Church Outside


Posted : Jan-03-2024

          The Epiphany 2024

The great Solemnity of the Epiphany or “Manifestation” of our Lord, commemorates so much more than the coming of the Magi, for we celebrate no fewer than three “wonders” on this day. What are they?

     The first such wonderful event is, of course, the coming of the Magi with their gifts. This event tells us that Jesus is not a King for the Jews only, but also for the non-Jews, or “gentiles” like the Magi who came from Persia. We, too, are like the Magi in being “gentiles”. Yet we recognize that Jesus is God-made-man, King and Priest and for all mankind, even for those who do not yet explicitly acknowledge Him.      The Magi remind us that even those persons who have been brought up in another religion can and should still seek the fullness of truth, which is to be found, ultimately, only in Christ. Their three gifts have always been understood to symbolize three aspects of Christ’s earthly mission begun with His birth at Bethlehem: gold representing kingship, incense representing Godhead and myrrh representing mortality, showing the future death and grave which await the Christ Child.

     The second “wonderful event” commemorated in the Epiphany is Our Lord’s Baptism, which we will keep next Sunday. We will think more about that next Sunday, but for now it is enough to realise that it even though it was an event which took place many years later than the coming of the Magi, they belong together precisely as “manifestations” of Christ’s godhead through His humanity.

      Similarly in the third great Epiphany event, our Lord’s first miracle at Cana, when He changed the water into wine at the wedding feast, we also see Him exercising His power as the Creator over His creation, and all for the sake of mankind—to bring us joy! Once again, we will hear that event recounted for us in the Gospel of the Sunday after the Baptism, in a fortnight’s time, and so will have an opportunity then to ponder its significance as part of the celebration of Epiphany – the showing forth - of Our Lord’s divine nature through the medium of the human nature which He not only created as God, but took upon Himself fully when He became Mary’s Son.       ~   Fr. Paul Dobson