1st Reading: Isaiah 60: 1 – 6
From Breaking Open the Word of God, Cycle C, p. 39-40:
Recall experiences in your life in which you came from darkness to light. This could be physical darkness and light, but it would be better to use experiences of coming from darkness to insight. What was the new insight or revelation that came upon you? Was it a delightful or painful experience? Who or what caused this insight or revelation to happen? How was your life changed because of it? Did you grow in any virtues because of it, like understanding, patience, gentleness, peace, love, etc? With whom did you first share this revelation? What was his or her reaction? Would you want to go back to your former way?
From R. Faley’s Footprints on the Mountain, p. 85-86:
This proclamation of Israel’s universal mission is bathed in light, radiance, and splendor, with a poetry strikingly similar to that of Second Isaiah. As the clouds of darkness are dispelled, they are supplanted by God’s glory shining upon Jerusalem. Early indication is given that Israel is to have an influence on other nations. The initial glimpse that Israel receives is that of her own people returning. Yet this is only the prelude to a more impressive spectacle. The image is one of opulence and abundance, with the riches of distant lands being brought to Jerusalem. The gifts offered all look to the reconstruction of Jerusalem; they arrive by land and sea. How does this speak to you? Does it make you think of how your own gifts impact others? How does this passage speak of the Kingdom of God?
2nd Reading: Ephesians 3: 2 – 3a, 5 – 6
Continuing with R. Faley, p. 86-87:
Paul is presented as speaking to the part he played in the plan of God’s grace. “Mystery” is an important word in Paul; the reference is to the ultimate salvific plan of God, concealed from ages past and revealed only in the fullness of time. This previously hidden plan is now made known to the holy apostles and prophets. As foundational to the church, their importance as recipients of revelation is of paramount importance. The revealed secret is the total equality of Gentiles with the Jews in the saving plan of God. The Greek text emphasizes this equality with the prefix syn (with) attached to heirs, body members, and partners. Once made members of the body in the Holy Spirit, the elect becomes heirs of the reign. The use of the three compound nouns underscores the note of non-distinction and the elimination of all separating barriers.
Paul’s revelation (or epiphany) is that we are ALL coheirs, copartners in the body of Christ. This has multiple levels of meaning for us today. Explore within yourself what this means for you, with your family, your parish, your community, your country, all people…
Gospel Reading: Matthew 2: 1 – 12
Epiphany comes from the Greek, epiphaneia, meaning manifestation, striking appearance or come suddenly into view. It is when we celebrate the Three Kings, who are gentiles, coming to worship the Christ child as Lord. But how does Christ manifest himself in your life?
After contemplating the staggering fact that God has become a human child, we turn to look at this mystery from the opposite angle and realize that this seemingly helpless Child is, in fact, the omnipotent God, the King and Ruler of the universe. The feast of Christ’s divinity completes the feast of His humanity. It fulfills all our Advent longing for the King “who is come with great power and majesty.” We see that whereas Christmas is the family feast of Christianity, Epiphany is the great “world feast of the Catholic Church.” At Christmas the Light shone forth, but dimly, seen only by a few around the crib: Mary and Joseph and the shepherds. But at Epiphany the Light bursts forth to all nations and the prophecy is fulfilled. Epiphany demands that like these kings we should return to our own countries a different way, carrying to all those we meet the light of Christ, (Chaney, https://www.catholicculture.org).
From Ronald Rolheiser: To bless another person is to give away some of one’s own life so that the other might be more resourced for his or her journey. Good parents do that for their children. Good teachers do that for their students, good mentors do that for their protégés, good pastors do that for their parishioners, good politicians do that for their countries, and good elders do that for the young. They give away some of their own lives to resource the other. The wise men did that for Jesus.
How do we react when a young star’s rising begins to eclipse our own light?
More questions to ponder from Breaking Open the Word of God, Cycle C, p. 40:
What is the connection between your story and the biblical story? Do you believe that, for some people, God’s revelation can be very threatening and painful while others are filled with delight? How will you be open to God’s revelation as it happens to you in your daily life and in the Church?