The word “Epiphany” means manifestation or appearance. It was used to describe the visitation to his people by a king or ruler. There was a display of power as the king paraded through the town. However, King Jesus comes in just the opposite manner; he appears as a weak, helpless baby as the Magi come to him (Isaiah 60:1-6; Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6 Matthew 2:1-12). He has none of the trappings of a king, yet the Wise Men recognize his majesty even robed in swaddling clothes. They see not with earthly eyes, but rather with the eyes of faith. They don’t just kneel, but they prostrate (lie flat on the ground) in adoration. Neither Herod nor the religious leaders in Jerusalem had their kind of spiritual vision (faith), and that was their fatal flaw, their tragedy. They should have known better, for if these gentile outsiders, the Magi, could read the signs of the heavens, even more so should the religious leaders of the times. After all, they had the sacred scriptures to give them a clue.
“I see him, though not now;Let us pray for the same kind of vision as the Magi so that we can be with Jesus and never take our eyes off him as we journey through life.
I behold him, though not near:
A star shall advance from Jacob,
And a staff shall rise from Israel.”
- Fr. Carl