Recalling the event when wise men from the East visited the child Jesus and brought Him gifts, the Epiphany, or Manifestation of Christ, has been celebrated since earliest days of the Church.

The gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh that were brought for Jesus were prophesied in the Old Testament. These gifts also indicate Jesus’ roles as King, Priest, and Savior.

Sometimes referred to as kings or astrologers, these Magi had seen a new star in the East which they understood to signify the birth of a new king.

Representing the Gentile nations, these men show that Jesus did not come for a single nation or tribe but came for the whole world, hinting at Jesus’ great commission to baptize and make disciples of all nations.

The Bible does not provide their names but traditionally the wise men are called Balthazar, Gaspar, and Melchior. They are venerated as saints.

The Feast of the Epiphany has been traditionally celebrated on January 6 but is transferred to the first Sunday after January 1 in the United States.

Jesus’ identity was also revealed by God the Father at his Baptism and in performing his first miracle at the Wedding at Cana so those events are also attached to the Feast of the Epiphany.

A story with many characters and signs:

Divine Mercy

What really matters about the Epiphany:

St. Edward Catholic Church

The Wise Men were looking for more:

Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux

They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did Him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Matthew 2: 10-11

God reveals Himself:

Capuchin Franciscans

Manifested to the whole world:

Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network – USA

The Magi prostrated themselves:


The Magi represent those who have ever searched for the truth:


The Epiphany is the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, Son of God and Savior of the world. The great feast of Epiphany celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the wise men (magi) from the East, together with his Baptism in the Jordan and the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee. In the magi, representatives of the neighboring pagan religions, the Gospel sees the first-fruits of the nations, who welcome the good news of salvation through the Incarnation. The magi’s coming to Jerusalem in order to pay homage to the King of the Jews shows that they seek in Israel, in the messianic light of the star of David, the One who will be king of the nations. Their coming means that pagans can discover Jesus and worship Him as Son of God and Savior of the world only by turning towards the Jews and receiving from them the messianic promise as contained in the Old Testament. The Epiphany shows that “the full number of the nations” now takes its “place in the family of the patriarchs”, and acquires Israelitica dignitas (is made “worthy of the heritage of Israel”).

Catechism of the Catholic Church 528

Jews and non-Jews were waiting for a king:

Catholic Productions

The Magi point toward the Church’s mission:

Augustine Institute | The Catholic Faith Explained

“Rise up in splendor.” Notice how the prophet Isaiah speaks to the city of Jerusalem. He invites her to let herself be enlightened by her Lord, the infinite light that makes his glory shine over Israel. The people of God are called to become light themselves in order to direct the way of the nations, over whom hang “darkness” and “thick clouds”. The prophetic word resounds with full meaning on this solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. The Magi, who come from the East to Jerusalem, are guided by a heavenly body and represent the first fruits of the peoples attracted by the light of Christ. They recognize in Jesus the Messiah, and they show before hand that now is the fulfilment of the “mystery” of which St Paul speaks in the second reading: “that the Gentiles are called in Christ Jesus … to be co-heirs of the promise through the preaching of the Gospel”. 

Pope Paul II, Homily, 6 January 2003

Celebrating the Epiphany in Bethlehem:

Christian Media Center – English

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

Imitating Christ’s example of love:

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

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