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Epiphany 2010

Epiphany 2010

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Published by: SaintJoseph on Jan 04, 2010
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The Epiphany of the Lord, January 3, 2010Scripture ReadingsFirst
Is 60:1-6
Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6
Mt 2:1-12Prepared by: Fr. Lawrence J. Donohoo, O.P.
Subject Matter
First Reading: Although darkness covers the peoples, they see that the divine light shines on Jerusalemalone, and so hastening to receive blessings from the Holy City, they enrich her with their treasures.
Second Reading: The mystery is now revealed for the first time (the temporal dimension) that Godssalvation knows no borders (the spatial dimension).
Gospel: The Magi, representing the nations who seek salvation through the Jews unawares, come tobring their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrhand above all their homageto a king who is toshepherd the Gentiles as well.2.
Exegetical Notes
[A]ll parts of the world process to Zion (vv 4-9) for rebuilding the city (vv 10-16) amid splendidprosperity. . . .God is radiating a dazzling presence from within the city. . .Like the sunrise in this area,darkness immediately surrenders to brilliant light; there is neither dawn nor dusk. Glory, repeatedeight times as a noun or vb., pervades this chap. . . .Different from Isa 2:2-4 and Mic 4:1-3, the nationscome to Jerusalem to rebuild the city, not simply to receive instruction from the Lord at the Temple.(NJBC)
Regarding Eph 3:6:
coheirs, comembers. . ., copartners:
Three nouns compounded with the prefix
together, depict the full and equal participation of Gentiles with Jews in the one body. . . .
:These were a caste of wise men, variously associated with interpretation of dreams, Zorastrianism,astrology, and magic. In later Christian tradition they became kings under the influence of Ps 72:10;Isa 49:7; 60:10. . . .
 from the East:
This could be Persia, East Syria, or Arabia. . . .
Thetown of the humble David is contrasted with Herods Jerusalem. Bethlehem was the city of Davidsancestor Ruth (Ruth 1:1-4) and of his immediate family (1 Sam 16: 17:12). (NJBC)
Ancient people, experiencing social chaos, felt attracted to astral religion because of the coldregularity of the stars. But this religion became oppressive, making people feel helpless under thetyranny of 
, fate. Matthew shows no interest in this problem. But because the star here
serves Gods purpose and leads the magi to Jesus, we can say that the power of astral determinism isbroken. (NJBC)3.
References to the Catechism of the Catholic Church
In the Symbol of the faith the Church confesses the mystery of the Holy Trinity and of the planof God's good pleasure for all creation: the Father accomplishes the mystery of his will by givinghis beloved Son and his Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world and for the glory of his name. Suchis the mystery of Christ, revealed and fulfilled in history according to the wisely ordered plan that St.Paul calls the plan of the mystery and the patristic tradition will call the economy of the Wordincarnate or the economy of salvation.
The Father's only Son, conceived as man in the womb of the Virgin Mary, is Christ, that is tosay, anointed by the Holy Spirit, from the beginning of his human existence, though the manifestationof this fact takes place only progressively: to the shepherds, to the magi, to John the Baptist, to thedisciples. Thus the whole life of Jesus Christ will make manifest how God anointed Jesus of Nazarethwith the Holy Spirit and with power.
is the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, Son of God and Savior of theworld. The great feast of Epiphany celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the wise men (
) from theEast, together with his baptism in the Jordan and the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee. In the magi,representatives of the neighboring pagan religions, the Gospel sees the first-fruits of the nations, whowelcome the good news of salvation through the Incarnation. The magi's coming to Jerusalem in orderto pay homage to the king of the Jews shows that they seek in Israel, in the messianic light of the starof David, the one who will be king of the nations. Their coming means that pagans can discover Jesusand worship him as Son of God and Savior of the world only by turning towards the Jews andreceiving from them the messianic promise as contained in the Old Testament. The Epiphany showsthat the full number of the nations now takes its place in the family of the patriarchs, and acquires
 Israelitica dignitas
(is made worthy of the heritage of Israel).
In Mary, the Holy Spirit
