Catholic Symbol of the Epiphany

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Many Christian denominations do not pay that much attention to the Epiphany of Jesus Christ. The Epiphany event occurred shortly after Jesus was born in Bethlehem and is celebrated by the Catholic church on January 6th of each year. It commemorates the day when the magi, the three kings came to pay homage to Christ, the king.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church the Epiphany is the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, Son of God and Savior of the world.

The three kings, the wise men if you will, symbolizes the acceptance of Jesus as the salvation of the world through the Incarnation. Their journey to Israel in order to pay homage to Jesus shows that they sought the one who would be king of all nations. Their coming means that pagans can discover Jesus and worship him as Son of God and Savior of the world.

Here’s what Pope Benedict said in his homily at the Vatican, last year, during the celebration of the feast of the Epiphany:

“The light that shone in the night at Christmas illuminating the Bethlehem Grotto, where Mary, Joseph and the shepherds remained in silent adoration, shines out today and is manifested to all. The Epiphany is a mystery of light, symbolically suggested by the star that guided the Magi on their journey. The true source of light, however, the “sun that rises from on high”, is Christ.

In the mystery of Christmas, Christ’s light shines on the earth, spreading, as it were, in concentric circles. First of all, it shines on the Holy Family of Nazareth: the Virgin Mary and Joseph are illuminated by the divine presence of the Infant Jesus. The light of the Redeemer is then manifested to the shepherds of Bethlehem, who, informed by an Angel, hasten immediately to the grotto and find there the “sign” that had been foretold to them: the Child, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

The shepherds, together with Mary and Joseph, represent that “remnant of Israel,” the poor, the anawim, to whom the Good News was proclaimed.

Finally, Christ’s brightness shines out, reaching the Magi who are the first-fruits of the pagan peoples.

The Magi worshipped a simple Child in the arms of his Mother Mary, because in him they recognized the source of the twofold light that had guided them: the light of the star and the light of the Scriptures. In him they recognized the King of the Jews, the glory of Israel, but also the King of all the peoples.”

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Source by Ed Gallagher

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