The Readings for the Solemnity of the Epiphany of Our Lord:
Prout potestis legentes intelligere prudentiam meam in mysterio Christi: Gentes esse cohæredes, et concorporales, et comparticipes promissionis ejus in Christo Jesu per Evangelium.
As you reading, may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ: That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and copartners of his promise in Christ Jesus, by the gospel.
This is the real Christmas Joy and let us celebrate it today, the Epiphany, which is the Crown of Christmas. In twelve days all of the Mystery of the Gospel is Revealed – and I don’t mean the song, thank you.
Bishop Barron, in his Catholicism, starts this story with “God’s answer to human dysfunction was forming a people after his own heart.” God called Abraham out of the family of Man to be the Patriarch of that people, and of the seed of this man was born the people of Israel. God gave them the Law and the Prophets, and the Kingship. God gave them his own Temple, the place where God lived on earth, and called that people out from among the nations – time and again. And then from that people, God himself was born to us. But that was not the goal, per se. God was tearing down all the divisions, all the ways we keep ourselves apart. God started by tearing down the division between himself and us, then between his people and the rest of us. God is uniting all peoples into one in himself, in Christ.
This is why Epiphany is so important: the Magi represent the peoples of the Gentiles as they were known in the world at that time (traditionally, Caucasian, Asian, and African, hence three kings, although the Bible doesn’t say how many there were) coming to God’s people, the People of Israel, to honor their king and own him as King of the World. Epiphany is the Crown of Christmas. God is not just born for the Jews, but for all of us.
To us, today, this sounds odd. There are no real differences, to us, we even imagine we can ignore science in this regard and pretend our chromosomes don’t exist. What is this idea of a division between peoples? But this idea of no division is something our Modern Secular state actually inherits from the Church, which was intended to be the Mother of All Peoples. God is unifying all into himself. It was she who taught it to tribe upon tribe of gentiles, coming from beyond the Pale to join the Israel of God. We are no longer Saxon and Celt, but one in Christ. We are no longer Vandal and Roman, but one in Christ. We are no longer Barbarian and Greek, but one in Christ. We are no longer Slav and Byzantine, but one in Christ. We are no longer Black and White, but one in Christ. We are no longer K’iche and Spaniards, but one in Christ.
Still, we all have our reasons for staying apart, do we not? We, each of us, have our petty sins and our most treasured vices that we would hide alone, cutting us off from our neighbours and thereby holding us further from God at every moment until we are all alone in the shadows. How are we to be united if we insist on holding on to the very things that tore us apart in the first place?
Epiphany, the Crown of Christmas, is the feast of the undoing of our Divisions. We have only one King. But how is this to be lived out? St Paul is full of ideas and we’ll read them over and over in Ordinary Times of the Church Year. Today, though, we hear the proclamation that all the peoples of the Earth, Jews and Gentiles, all races and nations, all have now only one King. Born in an animal feeding trough, in a town named after the staff of life, he is the real food come down from heaven and given to us all.
Come let us adore him!