKINCENSE: I offer the Lord Jesus the Frankincense (Sweetness) of my life, in Faith and with a Spirit of Prayer.
MYRRH: I offer the Lord Jesus the Myrrh (Sacrifice) of my life, in Hope and with Joy.
Let us pray, that we may be like the Wise Men, and seek out Jesus in this new year, and like them, bring the best of ourselves in homage to the New Born King. Blessed Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord!
May the splendor of your majesty, O Lord, we pray, shed its light upon our hearts, that we may pass through the shadows of this world and reach the brightness of our eternal home. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. (Collect of the Mass for the Epiphany of the Lord)