An an-ha Moment

Post Date: January 8, 2023
Author: Ric Cross

Reading I: Isaiah 60:1-6
Responsorial Psalm: 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13
Reading II: Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6
Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12

A dictionary definition of the word “Epiphany” would be something like: “A usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something.” What we might call an “ah ha moment.” From our Christian perspective, Epiphany refers to the manifestation of Jesus as the Jewish Messiah, the Son of God, and the Savior of the world.  

There are three events in the life of Jesus that constitute the Epiphany: The Baptism of the Lord in the Jordan River where the voice of God announced from the heavens: “This is my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (Mt 3:17), the Wedding Feast at Cana where Jesus performed his first public miracle (Jn 2:1-11); and the adoration of the magi from the East (Mt 2:1-12). Our celebration this Sunday centers on the visit of the magi.

The magi were representatives of a pagan religion who came to Jerusalem from the East, following the messianic light of the Star of David, seeking to pay homage to the one they recognized as the newborn King of the Jews.  

There is a lot going on in our gospel account of the visit of the magi. First of all, who are the magi? Biblical commentaries describe the magi as a Persian (modern-day Iran) priestly class of astrologers who were thought to have more than human knowledge; in other words, they were “wise men.” Secondly, as astrologers, it seems likely that they would have been familiar with the stars, but why would they follow a particular star? Many ancients believed that when a king was born, a new star would appear, so the magi were following what they believed to be a new star, and that belief can be traced back to the “Star Prophecy” of Numbers 24:17 if you care to look it up. The “Star Prophecy” proclaims a great king that will arise in Israel. It doesn’t necessarily prophesy an astrological event such as a new star but coupled with the belief that a new star will arise with the birth of a great king, we have the magi following that new star. In addition, the gifts the magi presented are also significant. Gold indicates kingship, that Jesus is King of the world. Frankincense, as incense, relates to priesthood, that Jesus is our high priest before God. Myrrh was a burial ointment that indicates the suffering and death that Jesus would undergo for our salvation.

The significance of this event is that the magi are Gentiles, but they seek in Israel the Christ Child whom they recognize will be not only King of Israel but the King of the nations, the King of the Gentiles as well. The church sees these magi as the first fruits of the Gentile nations who will eventually welcome the news of salvation through the Incarnation and through the gospel that proclaims that salvation. It means that Gentiles will discover and worship Jesus as the Son of God and Savior of the World, but they will do so by receiving from the Jewish religion the messianic promise found in the Jewish Old Testament.

Our first reading from chapter 60 of Isaiah is an example of that Old Testament prophecy. Bearing in mind that this portion of Isaiah would have been written approximately 500 years before the time of Christ, it prophesies that the glory of the Lord will shine from Jerusalem and that “nations shall walk by your light.” Whenever we come across the word “nations” in the Old Testament, it references Gentiles as the Old Testament sees only two kinds of people in the world; there are the Jews, and there is everyone else, and everyone else is a Gentile. So, this passage prophesies that the Gentiles will walk in the light that emanates from the Jews, and those Gentiles will come bearing gold and frankincense and will proclaim the praises of the Lord. Therefore, the theme of our first reading is that salvation will come from Israel but will not be restricted to Israel; it will be open to all nations. The golden thread that ties Isaiah 60 to our gospel is the Gentile magi who came to worship the Lord bearing gifts.  

Notice how the theme is carried on in our Responsorial Psalm: “Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.” And by St. Paul in our second reading: “That the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”  

Our gospel passage is Matthew’s account of the “Visit of the Magi,” but it, too, contains some of that Old Testament prophecy. When Herod asked his chief priests and scribes where the Messiah was to be born, they answered by quoting Micah 5:1: “And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,….. since from you shall come a ruler.” If Herod had paid attention to the prophecies of the Old Testament, he would have understood that the Messiah would not come to rule an earthly kingdom. He would come for the salvation of the world and to rule over the heavenly kingdom of God on earth (the church), where justice and peace prevail. Had Herod understood, he would have rejoiced rather than being greatly troubled.  

