The meaning of the celebration
+ The celebration of the Epiphany (“revelation”) of the Lord is one of the most ancient feasts of the Church.
+ The original celebration of the Incarnation, in the Western Church this day has come to be known as “Three Kings Day,” on which the visit of the Magi is remembered. In keeping with long-standing tradition, however, the liturgies of this day also commemorate two other moments of revelation: the Baptism of Jesus and the Wedding at Cana (see the Magnificat Antiphon for Evening Prayer II).
+ The Gospel of Matthew records that the Magi presented three gifts to the Newborn King. According to long-standing tradition, these gifts have been understood as having special spiritual significance: gold as a symbol of his royal status, frankincense in honor of his divinity, and myrrh as a recognition of the death he will suffer.
For prayer and reflection
“We offer the Lord gold when we shine in his sight with the light of heavenly wisdom. We offer him frankincense when we send up pure prayer before him, and myrrh when, mortifying our flesh with its vices and passions by self-control, we carry the cross behind Jesus”—Saint Bruno of Segni, Sermon 1 on the Epiphany
On this day, we also honor the memory of the Redemptorist missionary and bishop Saint John Neumann, the celebrated fourth bishop of Philadelphia.
O God, who on this day
revealed your Only Begotten Son to the nations
by the guidance of a star,
grant in your mercy, that we, who know you already by faith,
may be brought to behold the beauty of your sublime glory.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.Access our archives of daily saint biographies here