Will We Be Capable of Giving Ourselves as Gold, Incense, and Myrrh to Others?
Father Gonzalo Martin shares this article with Exaudi’s readers, on the Feast of the Epiphany, “The Star that Manifests the Light to Us,” celebrated on January 6.
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The Feast of Epiphany celebrates the collapse of the wall that separated men, making of all one people (Ephesians 2:14), “because they are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.” (Ephesians 3:6). The God born in Bethlehem isn’t the God of a people, but the God of man. The light born in Bethlehem cannot stay imprisoned, therefore it rises, in the form of a star, to the firmament, to light the hope of all nations and to illumine their steps in the search for the Truth, illuminating all our realities.
The evangelical account gives us lessons of great depth because it presents the Wise Men as theologically significant and transforming figures, for the Christian life.
From a situation of search, open to the Truth, at the least indication, they abandon their securities and set out on the way. And they become pilgrims of truth and faith, they ask, investigate and, finally, prostrate themselves and adore the Truth, which illumines them to return by another way to their personal realities, after offering their gifts. A search that is manifested to them in the poverty of a Child who doesn’t disappoint them but, on the contrary, who strengthens them in their walking.
The Wise Men’s attitudes, which differ from Herod’s, who feels threatened or that of the High Priests or the lawyers who, knowing Scripture’s prophecies, didn’t take a step to seek and discover the Light of humanity.
The Bible doesn’t tell us the characteristics of these Wise Men; however, based on manuscripts that have been found, we can discover that Melchior is known as an elderly man with a white beard, who offers gold for Christ’s royalty. Caspar, it’s said, came from the Asian region bringing incense because that Child is Divine. Whereas Balthasar was of the black race, giving the Saviour myrrh, a substance used to fortify the wounds of the fallen and the sick and to embalm the corpses, symbolizing Jesus’ humanity.
In face of all this, and leaning on Saint Augustine, who in his Epiphany sermons tells us that the Wide Men arrived on the 13th day after the Lord’s birth, for this reason, we decided that it is to be celebrated, according to our calendar, on January 6.
In Matthew, chapter 2, we read: “When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in the days of King Herod, Wise Men came from the East to Jerusalem, saying: “Where is the King of the Jews, who has been born? Because we’ve seen a star and have come to adore Him . . . “
The Liturgy of this day invites us to celebrate the Solemnity of Epiphany. The Lord’s manifestation as Light and Saviour of humanity, who was born in a hidden grotto of Bethlehem, on a cold and dark night, which was illumined by the Star
Today, the light shines on each one of us, through that Incarnate Word of God, which illumines and guides each of our steps, if, like the Wise Men, we are willing to go on the way, to go out in search and to have the capacity to kneel down to adore the littleness, the simple, the humility that we contemplate in the Child God of Bethlehem.
And, like the Wise Men, when we have that capacity, we will always be able to return to our lives with an illumined heart, transformed and able to come back to our life by a different way. Because the Manifestation of the Saviour of Men, carried out in Bethlehem, is not a nice theory, but a personal encounter with the Son of God, who, from faith, illumines all our existence.
Today we have the opportunity to be seekers again, to start on the way, to let – on one hand – the Star of Faith leads us again to the personal Bethlehem of our particular history, and as we are illumined by Him who is the Light, to be stars and light on the path of life for others.
Do not cease to search, do not cease to walk. The Star that guided the Wise Men wants to guide you also, so that you return to your life by a new and illumined way, able to be surprised and to let ourselves be surprised by the great Mystery of the Child-God born in Bethlehem, to be light to the world and savior of men. May the excitement of the gifts not die down. God was given to us in the Wise Men of the East. Will we be capable of giving ourselves in the form of gold, incense, and myrrh for others? Will we allow ourselves to continue being illumined by the Faith and to be luminous “stars” for others? Will we have the capacity to prostrate ourselves before our brothers, to live in continuous adoration of our God?
Let us return by another way, not to give reasons to the “Herods” of today, but to encounter one another and to walk by the hand of our brothers, and have the Light of Love incarnate shine in our days.
May the Star illumine us and make us see Jesus from the true Light.