This is what we hope and pray for every day; that Christ will return and establish that just and peaceful kingdom. Whether that kingdom will be on earth or in that state of existence we refer to as heaven, or if it will happen in our lifetime remains to be seen, but the justice and peace it represents is that which we pray for and what we are assured of through the scriptures and the 2000-year history of the teachings of the church.

Author: Ric Cross

Recent Posts

To Forgive or Not Forgive

To Forgive or Not Forgive

A Reflection on the Readings for the 24thSunday in Ordinary Time, September 17, 2023 First Reading: SIR 27:30—28:7 Responsorial Psalm: PS 103:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12 Second Reading: ROM 14:7-9 Gospel: MT 18:21-35 Our gospel passage this week directly follows last...

Miracle of Life – Weeks 31st to 34th

Miracle of Life – Weeks 31st to 34th

Just as you do not know how the life breath enters the human frame in the mother’s womb, So you do not know the work of God, who is working in everything. - Ecclesiastes 11:5 Though we have spent weeks studying the intricate details of the weeks of pregnancy, there...

Monica’s Praise Report 8-23-23

Monica’s Praise Report 8-23-23

Praise be Jesus Christ!  Praise be His Holy name. May God be praised now and always, for He is God and wonderful is He and worthy to be praised. Thank You God for your providence. Thank You for your guidance and teachings. Thank You for your involvement in our lives....

Who do you say that I am?

Who do you say that I am?

He said to them, "but who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father." -...

The Prayers God Always Answers

The Prayers God Always Answers

When I was a child, my mother bought a book called “The Prayers God Will Always Answer.” I remember my anticipation as I cracked the spine and turned to the first page. I had been spending a lot of time asking God — begging God, actually — over and over again for some...

The Choice of Stewardship

The Choice of Stewardship

What does it mean to be a good steward? Does it mean to be an active parishioner, or something more? Are we better stewards because we give more in terms of our money and time to our parish, or are we called to do even more than that? The truth is that stewardship is...

Encourage Deeper Understanding of Scripture

Encourage Deeper Understanding of Scripture

August 27, 2023 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time Isn’t it a bit weird that Catholics call the Pope “papa,” father? This Sunday provides us with essential Scriptural background on the papacy, the petrine office. Jesus gives Peter the “keys to the kingdom of heaven,” after...

God and the Good Strong Wind

God and the Good Strong Wind

My only real memory of the Mackinac Island ferry was the physical sensation of the wind against my face. I remember, distinctly, that it hurt. It surprised and confused me because wind had never felt painful before. Looking back now, I realize that it wasn’t just the...

Miracle of Life – Weeks 27th to 30th

Miracle of Life – Weeks 27th to 30th

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. - Psalm 127:3 Children are a gift. They turn young women and men into mothers and fathers. They push us to see life differently, to focus on what matters and to seek for the things eternal in a search...

He is Calling

He is Calling

A Reflection on the Gospel for the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, August 13, 2023 Gospel: Mt 14:22-33 A man at my parish was struggling to overcome a habitual sin. He said to me, “Father, I know the chance that I will commit sin again is really high. Why should I keep...

Local Angels

(Our Sponsors)

For more information on how to showcase your business and sponsor this site, please send us an email.

Only 6 2 spots available, first come first served! One sponsor per industry.


View a calendar of upcoming events

Our History

Learn the history of our Parish

Clergy and Staff

Meet our clergy and staff members!

How to Become Catholic

Interested in becoming Catholic?

Sacred Heart Catholic Church

Mass Times

Sunday 10 am

Weekend Mass Times

Saturday Vigil

5:00 pm | 7:00 pm SP


7:30 am | 10:00 am | 12:30 pm SP | 3:00 pm SP | 5:30 pm

Contact Info

109 North Frazier St.
Conroe, TX, 77301


Follow Us On

Join Our Newsletter!