Solemnity of the Epiphany
January 3, 2016


The liturgy goes for a splurge today. There is much allusion to light, to brilliance, to shining and rising splendor and the refulgence of God’s glory. The Church pulls out all the stops today and celebrates what used to be the original Christmas feast – with more than just a twist!

We celebrate much more than the birth of the Savior. We also celebrate the “unveiling,” the “manifestation” – the epiphany, for short – of who the Child is – for us and in Himself.

He is Savior. He is Son of God. He is the human visible face of the invisible God, who had been revealing Himself gradually in and through the unfolding events in history.

Once upon a time, a technique in painting called “chiaroscuro” was the fad. It was basically a technique that played on a contraposition between two seemingly opposing elements: light and shadow, clarity and cloudiness.

Today’s feast, for all its brilliance and refulgence, is not without its own shadows. Lurking behind the brilliant light of the Savior’s birth was the shadow of human envy, human greed, and human sinfulness, aptly represented by the reclusive figure of Herod, who had other ideas far different from those of the Magi.

The Magi have come in search of the child – to pay Him homage.

The Herod has come to also want to look for the child at all cost – to do Him damage!

We have in our human hearts all too prone to the very same situation of lights and shadows, to be sometimes overtaken, too, by the forces of darkness. We are envious. We are devious. We could be harmful to others, and we could be harrowingly horrible to the innocent.

We are all a story of chiaroscuro – light and darkness, good and evil. We could be representing the magi, or we could as well be the machinating and manipulative court jesters and magicians.

I am the first to acknowledge how capable I am of doing good, and how expert I also could be at causing harm.

But today, the liturgy would rather focus on the light, rather than the darkness. For our Savior has come to His creation, even if the very same handiwork of His refused Him. He came, precisely, as light to pierce the ultimate darkness of SIN.

And today, make no mistake about it. He came as Light. And the darkness will never overpower Him. Not then. Not now. Not ever. For then, as now and for always, “the star that they had seen at its rising precedes them – and us.”

Glory be to the Father. Glory be to the Son. Glory be to the Holy Spirit. God’s glory shines forever and ever!