Today is the feast of the Epiphany – the manifestation of God in the flesh to the visiting Magi, who came bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Gold to crown a king. The magi saw in the baby the King of Creation and they brought him gold as a fitting tribute. I peer through an opening on the wall to see the majestic Morro Rock, fashioned out of a volcano over millions of years. In yet other mountains, men dig up rocks and they are able to leach gold from the dirt and the soil. I see in the rock before me the reality of a God who created all these awesome wonders.
Frankincense to honor a king with its sweet aroma. The magi brought frankincense to the baby Jesus to give the place they were in the ambience of a royal court. I peeked through the hole in the wall and I see the fluffy clouds over the horizon. One can almost see angel flitting around. Can you hear them singing. The clouds and the skies proclaim the grandeur of God’s court, even as the magi saw in the humble home of Mary and Joseph the King of the universe.
Myrrh to anoint a king with divine grace. The magi pledge their loyalty and pay their homage to the King of the human heart with myrrh as the anointing oil. I look out into the vast ocean and see the life-giving waters that make life on earth possible. And how that life on earth is made meaningful by the beating of the human heart. And water cleanses everything that is unclean in men. The waters and the oil are the symbols used in Baptism by which Christ cleanses and transforms human hearts and souls.
Christ came and became a man of flesh to show us more concretely what is intimated by everything else around us. Christ is the epiphany of God in human flesh. Nature and the world around us is the epiphany of God through the the handiwork of His creation.