Today we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany, known as Three Kings’ Day in some cultures. Most of us who set up our creches at Christmas time include figures of the three Magi bearing their gifts for the Christ Child (although I confess that whenever I unwrap my three figures and place them in the creche in my home I think of the old joke that had the three wise men been three wise women, they might have brought gifts that were actually useful for a newborn). But we miss the significance of the day if we think of it as just part of a story of something that happened a long time ago.
The word epiphany means to reveal or to make known. The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls the feast of the Epiphany the feast “which celebrates the manifestation to the world of the newborn Christ as Messiah, Son of God, and Savior of the world.” The heavens revealed Jesus to the world by sending forth a star. The Wise Men, the first Gentiles to acknowledge Christ’s kingship, revealed Jesus to a world beyond Bethleham.
But it didn’t end there. It is our task today is to reveal Jesus to the world. In the words of one of the blessings we receive at the end of Mass on this day,
Because you are followers of Christ,
who appeared on this day as a light shining in darkness,
may he make you a light to all your sisters and brothers.