The Epiphany of the Lord celebrates Christ’s manifestation to the Gentiles, to us, symbolized by Christ’s manifestation to the Magi or the Wise Men. For me, Epiphany also triggers a longing for more of His presence.
On Epiphany, we ask God to not only shine His light in our hearts but to protect our homes with His light as well. So, we mark above each doorway with the wise men’s initials plus a sign of the cross and year: 20+C+B+M+16 because tradition tells us the wise men who came to honor Jesus were called Gaspar (or Caspar), Melchior, and Balthasar. This tradition dates to the 6th century. The names mean- Master-of-Treasure, King, and Protect-the-King.
The first was called Melchior. He was an old man, with white hair and a long beard; he offered gold to the Lord as to his King. The second, Gaspar by name, young, beardless, of ruddy hue, offered to Jesus his gift of incense, the homage due to Divinity. The third, of black complexion, with heavy beard, was middle-aged and called Balthasar. The myrrh he held in his hand prefigured the death of the son of Man ( The Catholic Source Book).
Around the 14th century, the magi were said to represent the three known races of the time, European, Asian, and African.
Opening Prayer for the Epiphany of Our Lord
Let us pray
[that we may be guided by the light of faith.]
you revealed your Son to the nations
by the guidance of a star.
Lead us to your glory in heaven
by the light of faith.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
New Saint Joseph Sunday Missal