Dear Friends in Christ,
The great feast of the Epiphany marks the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel and Saviour of the world. The Magi, the three kings or wise men whom tradition has named Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar, come to worship and adore, thus representing the acceptance of the ‘Good News’ by the pagan nations.
Their coming to Bethlehem in order to pay homage to the King of the Jews is significant because it shows that they seek in Israel, in the messianic light of the Star of David, the one who will be the King of the nations. The Jewish nation remains God’s special and chosen people. The pagan nations can discover Jesus only by turning towards the Jewish people and receiving from them the Messianic promise latent in the Hebrew Scriptures but revealed fully in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.
Mission is at the very heart of the feast of the Epiphany because it reveals how those who do not know Christ can be moved compelled and convinced by the gospel (as the Magi were) to bow down and worship. In fact, every effort we make at mission – sharing our faith and giving witness by deeds – is nothing less than an epiphany. Why? Because when we so this God’s world is manifested and fulfilled in the world.
On this most holy feast-day we can re-cover and re-discover a sense of our own mission to make Christ known, not only to the nations but to those we live and work among. If we ask him, the Holy Spirit will imbue us with a new confidence to witness to Christ. Whatever is good, whatever is pure, whatever is beautiful and whatever is true in other cultures and natures is of Christ and in Christ. The message of Christ won over the Magi and it will win over pagan nations and those who resist the gospel – not by force or power but by the grace of the Holy Spirit, who reveals and convinces that there is only one King for all the nations, and that is Christ Jesus our Lord.