04 Jan 2020

This Week Letter – January 5, 2020

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The Solemnity of the Epiphany …

“Opening their treasures, they offered him gifts: gold, incense and myrrh.” Mt 2:11

Today as we celebrate the solemnity of the Epiphany of our Lord, we read about the homage which the wise men paid to Christ born in Bethlehem. They brought gold, frankincense and myrrh!


For centuries, the gifts the Magi placed at the feet of the Messiah have symbolized true worship. By depositing gold, they emphasize His royal divinity; By giving incense they profess that he is a priest of the new Covenant. By offering myrrh, they worship the prophet who will shed his blood to reconcile humanity with the Father.


Their gesture has a deeper meaning. For, according to the mentality of the ancient East, it constitutes the recognition of the person of Jesus as God and Lord. It is an act of submission. The wise men want to state that from now on they belong to the ruler and recognize His sovereignty. This affects their subsequent decisions. They can no longer follow their prior path on their return, they cannot go back to Herod, they can no longer be allied with this powerful and cruel tyrant. They are now forever following the path of the Child, a royal path. The newborn King has given them an audience and thus an invitation to participate in His mission. They are the representatives of us today. From now on, every Christian is invited to participate in Christ’s royal, priestly and prophetic mission. We are to be like royal gold of the purest quality, and at the same time, a people offering our lives in the priestly sacrifice of love with one goal: our own salvation and that of our brothers. This is done by proclaiming the Word of Christ by our actions. And this, in turn, includes us in His prophetic mission. Saint Peter describes our vocation in his letter: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises  of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light “(1 P2: 9)


Let us then take the advice of St. Augustine, who reminds us: “We, also recognizing Christ as our king and priest who died for us, ought to celebrate Him as if we had brought gold, incense and myrrh; all we lack is this, that we testify about him by taking a new path, different from the one by which we had arrived. ”


Roman Harmata PA