• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Saturday, 06 January 2018 09:25

Feast of the Epiphany - 2018

Written by Fr Elmer Ibarra SVD

Solemnity of the Epiphany

Matthew 2, 1-12

Fr Elmer Ibarra 150 BestWhen I was a little child, my dad used to bring me to my Godfather and Godmother during this time. In some cultures, today is the traditional day for gift giving. As the “three kings” visited the child Jesus and brought them gifts, so this is also a good day to collect gifts from our Godparents.

Today, we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord. We celebrate where Jesus manifested himself to all the nations.

It is notable that only in the gospel according to Matthew that this can be found. We have to appreciate that the community of Matthew to whom this gospel was originally addressed to is a mixed community. A community of Jews who converted to Christianity and Gentiles who became Christians. So the primary purpose of this story is that Jesus even as an infant already manifested himself not only to the Jews, represented by the shepherds but to all people represented by the magi.

Now, who are these magi? There is much debate about who are they, where do they come from and how many are they. They have been known for a long time as kings. They are even portrayed as wearing crowns and legends have told us that they are named as Gaspar, Melchior and Balthazar. Most bible scholars believed that they are astrologers who know the star constellations. And almost all are in agreement that they are wise men. They have knowledge that is far beyond ordinary people. In many paintings, they are portrayed as having different skin colours, one is a light-coloured man, another is a brown coloured man and the third is almost black-coloured guy. This only portrays that they come from different places representing the different races of the world that come to worship The King.

Another question is how many are they? The most common opinion is that they are three wise men. This is the case because there are three gifts. And theologians believed that even the gifts have meaning. First, the gift of gold means that “Jesus is King” as gold is associated to royalty. Second, the gift of frankincense means that “Jesus is holy” as frankincense is used for temple offerings and temple services. Lastly, the gift of myrrh means that “Jesus will die” as myrrh is a tree resin that is used as an embalming agent for the dead.

But I think what we should focus in today’s gospel are the three reactions from different characters of the gospel passage from the sighting of the star. The first reaction and the best are from the magi. After sighting of the star, after receiving of the revelation from the skies, they set off on a long journey to find who they believed is the newborn King. Most probably, when they saw him, his parents and where they were, they were surprised. Maybe they were expecting to be in a palace or at least in a fairly decent house but they saw him in a stable. Yet, because of the openness of their minds, they believed that they have found the King. And most probably, after presenting their gifts upon their return to their land, they must have proclaimed to everyone the good news of their discovery of the King.

The second reaction was that of indifference. When the magi, went to Herod to ask where the newborn King of the Jews would be located, Herod asked the scribes and the chief priests about this prediction. And they accurately located through the prophet Micah on where the King would be born and that is in Bethlehem. However, to our surprise, these people who know these revelations through the Sacred Scriptures, seemed so indifferent. There was no reaction from them that they were happy or even enquired more about this momentous event. For these scribes and chief priests, they were simply cannot be bothered.

Lastly and the worst of them all is Herod, we know that he wanted to know where is this newborn King located, not to pay homage but to kill him. He saw this baby as a threat to him. In order to prolong his life, he wanted to kill the Author of Life. Instead of wanting to see the light, he wanted to snuff out this light. But definitely the light of Christ cannot be snuffed out; instead it was Herod himself who died embittered.

For us, what is our reaction when we have seen the star. Are we willing to travel like the Magi? And once we have discovered Christ, are we willing to proclaim this good news? Or are we like the chief priests and scribes, who after seeing the revelation through scripture just can’t be bothered. It is like business as usual. Or worse, are we like Herod, who refuse to see the light and instead wanted to prevent this light being seen by others.

May this solemnity, give us the wisdom to be like the Magi, who came from far off places to search for Christ and spread the good news once we have discovered him. For being with Christ is the ultimate goal of every Christian.

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