WORD in other words (2022) by Fr Abraham Borja SVD (Jerusalem)
Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
Photo: Lighted Hilltop Church of Irosin, Sorsogon
“The Epiphany is the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, Son of God, and Savior of the world. The great feast of Epiphany celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the wise men (magi) from the East, together with his baptism in the Jordan and the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee” (CCC, no. 528). The visit of the magi is one aspect of the Epiphany.
Looking heavenward. The magi’s journey toward Jesus was prompted by an experience while observing the night sky: “We saw his star at its rising.” They perceived the sign and acted unhesitatingly. Some five hundred years earlier, Isaiah had prophesied to Jerusalem: “Upon you the Lord will dawn, and over you his glory will be seen” (Isa 60:2). The magi might have known this prophecy.
Moving forward, despite the disappearance of the star, they never gave up but continued to persevere until they reached Jerusalem. The good news that the magi told the city leaders about the newborn King revealed the true state of their hearts. The powerful Herod became troubled and felt threatened by the powerless Child. The chief priests and scripture experts seemed indifferent at the birth of the long-awaited Messiah, the ruler who will shepherd Israel.
The Jewish Scripture, read and consulted, served like a compass that pointed to the magi where to find the Messiah. After they left the distressed Herod who wanted to kill the Child, the star they saw at its rising appeared again and, it moved and guided them. When they saw it stopped, they were overjoyed, for they finally located the one they had come to adore. The magi saw the Child with Mary and, in humility, the Gentiles worshipped the newborn King of the Jews, the Son of God made flesh.
Their encounter with the Savior of the world introduced them to a new path instead of returning to the former way. While the star and the Scripture guided them to the Savior (Star→Scripture→Savior), their journey was rooted in their awareness of the sign, openness to God’s invitation, and positive response to God’s manifestation.
On this Solemnity of the Epiphany, I remember with gratitude the birthday of my beloved father Isidro (I hope and pray that he is now joyfully contemplating the glorious face of God) – one of the stars that guided me to Christ. I was about five years old when my parents bought me a book series entitled My Bible Friends that introduced me to biblical stories and instilled my awareness of God. That marked the beginning of my “Star-Scripture-Savior” journey. How is your journey of faith?