Sunday, January 8, 2017


In today's gospel, the Magi visit Christ. They are following prophesies and celestial innuendo and their appearance is another of the astonishing meaningful visions of the Bible. While seeming to fulfill the Old Testament, it shatters it.

The Greek word Epiphany means appearance or manifestation or showing forth. It is an older celebration than the feast of Christmas.
The Magi were not Kings, but a caste of Persian priests who served Kings using their skills in interpreting dreams and watching movements of stars. The sixth century Italian tradition that there were three Magi, Casper, Balthazar, and Melchior, is based on the fact that three gifts are mentioned in Matthew’s Gospel:  gold, frankincense and myrrh. The Magi may actually have been Persian priests or Babylonian astronomers or Nabataean spice-traders. Eventually, however, they were pictured as representatives of different peoples and races. The Orthodox Church holds that the Magi consisted of twelve Kings, corresponding in number to the twelve tribes of Israel. 

They are the second group of visitors behind the shepherds. This Epiphany, this manifestation, marks Christ's first appearance to the Gentiles. And, unlike the shepherds, these men are rich and educated. Several preconceptions are put to rest here. The Old Testaments exclusivity of God as a racial, political or geographic being is over; this Christ will be the savior of all men rich and poor, men outside the tribe of the Jews, the confines of Israel, the history of the Chosen People.

This Christ is transcendent, eclipsing the Old Testament, escaping history.

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