[King's College Choir of Cambridge sings "We Three Kings."]
Today is the feast of the Epiphany in the Catholic liturgical calendar, and the traditional end of the twelve days of the Christmas season. Today's feast commemorates the visit of the three Magi to the infant Jesus and the Holy Family, as recounted in the Gospel of Matthew 2:1-12. The story of the visit of the Magi emphasizes the universal nature of the Gospel -- that Jesus was not only the Messiah of Israel but also the Savior of the Nations. This universal call of Gospel to all human beings is the subject of the epistle lesson for Mass today that comes from the Letter to the Ephesians. The epistle lesson reads as follows in the New Jerusalem Bible:
You have surely heard of the way in which God entrusted me with the grace he gave me for your sake; he made known to me by a revelation the mystery I have just described briefly. This mystery, as it is now revealed in the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets, was unknown to humanity in previous generations: that the gentiles now have the same inheritance and form the same Body and enjoy the same promises in Christ Jesus through the gospel.Related item:
- Who Were the Magi? Joshua over at the Pittsford Perennialist asks that question, and excerpts a part of a detailed answer by Robin Schumacher, blogging over at The Confident Christian. As Schumacher says, "The Magi were the king makers." Schumacher also notes the link between the Magi and the Old Testament prophet Daniel, who during his exile to Babylon became powerful in the court of the Medo-Persian Empire, as recounted in the book of Daniel. Schumacher's post is well worth a read to get some deeper background on just what was happening when the Magi visited in the Holy Infant and the Holy Family.