Sunday, January 07, 2007

On the Epiphany

Today, we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany, and in light of that we can notice that Jesus was brought the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These are traditionally used to represent his role as priest (frankincense), prophet (myrrh), and king (gold).

Priest - Bl. Marmion tells us that at Christ's coming, all of salvation history changed. Now, God worked through man. That is the power of the Incarnation. That is the necessity of the priest in aiding the spiritual journey. Christ established the priesthood at the Last Supper for an important reason. He gave it to us so that we might have access to the spiritual bounty that He had given us through His life, passion, death, and resurrection.

Prophet - Mary uttered the words "All nations will call me blessed." The saints of the Church tell us that to go through Christ, it is easiest to go through Mary. Thus, to understand Christ's role as a prophet, we can look to Mary. We see in the Blessed Mother's actions and words, a call to obey Christ: "Do whatever he tells you." This is her prophetic utterance that we are to follow. We are both to "do whatever he tells [us]" and to show others that there is great joy in that. Our whole life should be one that prophesies the greatness of the Lord. It should be a life of constant evangelization. It should be a life of the Eucharist, one where we are transformed to be Christ. But, we cannot stop there. We are to bring that love and joy to others through our thoughts, words, and actions. Constant conversion is the life of the Christian.

King - Christ came as the King of Kings. His reign is not of an earthly one but that of a heavenly one. In this we should not forget that all our thoughts, words, and actions are bound up with our path to salvation. If we commit acts that separate the unity of our body and soul, then we are acting against the Lord's call to virginity for all of us, virginity in the sense of the union of body and soul. It's all about His kingdom, not our: "What good is it to gain the world, if you lose your soul?"

On a different note altogether, we can also look at the gifts themselves as something tangible to represent the spiritual, a sort of primordial sacrament. The kings, in offering these gifts, are giving a great precursor to the sacraments of the Church. In offering these gifts, they are contributing to the whole of salvation history in a very special way. Thus, they are given a very special feast.



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