THE FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY
The Feast of the Epiphany is celebrated on January 6. This feast commemorates the visit of the wise men to worship the baby Jesus. Tradition tells us that their names were Caspar, Melchior and Balthassar. The men were astrologers who were looking for the star that would lead them to the promised Messiah. This was prophesied in the Book of Micah. According to the Gospel narratives, the wise men brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh with them. These gifts were very meaningful. Gold was a precious and expensive gift, and showed how important Jesus was. Frankincense is a sweet perfume which was often burned in the temple to worship God. It was a sign that Jesus should be worshipped. Myrrh was used to keep things fresh, and it was used by the women to anoint Jesus’ body when he died. By bringing it as a gift to Jesus, the wise men foretold his suffering and death.
The Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ is one of the oldest Christian feasts, though, throughout the centuries, it has celebrated a variety of things. Epiphany comes from a Greek verb meaning “to reveal,” and all of the various events celebrated by the Feast of the Epiphany are revelations of Christ to man.
Three wonders mark this day we celebrate:
today the star led the Magi to the manger;
today water was changed into wine at the marriage feast;
today Christ desired to be baptised by John in the river Jordan to bring us salvation, alleluia.
(Magnificat antiphon of Evening Prayer)
Photo credit: Brenda Drumm, Catholic Communications Office