January 6, 2020
A happy and most glorious feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord! Today we commemorate the visit of the three kings to the infant Jesus, as recounted in Matthew’s Gospel. The wise men saw His star appear in the sky and traveled from the lands of the East to adore the newborn King, the gifts they offered Him illustrating how well they understood Who it was that was born in Bethlehem. They offered Him gold, signifying His kingship; frankincense, His Divinity; and myrrh, an embalming ointment, the death He was destined to die.
On the surface, the three kings could not form a sharper contrast with those who, besides Our Lady and St. Joseph, were Christ’s first adorers: the humble shepherds who came to Him on the night of His birth. The shepherds are presumably of the Jewish people and live within running distance of Bethlehem; the kings are of pagan origin and come from a distant land. The shepherds are simple and poor; the Kings are educated and wealthy. The shepherds do not have names that have come down to us; we know the wise men to be Ss. Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar. But what is common to them all is their humility and the adoration which they offer this Child, Who is born in a stable, in the world of the shepherds, but Whose majesty is infinitely greater than that of any earthly ruler. He is the King of Kings Who chose to become a pauper for our sakes, and both peasant and king kneel before Him. +
Omnes de Saba vénient, aurum et thus deferéntes, et laudem Dómino annuntiántes. Surge, et illumináre, Jerúsalem: quia glória Dómini super te orta est.
All they from Saba shall come, bringing gold and frankincense and showing forth praise to the Lord. Arise and be enlightened, O Jerusalem: for the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
– the Gradual for today (Isaiah 60:6,1)