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.
St. Bede the Venerable on the Magi:
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.
Whatever the truth, the wise men were brave, curious and open to God’s inspiration as they studied the Hebrew Scriptures and the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. Among these, they found the words of Balaam:“A Star shall come out of Jacob; a Scepter shall rise out of Israel” (Numbers 24:17, ).
The magi must have been acquainted with the prophecy of Micah:“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel” (Micah 5:2).
On the night of Christ’s birth, a mysterious light appeared in the sky which became a luminous star that persisted in the western heavens.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.
Impressed with its import, they determined to go in search of the Messiah. They knew not where they were to go but followed as the guiding star led them.
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
Melanie Jean Juneau serves as the Editor in Chief of Catholic Stand. She is a mother of nine children who has edited her kid's university term papers for over a decade. She blogs at joy of nine9 and mother of nine9. Her writing is humorous and heart warming; thoughtful and thought-provoking. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life. Melanie is the administrator of ACWB, a columnist at CatholicLane, CatholicStand, Catholic365 , CAPC, author of Echoes of the Divine and Oopsy Daisy, and coauthor of Love Rebel: Reclaiming Motherhood.
View all posts by melanie jean juneau