Epiphany of the Lord

Epiphany is one of the oldest feasts celebrated in the Catholic Church. The word Epiphany is Greek for manifestation or revelation. During the first centuries of the Catholic church, everyone celebrated the Epiphany on the same day.

Epiphany has also been called the feast of the Three Wise men. It was called this because the Gospel said the Magi came from the East to Jerusalem asking for the newborn King of the Jews. They had seen the star when it rose and wanted to honor Him. It is believed they may have come from Arabia, Chaldea or Persia, which is now called Iran. Tradition says there were three, Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar.

When the mysterious star appeared, these wise and educated men recognized it as a sign of Messiah. They knew he would be born in Judea. They followed the star to Bethlehem. They found the child with Mary, His mother. They honored Jesus. They gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The gold was a symbol of kingship, frankincense a symbol of deity, and myrrh which is an embalming oil, used as a sign of death.