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Sunday, January 4, 2004

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Isaiah 60:1-6
Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6
Psalm 72
Matthew 2:1-12

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are you afraid of the epiphany?

"They prostrated themselves and did Him homage. Then they opened their coffers and presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh." —Matthew 2:11

Today, the feast of the Epiphany, has traditionally been the highlight of the Christmas season for much of the world. But this is not the case in the USA at this time. Among the many reasons for this is the fact that the meaning of the Epiphany is not accepted by many Christians in the Western world.

Epiphany means "manifestation," the revelation of Christ to the nations of the world, represented by the wise men. The meaning of the Epiphany is in part the meaning of Jesus' Ascension when He commanded us to make disciples of all nations (Mt 28:19) and to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). But many Christians are more interested in going to church than in going to the world. We feel more like coming to the manger than going to the world. We naturally don't want to leave our "comfort zone" to go into the war zone of evangelization.

When we realize that the wisdom of the wise men is the wisdom of the cross of evangelization (see 1 Cor 1:23-24), we aren't as interested in being wise. We understand giving gifts of the gold of material possessions and the incense of prayer (see Ps 141:2; Rv 5:8), but we struggle to give the myrrh of death, sacrifice, and persecution, which inevitably comes to those who share their faith. Nevertheless, by God's grace, let us repent and decide to live the Epiphany.

Prayer:  Father, free me from fear of Epiphany's consequences.

Promise:  "See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the Lord shines, and over you appears His glory." —Is 60:2

Praise:  Praise Jesus, "manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the Spirit; seen by the angels; preached among the Gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up into glory" (1 Tm 3:16).

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert A. Stricker, June 23, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 2003