We are living in the fullness of time. The coming of the wise men from the east to pay homage to the child Jesus marked the beginning of the fulfilment of this beautiful prophecy of Isaiah. The wise men are the first of the Gentiles, non-Jewish people, of whom Paul writes today that “they have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.” Ep 3,6
And the promise continues to be fulfilled. Again in the words of Isaiah, they keep on coming to us, they come to our light, to the brightness of our dawn. Just lift up your eyes and look around: they all gather together, they come to you.” Not to encounter you, but because of the light that emanates from you, “the mystery not made known previously, but that has now been revealed to the Apostles and Prophets by the Spirit”: the reality of the Lordship of Jesus over all things. They bring him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The gifts are fitting, even though the wise men didn’t get it quite right. They took him to be king of the Jews. More exactly, he is Lord of Heaven and Earth. The gifts are fitting even though they are given in anticipation. Jesus will have to earn that title through the ministry, passion and death that await him. But it will all come to pass, and he will be acknowledged, after his resurrection, in his Church, as Lord and King, of a kingship correctly understood.
The prophecy of Isaiah has been fulfilled, yet, even now, the fulfilment is only partial. Jesus is acknowledged as Lord and King only in Heaven, and here on earth, in the Church. Only on the last day will absolutely every knee bend, and absolutely every tongue in heaven and on earth and under the earth confess that “Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”. Ph2,10.11
It moves me deeply when I consider that we in the Church know now, what will be made manifest to the entire universe only at the end of time. In the words of John Foley, s.j. “we hold a treasure; in earthen vessels, wealth untold. It is the Lord. Light has shone in our darkness; it is the light of Jesus, the Lord.” It is our cosmic secret.
The light shines in and around us, yet it is not solely for us. It is still for the world, even though not all the world will come to it. Yet some of the world will keep on coming to our light, as long as this world subsists. Epiphany is from now until the “end of the age”. In the presence of this mystery, what can we do but humbly thank God for having let us in on the secret of the Lordship of Jesus, and ask that we too will produce a light that will attract someone, anyone, to the true source of our light, which is Christ.
Happy Epiphany to everyone in our Church,