Today is the Feast of the Epiphany. Today the church celebrates the arrival of the magi from the east to the cradle of our Lord. The wise men followed an abnormal, to say the least, astronomical phenomenon all the way to a manger in Bethlehem.

An epiphany is a sudden realization–one immediately taken for truth. The magi made it to the cradle of our Lord and, suddenly, understood. Here is the King who epiphany-canadawas to come.

My faith is like that. Jesus–lying in the manger, snuggling with St. Mary, spitting up on St. Joseph–had little to do with summoning the eastern astrologers. They were drawn to the child by the testimony of a star and by pagan prophecy.

Next Sunday we will celebrate the the baptism of our Lord, which is kind of the opposite of an epiphany I suppose. It’s a revelation and a declaration–it’s a proclamation and pronouncement. Jesus, obvious to anyone watching or listening, is revealed as the King who was to come.

And Saints Joseph and Mary, like St. John the Baptist, had the advantage of a revelation. An angel appeared to our Lord’s parents. A dove, light, and a voice descended on our Lord at his baptism.

All that the pagan astrologers had was a star.

And, most days, that’s all I have as well.

O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son
to the Peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by
faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to
face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.