the Son of the Father, now become the Son of the Virgin. Sheis the burning bush of the definitive theophany. Filled with the Holy Spirit she makes the Word visiblein the humility of his flesh. It is to the poor and the first representatives of the gentiles that she makeshim known.4.
Patristic Commentary
After the miraculous virgin birth, a God-man having divine power proceeded from a virgin womb; inthe obscure shelter of this kind of cradle, a narrow stall, wherein lay Infinite Majesty in a body morenarrow, a God was suckled and suffered the wrapping of vile ragsamid all this, when all of a suddena new star shone in the sky upon the earth, and driving away the darkness of the world, changed nightinto day; that the day-star should not be hidden by the night. (St. Augustine)
What were these Magi but the first fruits of the Gentiles? Israelite shepherds, gentile Magians, onefrom far, the other from near, hastened to the one Cornerstone. (St. Augustine)
Magi were kings, and though their gifts were three, it is not to be inferred from this thatthemselves were only three in number, but in them was prefigured the coming to the faith of thenations that sprung from the three sons of Noah. (Gloss)
It should be known that opinions vary respecting the Magi. Some say they were Chaldaeans, who areknown to have worshipped a star as God; thus their fictitious Deity showed them the way to the trueGod. Others think that they were Persians; others again, that they came from the utmost ends of theearth. Another and more probable opinion is, that they were descendants of Balaam, who having hisprophecy, There shall rise a Star out of Jacob, as soon as they saw the star, would know that a Kingwas born. (St. Remigius)
The star which the Magi saw, at Christs birth according to the flesh, did not rule His fate, butministered as a testimony to Him. Further, this was not among those stars which from the beginning of the creation observe their paths of motion according to the law of their Maker, but a star that firstappeared at the birth, ministering to the Magi who sought Christ, by going before them until it broughtthem to the place where the infant God the Word was. (St. Augustine)
The three men who offer signify the nations who come from the three quarters of the earth. Theyopen their treasures, i.e. manifest the faith of their hearts by confession. Appropriately, in the house,teaching that we should not vaingloriously display the treasure of a good conscience. They bringthree gifts, i.e. the faith in the Holy Trinity. Or opening the stores of Scripture, they offer itsthreefold sense, historical, moral and allegorical; or Logic, Physic, and Ethics, making them all servethe faith. (St. Anselm)5.
Examples from the Saints and Other Exemplars
In traditional Catholic art, the Magi were understood as kings and were three in number in order tocorrespond with the three gifts. Further, these three kings represented the three ages of a human being:Caspar was white-haired, Balthasar middle-aged, and Melchior beardless. Finally, despite theMatthean reference to their coming from the east, they were understood as representing the threeknown continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa, and thus were depicted as white, brown, and black respectively.6.
The new King, to whom they now paid homage, was quite unlike what they were expecting. In thisway they had to learn that God is not as we usually imagine him to be. This was where their inner journey began. It started at the very moment when they knelt down before this child and recognizedhim as the promised King. But they still had to assimilate these joyful gestures internally. They had tochange their ideas about power, about God and about man, and in so doing, they also had to changethemselves. (Benedict XVI)
The Magi set out because of a deep desire which prompted them to leave everything and begin a journey. It was as though they had always been waiting for that star. It was as if the journey hadalways been a part of their destiny, and was finally about to begin. This is the mystery of Gods call,the mystery of vocation. It is part of the life of every Christian. (Benedict XVI)
In the mystery of Christmas, Christs light shines on the earth, spreading, as it were, in concentriccircles. First of all, it shines on the Holy Family of Nazareth: the Virgin Mary and Joseph areilluminated by the divine presence of the Infant Jesus. The light of the Redeemer is then manifested tothe shepherds of Bethlehem, who, informed by an Angel, hasten immediately to the grotto and findthere the sign that had been foretold to them: the Child, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in amanger (cf.
2: 12). The shepherds, together with Mary and Joseph, represent that remnant of 

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