Abbot Paul was kind enough to send me his sermon of the morning, in which he offered some reflections on the Epiphany, which I will lay down for you here so you can share them, and I am looking into a podcast of this lovely event.
By the time he writes his gospel the Church has become predominantly Gentile, so the believers attracted to the good news of God incarnate are Gentiles just like the Magi. It is through nature that God reveals himself to the Gentiles, and to the Magi through astrology, but it is an imperfect revelation. Without the help of the Jewish scriptures they are unable to interpret the revelation, hence the need to ask, “ Where is the infant King of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage.” Ironically it is King Herod who provides the answer after consulting the chief priests and scribes. He sends them on to Bethlehem with the treacherous promise. “Go and find out all about the child and when you have found him, let me know, so that I too may go and do him homage.” The Gentiles come to worship the Saviour of the world, but they must learn from the Jews the history of salvation.
Here Matthew highlights the paradox: those who have the Scriptures, and can understand what the prophets have said, are not willing to worship the newborn king. They reject the Messiah and seek his death. Here we see the essential gospel story in miniature. God has made himself present to us in his Son, Emmanuel, yet this revelation, this Epiphany, was considered an offence and contradiction to many.
On the other hand it was recognised as salvation by those who had eyes to see and hearts to believe. Of these the Magi are the first, the anticipation of all those who would come to worship the risen Christ proclaimed by the apostles.
In the Star of the King of the Jews at its rising, they see in prophecy, hence the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, the One whose kingship would not be fully visible until he had hung from the Cross, beneath the title “The King of the Jews”, and been raised to God’s right hand through the Resurrection
The question for us and for all Christians today is simply this: which road do I follow: that of King Herod and those who reject the truth of the Gospel, the light of faith, or that of the Magi and those who gradually make sense of divine revelation and can grasp what it means to be saved? In other words, what does the Epiphany mean to me?
by Abbot Paul Stoneham.
Our Lady of Belmont, Pray for us
Our Lady of Tintern, Pray for us
St David.... Pray for us
St Winifride... Pray for us