The Revelation of Christ to the World
We join all the people of the world in worshipping the infant King of the Jews.
Arise, shine out, Jerusalem, for your light has come,
the glory of the Lord is rising on you,
though night still covers the earth
and darkness the peoples.
Above you the Lord now rises
and above you his glory appears.
The nations come to your light
and kings to your dawning brightness.
Lift up your eyes and look round:
all are assembling and coming towards you,
your sons from far away
and your daughters being tenderly carried.
At this sight you will grow radiant,
your heart throbbing and full;
since the riches of the sea will flow to you,
the wealth of the nations come to you;
camels in throngs will cover you,
and dromedaries of Midian and Ephah;
everyone in Sheba will come,
bringing gold and incense
and singing the praise of the Lord.
You have probably heard how I have been entrusted by God with the grace he meant for you, and that it was by a revelation that I was given the knowledge of the mystery. This mystery that has now been revealed through the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets was unknown to any men in past generations; it means that pagans now share the same inheritance, that they are parts of the same body, and that the same promise has been made to them, in Jesus Christ, through the gospel.
After Jesus had been born at Bethlehem in Judaea during the reign of King Herod, some wise men came to Jerusalem from the east. ‘Where is the infant king of the Jews?’ they asked. ‘We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage.’ When King Herod heard this he was perturbed, and so was the whole of Jerusalem. He called together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, and enquired of them where the Christ was to be born. ‘At Bethlehem in Judaea,’ they told him ‘for this is what the prophet wrote:
And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
you are by no means least among the leaders of Judah,
for out of you will come a leader
who will shepherd my people Israel.’
Then Herod summoned the wise men to see him privately. He asked them the exact date on which the star had appeared, and sent them on to Bethlehem. ‘Go and find out all about the child,’ he said ‘and when you have found him, let me know, so that I too may go and do him homage.’ Having listened to what the king had to say, they set out. And there in front of them was the star they had seen rising; it went forward, and halted over the place where the child was. The sight of the star filled them with delight, and going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and falling to their knees they did him homage. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. But they were warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, and returned to their own country by a different way.
It means that pagans now share the same inheritance, that they are parts of the same body, and that the same promise has been made to them, in Jesus Christ.
It is only recently that I truly looked into the meaning of ‘Epiphany’. According to the Cambridge dictionary, epiphany means the moment when you suddenly feel you understand or become conscious of something that is of great importance to you. In the Catholic sense, epiphany means the manifestation of Christ, both symbolic and real, to the whole world.
To the whole world. Not only to the shepherds, not only to the Magi, nor just the Israelites, but to the whole world. This is significant. This is what we should celebrate and be thankful for. Not only does God send His only Son, but He gives His Son as a gift for all mankind, for you, for me, for believers and non-believers alike. You may ask why this is important. It is important because The Son of God gives Himself to redeem us. That is the best and most precious gift anyone can receive; much more valuable than material gifts we receive for Christmas or any other occasion. This is a gift that is eternal in nature, versus the temporal qualities of worldly goods; the significance is immense. This gift is meant to be shared, not to be kept under wraps.
Much like when we find a good restaurant or recipe, we can’t wait to share the find with loved ones and friends, perhaps even post it on social media. Jesus is infinitely more treasurable than any such finds, and we should be more than eager to share this treasure with others. He fulfills the hungry heart and truly brings peace and joy amidst all the turmoil, so why wouldn’t we want to share this with others?
Not everyone is called to be a missionary, but we are all called to ‘evangelize’ or become a witness for Christ so that He is known to those who are searching and not finding what they search. We can become a witness in big or small ways.
I must admit that during the Christmas season, I felt that there was less focus on the true meaning of Christmas but more about socializing, buying gifts and indulging. There is nothing wrong about all that, but let’s help the world remember Christ is the reason for Christmas and to be more Christ-focused by sharing our ‘find’.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Winnie Kung)
Prayer: Dear Lord, we pray that we set our hearts and minds on what is truly important and eternal; let us not fall into the trap of the material world and lose sight of our goal of being in heaven with you.
Thanksgiving: We thank you for revealing Jesus, Your only Son, to us and granting us your grace to help us battle the temptations of this world.