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Adoration of the Magi_Fabriano_c1423

Adoration of the Magi, Gentile da Fabriano, c. 1423

“I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6

Today the Church celebrates the Epiphany of the Lord, which commemorates the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child. Epiphany means manifestation. What the Church celebrates today is the manifestation of our Lord to the whole world. After having been made known to the shepherds of Bethlehem, Jesus is revealed to the Magi. They have come from the East to adore the Christ Child.

Christian tradition sees in the Magi “the first fruits of the Gentiles.”[1] Epiphany is an affirmation of universal salvation as prophesied in Isaiah in the Old Testament. The adoration of the Magi is the beginning of the Christian faith among Gentiles.

May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him! Psalm 72:11

Christian families also have the task of manifesting the light of Christ to the world. Through their example of holiness, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, give witness to the love of Christ in a world living in darkness, sin, and despair. You are to be a daily “epiphany” of the Lord to your children, extended family, neighbors, co-workers, and the world. You could not find a more noble task.

St. John Paul II in his Apostolic Exhortation, Familiaris Consortio (On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World), had this to say about the mission of the family:

…the family has the mission to become more and more what it is, that is to say, a community of life and love…we must say that the essence and role of the family are in the final analysis specified by love…the family has the mission to guard, reveal and communicate love, and this is a living reflection of and a real sharing in God’s love for humanity and the love of Christ the Lord for the Church His bride.[2] (emphasis added)

St. John Paul II said the family is the Center of the New Evangelization. Is your family revealing and communicating God’s love to a world that has forgotten the true meaning of love? In a society that celebrates the self and using others for personal gain and satisfaction, there is a great need for holy families to witness to the true meaning and beauty of love.

Further on in Familiaris Consortio, St. John Paul II lays out the task of every Christian family:

To the extent in which the Christian family accepts the Gospel and matures in faith, it becomes an evangelizing community… “The family, like the Church, ought to be a place where the Gospel is transmitted and from which the Gospel radiates. In a family which is conscious of this mission, all the members evangelize and are evangelized. The parents not only communicate the Gospel to their children, but from their children they can themselves receive the same Gospel as deeply lived by them. And such a family becomes the evangelizer of many other families, and of the neighborhood of which it forms part” (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 71).[3]

Through God’s grace, given to us in the Sacraments, we are able to live out the Christian faith in a compelling way that draws others to Christ. This is the mission of the family. O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord!

Have this mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5-11 (emphasis added)

[1] St. Thomas Aquinas, The manifestation of the newly born Christ, Summa Theologiae, Part III, Question 36, Article 8; internet: https://www.newadvent.org/summa/4036.htm#article8 (accessed January 2, 2021).

[2] John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation, Familiaris Consortio, §17, November 22, 1982; http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_jp-ii_exh_19811122_familiaris-consortio_en.html (accessed January 2, 2021).

[3] Ibid., 52.