The Mass draws us into the mystery of Epiphany

Epiphany of the Lord: Gospel – Matthew 2:1-12

During our celebration of Epiphany, let us not only hear the familiar story of the Magi who came from afar to honor the baby Jesus. Let us put ourselves in their place, recognizing that we too come to worship, giving gifts and doing homage before the Lord really, truly, substantially present in the Eucharist.

“Holy Mass repeats the scene at Bethlehem,” comments the liturgical scholar Pius Parsch:

See, the Offertory procession is taking shape; we join in eagerly and with the Magi proceed to the altar. We too are kings, and our gifts today are kingly gifts.

At Mass a wondrous exchange of gifts takes place: we give ourselves to the Lord, Who gives Himself to us. Our gifts of bread and wine will become, upon consecration, the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ:

the Church’s sacrificial Offering is more precious than gold, frankincense, and myrrh – it is Christ Himself. Our offering is Christ, mirrored in our hearts in the gold-like purity of the love that attends our oblation; our offering is Christ, immolated like frankincense; our offering is Christ, received at the sacrificial Banquet and penetrating our inmost soul like myrrh. At the Communion, we have come with the Magi to the goal of our journey. The star that once shone on high shines now within our hearts; and having found the Lord, we worship Him.

And at the same time, we are uniting ourselves with His sacrifice on the Cross: “Our offering represents our person; in other words, we offer ourselves.”

On Epiphany, let us

make a special offering, one that includes all our going and coming during the year; and we ought bring gifts that match gold in preciousness, frankincense in holiness, and bitter myrrh in willing submissiveness to the divine Infant.

— The Church’s Year of Grace, Vol. I, pp. 270-71.

Question for reflection: What gift am I giving to Jesus?

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