THEME: WHAT SHALL I RENDER THE LORD?
READINGS: Isaiah 60:1-6/ Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6/ Matthew 2:1-12
Solemnity of Epiphany of Our Lord
“What shall I render the Lord for His goodness to me?” (Psalm 116:12). As we celebrate the solemn feast of Epiphany on the first Sunday of the New Year, we cannot but express gratitude to God for His gracious gift of life and for the opportunity to enjoy more of His goodness this year. More importantly, we have to thank God for His overwhelming gift of salvation, which humanity began to enjoy with the conception and birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ.
The gospel reading narrates the story of the visit to the child Jesus by the wise men (magi). The wise men were non-Jews and so they knew nothing about the promised Saviour; yet they found it necessary to undertake a long journey to locate the child they thought was a mere new born King of the Jews, to do him homage and to offer him precious gifts. If they who did not know the divine nature of the child nonetheless rendered him homage and offered him gifts, then we who know Him as the Son of God and enjoy His blessings must render heartfelt appreciation to Him.
Whereas the wise men were guided by the light of what they perceived to be a physical star, we are guided by the radiant light of supernatural faith to know that Jesus Christ was not just the king of the small nation of the Jews, nor merely king of the whole earth, but He is indeed the King of heaven and the whole universe. He is the King of kings, and the Lord of lords. And knowing that He through whom everything was created and without whom nothing was created (John 1:2-3) decided to become a child (creature) so as to save us, our gratitude to Him should know no bounds.
Furthermore, as the wise men sought the Lord by their long journey, so may we never tire on the long and twisted journey of faith as we seek to know the Lord ever more throughout this year and beyond. On the practical level, may we never find the journey (walk, ride or drive) to our church (especially on Sundays) too long or boring to make.
In addition to their journey, the wise men had to make enquiries to locate the exact place of birth of the newborn King. When they made this enquiry at the palace of King Herod, the chief priests and scribes provided the answer by referring to the Scriptures. May the Scriptures we read and hear in the house of God enlighten us ever more about the mystery of the God-made-man.
When the wise men found the child Jesus, they offered Him the precious gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Let us, likewise, offer our precious gifts to the Lord in appreciation of His blessings. We may not have gold, but we can offer some of our precious wealth, talents and/or time for the service of the Lord and His Church.
We may not have frankincense, but we can offer the Lord what it signifies, namely, prayer and worship. Let us, therefore, always worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Finally, we may not have myrrh. Myrrh was used as perfume and medicine; and because of its sweet smell it was used for embalming bodies. The anxious Mary Magdalene and her companions ran to the tomb of the crucified Jesus to embalm Him, but they soon learnt that the Lord never needed myrrh to embalm Him, for His divine holiness diffuses eternal sweet aroma. Let us, therefore, be anxious to offer Him not myrrh but the sweet-smelling life of holiness. Amen!
By Very Rev. Fr. John Louis