In this Octave of Christmas we celebrate the mystery of the Incarnation, when the invisible became visible to us so that we might see the love of God the Father manifest in his Son. Jesus, the Eternal Word of love from the Father, who has always been with the Father from the beginning, was born and has taken on flesh so that we might see God revealed to us. John tells us in the Prologue to his gospel: “No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.” (Jn 1,18) The Solemnity of the Epiphany celebrates this great revelation to all people. The Epiphany is a celebration of light. The light of God’s love has come into the world and made visible the Presence of God that dwells with us and within us. Jesus is truly the Emmanuel, God With Us, in a beautiful and visible way. The word “epiphany” means manifestation. God shows himself to us by manifesting his glory in the humanity of Jesus, the Christ. The writer of Hebrews tells us that “In these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe, who is the refulgence of his glory, the very imprint of his being, and who sustains all things by his mighty word.” (Heb 1,2)
This light of revelation in Jesus Christ is visible to all people, to all those who seek him with a sincere heart. Jeremiah the prophet gives us this promise from God: “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope. When you call me, when you go to pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, you will find me with you, says the Lord.” (Jer 29,11-14) Jesus is the light of revelation that allows all people throughout the world to find their way to God. John tells us, “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.” (Jn 1,9) Jesus is the light of the world and he manifests for us the glory of God and his Presence and enlightens everyone. Epiphany is an occasion of joy for all seekers. Everyone throughout the world who are seeking an experience of God can find the answer to their search for God in Jesus who is with us.
Epiphany is a manifestation of God’s glory in his Son, Jesus. The way that God manifests himself to us is through his glory. John tells us in his gospel, “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.” (Jn 1,14) Throughout the Old Testament, God manifests his presence through his glory which settles upon his dwelling place among his people in the Tent of Meeting. When Moses went before God in his tent of dwelling he would have to veil his face upon coming out because he had been in the presence of God’s glory. The manifestation of God’s glory to us should evoke worship. Jesus comes into the world to restore the right worship of God.
The Magi are seekers. They have been looking for God from afar. They are able by natural means, following a star in the sky, to come to some knowledge of God. They seek out the prophecies of the Son of God in the Old Testament writings through the chief priests and the scribes and are able to narrow their search to Bethlehem and they set out again and find the new born king with Mary his mother. Looking upon the infant Jesus, they see the answer to all of their hopes and dreams in this small child. Jesus fulfills all of the prophecies of the Old Testament. They immediately fall down in homage before the Lord and worship him. The glory of God, shining through the small child moves their hearts to worship. Moved by faith in what they have seen and what is yet to be revealed, they open up their chests and offer him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Rejoicing they go back to their country by another way. Now they have experienced conversion and will never be the same again.
God wants all of us to be able to offer him right worship and to be transformed by the experience. Like the magi, we can look upon the Christ Child and we see a light shine from him, the glory of God manifested in him. Paul tells the Corinthians, “All of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2Cor 3,18) After hearing the word from Jesus and being fed by the Eucharist we gaze upon the glory of God and we offer him homage as we are being transformed. We are listeners and seekers once again, preparing our hearts to receive him, our tongues to worship him and our souls to rest in his peace.