Today is the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord. The word “epiphany” means “manifestation.” As today’s scriptures note, Jesus was not only sent for the Jewish people; he was also sent to redeem the whole world. The Magi traveled from the East in order to meet the Christ Child and then they returned back to their countries of origin to spread the Good News.
Epiphany is the feast of the new evangelization because it epitomizes what evangelization is all about. Notice the process in the scriptural account: First, the Magi “hear” about the birth of Jesus by recognizing that something special was happening as evidenced by the star. They become curious and want to find out more so they travel westward, following the sign. When they finally encounter the child, they begin to “worship.” However, they know that the message of the Christ needs to be shared and so they go back to “evangelize” their own country.
So too it is with us. We have heard about this person Jesus. Hopefully, we are curious enough to learn more about him through study and conversation. This should lead us to worship and liturgy. But our experience of the Lord doesn’t stop there. The next step in the process is to go and share the Good News with others.
We don’t know how the Good News was shared by the Magi, but we do know that it was shared. Many of the countries to the East of Palestine contain some of the oldest Christian congregations in the world. There is some evidence that Christianity was preached in Asia, Japan and India long before the known Christian missionaries arrived there in the Middle Ages. Perhaps they are the remnant of the ancient Magi who brought the Good News.
In any case, we are invited to bring the Good News to everyone we meet, not just in speech, but more concretely in action. When people encounter us, whom do they see? When people speak with us, what do they hear? May this feast of Epiphany challenge us to be better proclaimers of the Word and give us courage to be like the Magi and spread the Gospel to all the world.