Preface of the Epiphany of the Lord

For more information on the Preface in general, see The Eucharistic Prayer (2) and The Eucharistic Prayer (3)

It’s usually Advent that is described as the Christmas season, all the way into the Christmas break and back to work or school, but the Christmas season starts on Christmas Eve and concludes with the Baptism of the Lord, a few weeks at most. Advent a time of preparation and expectation. Christmas is a time of joy. And Epiphany is a moment of revelation.

Christ the light of the nations

An epiphany is an appearance or manifestation, especially of a diving being, but it is also understood as an illuminating discovery or realization. The Lord’s Epiphany fits every definition of an epiphany. The three Magi may have come to pay homage to him as a great king, revealing his royalty, but they also revealed that Christ’s salvation was not just for the Jews. The Gentiles also rejoiced that their Savior had been born. God the Father had communicated to them through the stars, through a language that they could understand. The Father wrote in the stars that, in a far-off land, a great king was born, a sign great enough to travel far from home to find.

The three Magi set out by the light of a star, but they found a greater light, a light that would reveal the meaning of their lives: the light of Christ, a light that would lead them someday beyond the light of the stars into eternity, a much farther journey, but a journey even more fulfilling.

 “For today you have revealed the mystery of our salvation in Christ as a light for the nations, and, when he appeared in our mortal nature, you made us new by the glory of his immortal nature.”

The fact that wise representatives of three far-off nations came to pay homage to Our Lord, unbeknownst to anyone, reveals to us that the light of Christ is meant to reach everywhere. At the time of Our Lord’s birth it meant beyond the people of Israel; in our time it means beyond the confines of Christianity. We have born the light of Christ since the day of our Baptism. The three Magi found the light of Christ following the starlight; we reflect the light of Christ so that others can find Our Lord through us. We need to be their stars.

This is the epiphany we should all have as the Christmas season concludes: that Christ wants to be the light of all the nations, and he wants us to help him accomplish that. Bolstered by that realization, let’s go off rejoicing in our mission just as the three Magi did.

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