The Monday after Epiphany
1 John 3:22—4:6 + Matthew 4:12-17,23-25
January 4, 2016
“I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.”
In this final week of the Christmas Season, the Epiphany of the Lord continues to reverberate through the Sacred Liturgy. In fact, while we tend to equate the Epiphany only with the narrative of the “three wise men”, the Church actually holds up two other Gospel stories along with that of the “three kings” when she reflects on the meaning of the Epiphany.
All three of these narratives bring to greater light who Jesus really is. The word “epiphany” literally means “revelation” or “insight”, similar to how we use the word in common speech, or when we picture a light bulb going off above one’s head. Of course, in reference to Jesus, no particular revelation or insight can be complete, since the object being revealed (that is, the divine Person of Jesus) is an infinite Mystery. The three Epiphany narratives, then, are like three different facets of a diamond, each of which reveals something of the gem’s brilliance.
Nonetheless, all of the Epiphany narratives reveal that God’s Messiah has come to save “all the nations”. The universality of the Messiah’s mission shines through the Scriptures, antiphons and prayers of the last days of the Christmas Season. The Responsorial Psalm today and the next two days present this with special clarity. This is a good week, then, to ask whether we ourselves have any tendency to exclude others—whether in thought, word or action—from God’s love.