Skip to content

Weekly Message: The Epiphany of the Lord

Dear friends in Christ,

“On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…” Indeed, the great Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord on January 6th marks the twelfth day of Christmas (yes, in the United States we move it to the closest Sunday, but in South Philadelphia where I grew up Epiphany will always be January 6th)

For the rest of the world, Christmas, or, more accurately “the Holiday Season” ended a while ago. But for Christians, Christmas is the beginning, not an end! It is the beginning of how God’s definitive work of salvation was slowly man- ifested to various individuals and groups. The Greek word “Epiphanes” means “manifestation of God.” The Gospel for this feast presents us with Jesus’ manifestation to the Magi who found him by the guidance of a star. They offer him gifts and make a prokunesis, the pagan act of worship- ing a god. These strange wisdom figures from a faraway land see divinity in Jesus! But this is not the only manifes- tation of Jesus’ divinity, of course. The Eastern tradition focuses on two other events: his baptism in the Jordan Riv- er and the Wedding at Cana, his first public miracle per- formed at the behest of his mother to the amazement of his disciples.

Dear friends, Jesus is the Son of God. This fact is not just a plain fact to which we can assent like a scientific truth. In- deed, I can accept the fact that the earth is 93 million miles from the sun, but it doesn’t really demand much of me to do that. But to bend down and worship the child of Bethlehem like the Wise Men means we have to give our lives com- pletely to him. It means we must live “no longer for our- selves but for him who died and rose again for

us” (Eucharistic Prayer IV). Is this fear of giving our lives entirely to Christ at the heart of so much “unbelief” of our day? Perhaps. For us, we can be witnesses to the fact that doing so is not a leap in the dark or an act of self- denigration but the way that we truly find ourselves. In him alone do we find the meaning of our existence. The Magi came to understand this. And so can we.

May God be Blessed!

–Farther Eric Banecker