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Liturgical day: Epiphany

Gospel text (Mt 2,1-12): When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in Judea, during the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived in Jerusalem. They asked, «Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw the rising of his star in the east and have come to honor him». When Herod heard this he was greatly disturbed and with him all Jerusalem (…). Then Herod secretly called the wise men (…).

After the meeting with the king, they set out. The star that they had seen in the East went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. The wise men were overjoyed on seeing the star again. They went into the house and when they saw the child with Mary his mother, they knelt and worshipped him. They opened their bags and offered him their gifts of gold, incense and myrrh (…).

Epiphany: Jesus manifests himself to all peoples

EDITORIAL TEAM evangeli.net (based on texts by Benedict XVI)
(Città del Vaticano, Vatican)

Today, the mystery of Christmas shines on the Earth, spreading, as it ware, in concentric circles: first of all, it shines on the Holy Family of Nazareth, in the shepherds of Bethlehem and, finally, reaching the Magi who are the first-fruits of the pagan people. The palaces of the rulers of Jerusalem, where the news of the Messiah’s birth does not give rise to joy but to fear and hostile reactions, are left in the shadow.

What amazes us about the Magi is that they prostrated themselves before a simple baby in his mother’s arms, not in the setting of a royal palace but, on the contrary, in the poverty of a stable. How was this possible? There is no doubt that they were persuaded by the sign of the star. But even the star would not have sufficed had the Magi not been people inwardly open to the truth.

—In comparison with Herod, beset with his interest of power and riches, the Magi were directed toward the goal of their quest, and when they found it, although they were cultured men, they behaved like the shepherds of Bethlehem: they recognized the sign and adored the Child.