The Epiphany

Gospel according to Matthew 2:1-12

 When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,

In the days of King Herod, 

behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 
"Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage."
When King Herod heard this,
he was greatly troubled, 
and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, 
He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, 
for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,

are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;since from you shall come a ruler,who is to shepherd my people Israel."Then Herod called the magi secretly 
and ascertained from them the time of the star's appearance.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said, 
"Go and search diligently for the child.
When you have found him, bring me word, 
that I too may go and do him homage."
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, 
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star, 
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures 
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, 
they departed for their country by another way.

 

 Gospel Reflection

The wise men honoured baby Jesus with gifts fit for a king. What treasure will you bring to Jesus this year? It may not be gold, frankincense or myrrh  but it could be any talent or resource you can use to serve God’s kingdom. Then again, maybe your treasure is not as different from the wise men’s gifts as you think!

 

The first wise man laid down some of his gold at the foot of the manger. One way you can serve God is with your money. Maybe He is asking you to support His Church with a more substantial weekly offering. Perhaps there is a hungry child in a developing country who God wants to help through you, or an elderly relative in your life who is struggling to make ends meet. Your money could be used to change someone’s circumstances for the better, whether it’s in your own neighbourhood or on the other side of the world. Think about it, and pray about it. If there is a needy person or some other cause that keeps coming back into your thoughts, maybe that’s God calling you to give.

 

Frankincense was the second gift to the Infant Jesus. This fragrant and costly incense was used by Jewish priests when they prayed and worshipped God in the temple. Perhaps the gift you can offer Jesus this year is a closer friendship with him through your prayer life. Your prayers are precious to God and powerful in very real ways. Hewants you to come to Him in prayer about everything! Pray in gratitude when something great happens, pray for answers when you’re confused, and for strength when life gets overwhelming. Pray for your family, friends, coworkers, or even strangers! Pray for our priests, who have such a huge responsibility and face all kinds of challenges in their ministry. Take every joy and every concern you carry around in your heart, and give them all to God. Then take some time to listen in silence, and read the Bible to find out what He is saying back to you!

 

The third gift of the wise men was myrrh, which was another fragrant substance with a variety of purposes. Among other things, it was used as a perfume, an anesthetic, and for embalming before burial.  Your gift to the baby Jesus this year could be to bring the sweet fragrance of joy to those around you, especially if they are suffering. Do you know someone who is lonely? Maybe you could brighten their day by spending some time with them! Is someone struggling with a hardship you’ve experienced? What a perfect opportunity to tell them how God helped you through that time! Your kindness and compassion can ease the suffering of people who are going through hard times. It can remind them that there is hope. You never know – it could even change someone’s life.

 

Come closer to the manger this year, and lay down your treasure for Jesus. Give Him your time, talents and resources, and above all else, give Him your heart. 

 

By Hannah Hoffman 

 

 


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